My mom used to say that anyone who needs to tell you how wealthy or smart they are, probably isn’t. And that’s the best way I can describe Jezebel, the latest trendy Kosher restaurant to hit the NYC city scene. It is very trendy, and they’ll be happy to tell you so, but food and service seems to suffer at the hands of Soho hipness.
Grub Street categorizes Jezebel as part of the “Jewish-food trend,” but I would separate Jezebel very distinctly from the Jewish-food trending of Gefilteria, Kutschers Tribeca, Mile End Deli and Jack’s Wife Frida, where updated Jewish food takes center stage. Jezebel aims to be cooler-than-thou and kosher but its menu and décor doesn’t feature anything overtly Jewish (unless you count the superimposed faces of Barbara Streisand and Jon Stewart) which I assume is intentional. Kutschers, Gefilteria and others all celebrate traditional foods such as schmaltz (rendered chicken fat), sustainable gefilte fish, smoked meats and fish and the beloved matzo ball soup all while giving the foods a modern twist.
Ha’artez recently heralded that Gefilteria is “bringing sexy back” with their updated takes on the traditional Jewish dish and even Bartenura Moscato wine is garnering unexpected attention from rappers such as Drake and DJ Khaled as The Jew and the Carrot reported earlier this week.
You won’t find a Moscato “Bartini” on Jezebel’s drink menu, but you do have your choice of $18 cocktails and $20 appetizers. I am loving the Jewish food trend, but must admit, I may never be cool enough for overpriced Kosher food downtown. So pass me some Moscato.
Grub Street is calling it a “Jewish Food Revival,” while I happily named it one of the top Jewish food trends of 2011. Bottom line: Jewish food is “in,” and of course I’m schepping nachas for the traditional foods of my people which are being reclaimed and reinvented to the delights of foodies in New York and beyond.
Earlier this year I was thrilled to visit Kutschers Tribeca to sample their updated Castkills fare at the Tribeca restaurant. I was pretty excited by almost everything I tasted but I was totally blown away by the simple genius of the rainbow cookie ice cream sundae I devoured for dessert.
This past week, New York Magazine highlighted another new, Jewish-inspired eatery, Jack’s Wife Freda, whose menu features updated classics such as Matzo Ball Soup, Green Shakshuka and Freda’s Fried Fish Balls.
And this weekend, a new eatery is launching – Gefilteria! Besides loving the name itself, the “pushcart start-up” will specialize in “sustainable Jewish foods like gefilte fish made with pike, whitefish, and salmon; kvass, a fermented drink; borscht; horseradish; sauerkraut; black-and-white cookies; and matzo.”
I can’t begin to predict what’s in-store for updated Jewish fare, but I am excited to see what my fellow food enthusiasts dream up next. Any great Jewish food cropping up near you? Let us know!