This week Jon Stewart called for the Jews to “take it up a notch” since our traditions couldn’t possibly compete with a fun filled Easter basket full of treats, and well, he’s not wrong. But in terms of Jewish cuisine, chefs around the country are definitely stepping up their game when it comes to Seder menus and Passover offerings.
My good friend in New Orleans recently sent me the Passover menu at Domenica that she got to experience, and wow was I blown away looking it over! Homemade matzah, Matzah Ball Soup with Duck and Escarole, and Pomegranate Lamb Shank, just to name a few of the dishes featured at the meal.
Tons of restaurants, both kosher and non, feature their own unique takes on the traditional Passover seder. For example in NYC Chef Julian Medina of Yerba Buena and Toloache features a Passover seder menu with a Mexican twist, including a spicy take on Matzah Ball Soup, Tacos de brisket in a matzah tortilla and matzah brei tres leches for dessert.
And Kutschers Tribeca (my favorite Jewish food joint) features high-end, yet traditional Jewish fare during the week of Passover.
The Jew and the Carrot has a more complete listing of Gourmet Restaurant Seders in NYC, Philadelphia, Boston, New Orleans and Los Angeles, and with a few days left of Passover, you might still be able to catch one!
Reviewing these menus, I ask myself: is the fuss of cleaning, cooking, planning and prepping worth it when top notch chefs are taking on the Passover challenge?
For now I probably will continue to plan my Seder menu two months in advance, but I love getting inspired from these chefs’ innovative versions of our traditional holiday fare.
Pronounced: KOH-sher, Origin: Hebrew, adhering to kashrut, the traditional Jewish dietary laws.
Pronounced: SAY-der, Origin: Hebrew, literally “order”; usually used to describe the ceremonial meal and telling of the Passover story on the first two nights of Passover. (In Israel, Jews have a seder only on the first night of Passover.)