Daniel Zelkowitz is one of many young food entrepreneurs trying to change the way people view kosher restaurants today. The co-owner of Manhattan’s Asian-inspired Boru Boru has been working in hospitality since he was 18 years old, but always knew he wanted to have his own restaurant one day.
After serving up bowls of ramen for friends and family in his home, he teamed up with his longtime friend, Chef Erick Vargas-Bromberg, to bring a high quality, authentic ramen experience to other kosher New Yorkers.
Boru Boru’s approach focuses on Asian-meets-Jewish comfort food: They are serving traditional Asian-inspired dishes like shoyu ramen and bao buns, but also their own interpretations like duck kreplach and a unique “pastrami” ramen.
Zelkowitz and Vargas-Bromberg don’t just want to serve great food; they also want to teach people about a new cuisine and provide a quality dining experience based on their years working in hospitality in New York City.
“We aren’t just throwing bodies onto the floor, they are receiving regular training,” Zelkowitz explained. “We didn’t know how to open a kosher restaurant; we just knew how to open a good restaurant where hospitality is core.”
If you’re thinking a pastrami topped ramen sounds a bit off, this is not the Jewish deli pastrami you might be envisioning. Boru Boru is serving a beef cheek pastrami which is actually brined in sake, Chinese five spice, and szechuan juniper, and then smoked over tea leaves. Zelkowitz and Chef Vargas-Bromberg wanted the pastrami ramen to feel both “different and familiar.” This is also true for the chicken shoshu, which is a rich chicken soup infused with some Asian-ingredients such as lotus root and nori.
“Some things people understand at its core: Jewish comfort food,” shared Zelkowitz. “And this place is all about comfort food.”
Check out Chef Erick Vargas-Bromnberg’s Asian Bone Broth Recipe.