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Best kosher restaurant

s
Silverbrow Mar 19, 2006 05:45 PM

Following on from the best kosher bakery query, I'm interested in people's views on what is the best kosher restaurant they've been too. It can be anywhere in the world, what made it so good and what was their best dish?

Link: http://www.silverbrowonfood.com

  1. d
    DeisCane Mar 19, 2006 06:04 PM

    For me, it's been The Prime Grill, NYC edition. The meat compares to treyf I had before becoming kosher, the sushi is fresh, the selection is wide, and the decor is nicer than 95% of kosher restaurants out there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DeisCane
      d
      David Mar 19, 2006 08:59 PM

      I second the prime grill - the steaks are out of this world - I have been travelling quite a bit across the US for the past two years and tried many restaurants and so far none equal the ;rime grill for quality, service and atmosphere -

      Close seconds IMHO in no particular order and I know I have probably not been to ones that should be on this list -

      Abigaels, Le Marais in NYC, Shallots Bistro in Skokie, Pats in LA -

    2. y
      yid traveller Mar 20, 2006 06:13 AM

      Someone mentioned this once before, but my vote goes to Le Telagraph in Paris. It is the best kosher (and possibly most expensive) restaurant in the world.
      I ate there a few times and i do not think any of the places mentioned so far even come close to the dining experience, food quality or ambiance at Le Tel.

      No offence to the other truly good places.

      1. k
        kevin Mar 20, 2006 11:41 AM

        Israel easily has some of the best restaurants. My favorites-The King Solomon Grill in the Tel Aviv Hilton,and Hess,the sausage king, in Jerusalem.

        1 Reply
        1. re: kevin
          z
          Zev Sero Mar 20, 2006 12:01 PM

          Hess? The food's great, but surely "best restaurant" has to include some points for atmosphere, of which Hess has nearly none at all. It's a deli. A very good and expensive deli, but a deli nonetheless. I don't think it can compete in this category.

        2. d
          David Bower Mar 20, 2006 02:14 PM

          Tein Li Chow in Chicago is by far the best kosher chinese restaurant I have ever tried. My favorite dish is their spicy Kung Pao chicken. It's a small operation but you get your food fast and the service is friendly.

          10 Replies
          1. re: David Bower
            z
            Zev Sero Mar 20, 2006 04:34 PM

            I've heard it said (but have not personally verified) that Kaifeng (http://www.kaifeng.co.uk), in London, is the world's best kosher chinese restaurant. I've also heard it suggested that Met Su Yan (http://www.metsuyan.co.uk) might give it a run for its money. On my last visit I proposed to verify at least one of these claims, but neither place had a hechsher acceptable to my brother and sister-in-law, so we had an OK but not very memorable meal at Tavlin.

            On the same trip I found excellent fish & chips, at the pizza shop on Amhurst Parade, in Stamford Hill.

            1. re: Zev Sero
              c
              Chairman Mao Mar 20, 2006 05:12 PM

              After having lived in London for two years I feel qualified to say that neither of those restaurants measure up to even mid-level neighborhood restaurants you find in Teaneck, Five Towns, Flatbush, etc. I suspect that the reputations of those restaurants may be inflated due to the overall poor Kosher scene in the UK (although it has improved dramatically).

              1. re: Chairman Mao
                z
                Zev Sero Mar 20, 2006 07:24 PM

                Thanks for the tip. In that case, perhaps I won't waste my money next time I'm there.

                1. re: Zev Sero
                  c
                  Chairman Mao Mar 20, 2006 07:46 PM

                  If Solly's is still around they have great shwarma in laffa for relatively low prices.

                  1. re: Chairman Mao
                    s
                    Silverbrow Mar 21, 2006 02:50 AM

                    I have to agree with Chairman Mao, neither Kaifeng or Met Su Yan is that good and both are eye wateringly expensive.

                    Kosher restaurants tend not to be of the highest quality in London although they are getting better.

                    This doesn't answer my own question directly but my favourite kosher restaurant is Dizengoff's in Golders Green. Personally I think their food has more flavour than Solly's (which is still around) and also the staff are more friendly. The best kosher steak I had was at Bistro 86 in Brent Street, which I preferred in taste to Prime Grill in NYC, although the atmosphere at PG was far buzzier.

                    Thanks to everyone for their responses - keep them coming.

                    Link: http://www.silverbrowonfood.com

                    1. re: Silverbrow
                      m
                      Michael Mar 21, 2006 10:56 PM

                      Well for Chinese, hands down it goes to the tri of Cho-sen Island, Garden & Village (Lawrence, Forest Hills & Great Neck, NY).

                      For Italian-this is based on 1988 mind you...Tevere 84, Manhattan, NY)

                      For Steak Tie: Prime Grill (Manhattan, NY) & the King David hotel

                      For Pesach: Some Italian place in Jerusalem (possibly long gone) down the road from the Rock also (those line of bars-wonder if they are still even there) because they served this pasta (albeit they used Kitniyot due to Sephardic or Mizrachi haschuchah) but oh was it the best food at Pesach ever...again, circa 1988...

                      The best place that's out of business was that Morrocan place down in the Village, on Bleecker I think-long gone-they lost there Hashgachah soon after we ate there-but that was a drunken lost evening for two couples long since parted...ah the past and youth...

                      1. re: Silverbrow
                        k
                        kingdoz Mar 18, 2008 02:05 PM

                        I tried Bistro 86 a few times and to be honest the steaks were as good as me making them in my own own frying pan. Oily and full of fat without taste. Prime Grill LA beats its a MILLION TIMES over. waste of money eating kosher steak in london unless you buy it and cook it yourself - everywhere is aweful compared to USA and Israel (and I live in london and tried them all).

                2. re: Zev Sero
                  k
                  kingdoz Mar 18, 2008 02:03 PM

                  Metsuyan used to be good but now is aweful (apart from grilled lamb chops. Everything else was tasteless. Really bland - meat tasted like gum :(

                3. re: David Bower
                  d
                  David Mar 20, 2006 06:20 PM

                  I have to agree - as I traveled around the US I have not found a better kosher meat chinese restaurant than Tein Li Chow- The one that comes closest to tein Li Chow is Lins in manville -

                  1. re: David Bower
                    s
                    Shelly Hoberman Mar 21, 2006 07:37 PM

                    I couldn't agree more about Tein Li Chow! Having sampled the wider selection of Chinese in a former life, this place comes closest to the tastes I remember. I recommend the scallion pancakes and mongolian beef.

                  2. m
                    matzohrella Mar 20, 2006 05:26 PM

                    the best kosher restaurant, though some may debate its kosher status, is Viva

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: matzohrella
                      e
                      entrails Mar 20, 2006 05:46 PM

                      you've got to be kidding, matzoh!!!!

                      1. re: entrails
                        m
                        matzohrella Mar 20, 2006 07:07 PM

                        matzoh doesn't kid around about pizza. this is a place where you can get good, low-priced, extra-large slices in a matter of minutes. what more do we need?

                        1. re: matzohrella
                          v
                          velorutionary Mar 21, 2006 11:04 AM

                          I will assume you mean the East village location. The UWS location is OK, but not nearly as good.

                          1. re: velorutionary
                            e
                            entrails Mar 21, 2006 08:00 PM

                            i think matzoh is referring to the upper west side location...

                            1. re: entrails
                              h
                              HERSHEYF Feb 1, 2009 02:52 PM

                              i think the best kosher rasturant kyo sushi in steak
                              in monsey ny

                    2. k
                      KneelPeel Mar 20, 2006 06:14 PM

                      The best kosher restaurant I have been to is La Carne Grill in New York City. The menu is extensive, the ambience and decor are as good as any top restaurant, the service is top-notch, and of course the food is amazing. Overall, a dinner at La Carne Grill is as good as it gets.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: KneelPeel
                        m
                        marfern1 Mar 29, 2006 03:23 PM

                        Just had lunch at La Carne. Steak was dry (La Carne filet!) and tasteless and coffee was watery. I won't be back soon

                      2. c
                        Chairman Mao Mar 20, 2006 06:32 PM

                        Recognizing from the outset that this question is silly since we all appreciate different things in a dining experience, I will wade in and say that Nargila does what they do very well (except for service).

                        1. l
                          lilsysweety Mar 20, 2006 07:10 PM

                          I vote for Eilat in Boca Raton, Florida. Love the food, love the service, and love eating outside on the water.

                          1. h
                            Hirscheys Mar 20, 2006 10:10 PM

                            In Israel, I think the best kosher restaurant 1868. Not only unbelievably good food and beautiful atmosphere, but an icomparable wine list.

                            In NY, Prime Grill is definitely best, although somewhat overpriced.

                            1. h
                              HowardW Mar 21, 2006 02:10 PM

                              I've travelled extensively, although I have not eaten at many of the intersting places mentioned here (i'd love to try the one in Boca, and Skokie) and I have not yet tried Le Carne in NYC, thats on my next trip.
                              I vote enthusiastically for Solo in NYC with Abigails coming a close second, I didn't care for prime Grill on all the times I've been there.

                              1. l
                                levial Mar 22, 2006 01:16 PM

                                Le Telegraphe, Paris. Fois gras on everything, from steak to appetizers. Loved the atmosphere. Loved the french cuisine. Didn't always keep kosher so I expect a lot...and it exceeded expectations. (except it was ver very expensive)

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: levial
                                  h
                                  HowardW Mar 23, 2006 03:41 PM

                                  Would you know who gives the Hechser (rabbinic supervision) on Le Telegraph?

                                  1. re: levial
                                    b
                                    BobF Mar 26, 2006 05:59 PM

                                    Best Kosher Resturant, overall-Abigals in NY-Prime Grill may be #2- its good but often crowded, noisy and slow service.Abigals has a more interesting menu.
                                    Best Kosher Chinese- The Choosen resturants in NY, as a previous poster wrote-
                                    Best Sephardic Style -(I don't know what else to call it)Nargilah, here in NY.It serves about thirty or so little dishes of pickels, relishes, etc. that is great, as long as you have alot of time-Service is on the slow side.

                                  2. b
                                    BPfatso Mar 26, 2006 04:42 PM

                                    Apropo in Teveria is a really good restaurant. their spicy fish is fantastic, but otherwise it's just a fancy pizza store

                                    1. n
                                      N. Mar 28, 2006 01:15 PM

                                      There is a vegan chinese place in seattle called "the bamboo garden," and i think if I had to pick one favorite place that would be it. The food is awsome and really well priced (which for some one like me who is not rich it makes a big differnce.) And it's frequented by non kosher people as well. It's really sad that I can't say the same thing about any of the places in NY.

                                      1. e
                                        elbonian Feb 11, 2007 07:17 PM

                                        Shalom in St. Petersburg. Run by Chabad. In Russia. Vodka on tap. What more needs to be said?

                                        1. s
                                          Shaldag Feb 13, 2007 07:56 AM

                                          I nominate Tierra Sur at the Baron Herzog winery in Oxnard, CA.

                                          Fresh seasonal ingredients on a constantly changing menu and unique and innovative dishes that you don't see at other kosher restaurants- all of them very tasty. Plus, they do desserts very well, which is far from a given elsewhere. Add to that a very well chosen beverage list (not just limited to wines- they also have a nice selection of premium beers, waters, fine teas, etc.) that shows that someone who knows something about those put the time in to select beverages that would enhance the dining experience.

                                          I am assuming from some of the other responses that we're focusing more on the food than the ambience. While Tierra Sur provides a pleasant enough atmosphere and friendly service, it is not quite serene enough to match the level of the cuisine, but I'm sensing that others are putting those considerations aside for the time being.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: Shaldag
                                            k
                                            kymimos Aug 14, 2008 11:13 PM

                                            I agree with you. The only minus is the location, too far from Los Angeles. If you want to sample some wines you have to stay in Oxnard overnight...

                                            1. re: Shaldag
                                              m
                                              mickster Dec 11, 2008 11:05 PM

                                              I just had dinner at Tierra Sur tonight. Superb. Outstanding. One of the best meals of my life (I've eaten at some of the finest non-Kosher restaurants in the world in recent times before becoming shomer kashruth).

                                              I started with kosher Kobe beef tartar with truffles, fresh shaved wasabi, ginger, parsley and some other yummy stuff...served with thin potato crips...

                                              Reserve Herzog Red.

                                              Rare kosher elk sirloin...real sirloin...kosher...taste--outstanding. Texture, like butter. I asked them how they got it so tender--that's just it's nature--no tenderizing. The whole elk is kosher-so the hind quarters produce delicious meat. Spoke with the Mashgiach about the Elk and the Kobe.

                                              A non-Herzog kosher wine. Amazing.

                                              Bread pudding for dessert with french press coffee.

                                              Have an early tasting then eat to dinner. You can easily try 4 or more wines that way. You can also have 2 oz. glasses of wine so that you don't drink too much and can also, easily create your own flight.

                                              Service was perfect. Wine choices delicious. Sampled before choosing. Pacing was perfect. I was able to finish slowly so I could sober up enough to be safe to drive. The smell of the smoker was delicious.

                                              Prime Grill is a distant second and not near Tierra Sur's class. Few restaurants are. Outside of the location, the decor is perfect.

                                              1. re: mickster
                                                d
                                                DeisCane Dec 28, 2008 05:12 AM

                                                How much, mickster? Also, why did you keep using the word kosher? It's a kosher restaurant, I should hop they'd serve kosher "Kobe beef tartar" and "kosher wine."

                                                1. re: DeisCane
                                                  m
                                                  mickster Jul 14, 2010 08:14 PM

                                                  Because I was shocked that someone could make such foods kosher....and probably the wine LOL.

                                                  I think it was around $110 with tax & tip, maybe 125; that was almost 2 years ago.

                                            2. j
                                              jlq3d3 Feb 13, 2007 04:05 PM

                                              I second Tierra del Sur in Oxnard. Only bad thing is that it is far from LA about 50 miles.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: jlq3d3
                                                r
                                                rruben1 Apr 2, 2008 06:56 PM

                                                When Todd was running Mosaica, before he headed west, I had five straight fantastic meals there, lunch and dinner. Easily the five best sit-down kosher dinners I've ever had. Mosaica is still very good, by the way.

                                                At Mosaica, one challenge was finding an appropriate Mevushal wine to bring along. At Tierra, Herzog must be the only wine on the menu, I suppose. Well, some of their reserve wines are drinkable. . .

                                                1. re: jlq3d3
                                                  k
                                                  kingdoz Mar 16, 2011 01:13 PM

                                                  Tierra del Sur in Oxnard is great. shame its so far from LA. I guess good thing is that it make it special. Think of a day trip In Santa Barbara and stop half way in Oxnard on the way back for a lovely meal. Food was great there. Make sure to ask for a marbled steak as the second time I went there I forgot to ask and it was not as memorable. Also ALWAYS ask for medium rare in every kosher restaurant for steak (if yo like medium) as it will be overcooked if you dont.

                                                2. KosherNY Feb 15, 2007 07:03 PM

                                                  1868. Jerusalem. Hands down. the best.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: KosherNY
                                                    k
                                                    kingdoz Mar 18, 2008 02:09 PM

                                                    Try La Guta in Jerusalem if you like Foi gras and steak (is that how you spell it?) Amazing compared to any other kosher goose liver. The Steak Rossini is amazing. Flying there again in 2 days as I am hungry :)

                                                  2. m
                                                    MartyB Mar 18, 2008 04:09 PM

                                                    The best place I went to was a restaurant called Papagaio in Haifa. All you can eat orgy of meats. The waiters are constantly circulating with all different types of meats, carving it at your table. You have an indicator on your table, turn it to green and you are served, turn it to red means skip over you. There is lively music in the background. In short a great eating experience. I sure wish they would open one in New York!

                                                    http://www.eluna.com/rest/Papagaio_krayot.asp?mumu=611
                                                    http://www.eluna.com/rest/Papagaio_Jm...

                                                    1. m
                                                      mr24 Apr 2, 2008 01:23 PM

                                                      Not mentioned yet- The King Solomon in Prague

                                                      1. j
                                                        jzuckesq Dec 25, 2008 09:30 PM

                                                        Before there was Le Telegraphe in Paris, there was Juliette. Each was outstanding. Unfortunately, both have closed. Of kosher restaurants open today, the meals that I have most enjoyed were at Tierra del Sud in Oxnard, CA, La Chaumiere in Paris (although the wine list is weak), and Chateaubriand in Paris. I have been told that Osmose in Paris is equally outstanding, but I have not yet eaten there. The Prime Grill in NYC serves outstanding steaks, but I prefer not to have to listen to the conversations at the tables next to mine (or to force others to hear my conversations). Ditto Solo. Three outstanding places that have not yet been mentioned, although none is the best kosher restaurant in the world: Primavera in Jerusalem (dairy, Italian); Darjeeling in Paris (meat, Indian); and Ali Baba (can't beat their shwarma in lafa!).

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: jzuckesq
                                                          b
                                                          buster0407 Jan 21, 2009 12:57 PM

                                                          For kosher restaurants in Paris- Osmose is very mediocre and very expensive. Kavod is much nicer, more reasonable and the best kosher steak I have ever eaten (fillet with shallot sauce).

                                                          1. re: buster0407
                                                            d
                                                            daphnar Jul 15, 2010 04:22 PM

                                                            Strongly disagree with Buster0407. Went to both in Nov 2009. Osmose was fabulous with interesting food. Best dishes was the foie gras 3 ways and the dessert tasting plate. True that it was expensive. Kavod food was mediocre and my fish was well-done (yuck) even though I asked for it medium-rare. Sent it back only to have it returned even more well-done! Service at Kavod was also poor - we were there on an expense account, wanted to sample wines unavailable in the US, but after serving the first bottle the sommelier disappeared. Requests for him to return were unanswered.

                                                        2. m
                                                          mcfish Dec 28, 2008 07:15 PM

                                                          How about Mike's Bistro on the UWS? Went there and did the tasting menu. Definitely pricey, but it was the best meal I've ever had. Close second would be Prime Grill.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: mcfish
                                                            k
                                                            koshercyclist Jan 27, 2009 09:48 AM

                                                            Mike's Bistro is indeed very good.

                                                          2. m
                                                            md12345 Dec 29, 2008 12:39 PM

                                                            Best Chinese: Shang-Chai in Brooklyn or David Chu's in Baltimore

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: md12345
                                                              m
                                                              momrn Dec 29, 2008 02:03 PM

                                                              I very much disagree. Shang Chai's food has not been good in years. We do not enjoy their food at all anymore.

                                                              1. re: md12345
                                                                weinstein5 Dec 29, 2008 03:56 PM

                                                                David Chu's is ok - I enjoy Lon's in Manville, NJ or Tein Li Chow in Evanston, IL more -

                                                              2. t
                                                                therealdoctorlew Dec 29, 2008 04:35 PM

                                                                I am surprised at the raves for Cho-Sen. Although I have had only take-out brought to the office for the Kosher segment of the staff, it is quite pedestrian compared to many ordinary non-kosher local takeout Chinese places. For those that care, I was raised non-kosher reform, but my wife keeps kosher and we eat kosher at home. This gives me perspective on both kosher and non-kosher versions of the same dish. My opinion is that you can put a kosher label on an inherently non-kosher cuisine, but it won't be as good. Of course, I find the non-kosher versions of traditionally kosher foods to be rather poor, also. Right now, my favorites for kosher restaurants are the newer Persain kosher restaurants.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: therealdoctorlew
                                                                  j
                                                                  jerseykosher Jan 26, 2009 09:21 AM

                                                                  I felt I had to comment on the kosher chinese restaurants. As a teenager, my immigrant parents dicovered non-kosher chinese food. Our venture was limited to chicken chow mein, but i enjoyed it thoroughly cooked in a thick sauce with lots of vegetables. Later, I loved Bernsteins, both for chinese and deli. (Are Chiinese dishes just sauteed these days?)
                                                                  Last week, I was dismayed at my chicken vegetable choice at Lin's in Manville. My child's selection was only slightly better. My party's selections during my last visit in August to David Chu's in Baltimore, tasted similar and not as great as in the past (Next night visit to Accents was much better). I visited the Chosen in Forest Hills in September 2007 and found it to be better than OK, but not justifying a trip from New Jersey. Chaung Mao in Deal, NJ was better than average, not spectacular, though.

                                                                  Is it Kosher restaurant food are all restaurant food that has gone down in standards? Or maybe is it just me? I even tried those two pizza places highly recommened on the list: the one on Avenue J near East 14, Pizzatime and Benny's (Avenue M). Treif pizza as a kid was sooo much better.

                                                                  The one rstaurant that I have consistently liked after 3-4 visits, is Back to Nature, in Allenhust, NJ, next to Deal, NJ. I look forward to your comments.

                                                                2. b
                                                                  Bezgo Jan 25, 2009 05:51 PM

                                                                  Tierra Sur. Hands down.
                                                                  I've eaten at some great kosher restaurants in NYC, in Israel and in Paris and there is no competition - Tierra Sur. Best menu, highest quality of ingredients, amazing.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Bezgo
                                                                    k
                                                                    koshercyclist Jan 27, 2009 09:53 AM

                                                                    The nicest place in which we've eaten is certainly Le Maison Gastronomique at Le Maison Israe in Paris. Not just Paris, mind you, but the 1s Arrondissment. They don't even open for dinner until 8PM (we showed up at normal US dinnertime, 6 PM, they told us come back later), the clientele are coming to eat -after- the theater/opera. Caveat: this was 10 years ago.

                                                                    My wife and I ate at Kai Feng in London in 1997. It was certainly expensive. I thought it was pretty good food but is it better than Cho-Sen Garden in Queens? Hard to really say, the latter is certainly acceptable and I have no complaints. For Chinese we find Estihana in Manhattan cooks well.

                                                                    1. re: Bezgo
                                                                      k
                                                                      Kochav Jan 27, 2009 10:28 AM

                                                                      Another vote for Tierra Sur. We first learned about it from a very positive LA Times review. When even the non-kosher world seeks out a kosher restaurant, you know you've really got something special.

                                                                    2. f
                                                                      foodmaven613 Jan 27, 2009 11:54 AM

                                                                      i have eaten in almost every kosher restaraunt worldwide your question is too vauge , if you narrow it down i will be happy to give share my expeirance

                                                                      1. t
                                                                        torchef Aug 12, 2010 06:54 PM

                                                                        Though I am pretty late getting onto this thread, we have sampled the best of the USA, France, Canada, England, Australia, the Far East and Israel and we are pleased to share our nominations for the best restaurants.

                                                                        For all those who suggested Le Telegraph, we will agree that it was excellent but our latest info indicates that they have closed. If we are wrong, please let us know.

                                                                        Tierra Del Sur, Todd Aaron's place in California is excellent as was Mosaica when he was running it. We went back after he left and the meal we had was still quite good. Todd's places would be the very best that the USA has to offer.

                                                                        But our nominations for the best kosher restaurants in the world have to include four very good restaurants in Israel, and being that they are not in Jerusalem, many people have not experienced them. In our humble opinion, they are definitely better than any of the restaurants in Jerusalem.

                                                                        Makom b'Sejera in Moshav Ilaniya just south of Tzomet Golani on the way to Kfar Tavor; Roberg's Chef Restaurant in Livnim just north of Tiberias; Arnold's in Netiv Hashayara, near Nahariya; and Tokopaya in Nes Tziona are all meat restaurants and are all unique and excellent. They are all affordable and all have excellent food, creative dishes, wonderful atmosphere and terrific service.

                                                                        And none of them are pretentious which I would use to describe a number of the ones that were nominated by others on this thread.

                                                                        Just my two cents...try them and let us know if you agree.

                                                                        1. b
                                                                          buffy1 Jan 11, 2011 03:16 PM

                                                                          Israel is Disneyworld for kosher consumers. Having just visited in NY andeaten at Prime Rib, I would agree that the quality of the meat is superior, but hands down, in Jerusalem, there is one bistro after another and CHEF restaurants. In NY, no one even knew what a chef restaurant was.
                                                                          Israel has some amazing young fusion chefs. To name a few restaurants centered around the chefs, Canela, Angelica, Lara, 1868,Kiyara, Joy, and that's before I even start on the Asian, steakhouses and coffee shops. When we talk about a good restaurant we talk about creative, not just grilling a good steak.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: buffy1
                                                                            a
                                                                            avitrek Jan 11, 2011 04:46 PM

                                                                            Have you been to Solo or Mike's Bistro? Or are you only comparing Prime Grill(not Rib) to Israel?

                                                                            1. re: buffy1
                                                                              j
                                                                              joejoetheranger May 24, 2011 07:19 AM

                                                                              For those of us that are in NY and not planning a trip to Israel any time soon, you might want to try Carlos and Gabby's. It is not a good as prime grill, but if you like Spanish food, its the place to be

                                                                              1. re: joejoetheranger
                                                                                queenscook May 24, 2011 02:27 PM

                                                                                Do you actually mean Spanish, or did you mean Mexican? From the little I've read about Spanish food, you won't find that at Carlos & Gabby's.

                                                                                1. re: queenscook
                                                                                  z
                                                                                  zsero Jul 25, 2011 11:37 PM

                                                                                  Nor much Mexican, for that matter. Carlos & Gabby is great, but it's not even authentic Tex-Mex, let alone Mexican. What kind of Mexican place is best known for its burgers and for something called the Cedarhurst sandwich?

                                                                            2. i
                                                                              i wanna be a chef Mar 10, 2011 06:45 PM

                                                                              any kosher Thai restaurant??? in new york?? let me know i went to fl and just loved it the place was Thai treat went to a place here it was disgusting

                                                                              1. i
                                                                                ilanaR Jul 23, 2011 11:25 PM

                                                                                I got an account here just to answer this question, and I'm going to sound like a paid advertisement, but just bear with me here:
                                                                                Without having traveled too extensively since becoming religious, I can only really speak for NY and the general area here (although let's just get this straight: kosher options in the midwest, northern california,and let's face it, much of the big jewy parts of the east coast are just disappointing).
                                                                                The best kosher restaurant is Olga's on Smith in Brooklyn.
                                                                                Although there may be a restaurant that surpasses any one of these given categories, NO restaurant comes close to being this consistently awesome and superior in all of these ways:

                                                                                1. Food quality - They use fresh ingredients that are simple but super tasty. They don't skimp on quality or presentation.
                                                                                2. Service - Olga herself is there most of the time, and the other servers are super friendly and professional. This is HUGE for a kosher restaurant! I'm saying this a formerly traif southerner, so you know I mean business here.
                                                                                3. Price - Big one people! Any restaurant can just pour tons of money into making food and decorations have a wow-factor or be super trendy, and have it reflect in the exorbitant price of the food. Olga's is SUPER reasonable...you can get full on 7 dollars! That is just uncannily awesome.
                                                                                4. Kashrus - there are some hip and healthy places with sketchy hashgochas, but not Olga's. They have a mashgiach on premises, are strictly cholov yisroel, and certified by a major reputable certification company.
                                                                                5. Ambience - reminds me of a fun and swanky European eatery. Clean white decor, pleasant high ceilings with lots of natural light pouring in from glass walls, fresh flowers...this place is actually pleasant to eat in. Another biggie for kosher places that tend to be underground or windowless (even the nicer ones).
                                                                                6. Location - okay, it's not in midtown, but is 1 block from the G/F train and the B57 bus, in the most beautiful quaint neighborhood in Brooklyn: Carroll Gardens. There is a breeze from the nearby water and beautiful homes with gardens spilling out of everyone's lawns, and cool shopping places nearby.
                                                                                7. Health - look, Va Bene is awesome for dairy/pareve dining (meat restaurants are NOT healthy), as is the delicious and beautiful Basil. But they are definitely, decidedly NOT healthy - you will probably walk away with a stomachache from all the truffle oil and fats and butter. I try not to go to those places too hungry because then I will fill up on either something really bad for me or a salad not worth the $20.00 I pay for it. Olga's is really healthy, serving fish and dairy that will provide mostly nutrients rather than clogged arteries.

                                                                                Basically, it's not pretentious, immaculately clean, and tasty and healthy. You'd think this would be the default business model for a restaurant that wasn't trying to be fast food or Anniversary-night/first date caliber dining experience, but with kosher places, for some unexplainable reason, they have to either shove bad service, greasy meat, and/or sad ambiance down your throats. Olga's totally breaks the mold.

                                                                                I promise they aren't paying me to advertise, I just think that we as kosher consumers should give our business to people like this and put the places with bad food and rude servers and ruder prices OUT of business! Here, here!

                                                                                19 Replies
                                                                                1. re: ilanaR
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                                                                                  AdinaA Jul 24, 2011 10:23 AM

                                                                                  What do they serve? For example, what memorable dishes have you eaten there, or, what did you order last time you went?

                                                                                  Oh, and have you been to Pardes? Different category, but the chef has a nice touch with parve/vegetarian dishes.

                                                                                  1. re: AdinaA
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                                                                                    marissaj Jul 24, 2011 02:04 PM

                                                                                    AdinaA- What kind of parve/veggie dishes do they serve at Pardes? I am interested in going, but cannot rememeber seeing much veggie stuff on the menu?

                                                                                    1. re: marissaj
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                                                                                      AdinaA Jul 24, 2011 04:07 PM

                                                                                      Marrisaj,

                                                                                      He does amazing things with fish and wonderful and surprising things with vegetables and beans. And with fish.

                                                                                      The menu changes frequently, however. A vegan might want to phone first and inquire about vegan main courses currently on offer. But if I were vegan, I would go choose from the imaginative array of vegetable-based soups, side dishes and appetizers. Even a vegan won't leave hungry. And I doubt that any foodie will be disappointed.

                                                                                      The online menu gives some idea of the range, but it really does change with the seasons and the chef's imagination.

                                                                                      1. re: AdinaA
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                                                                                        marissaj Jul 24, 2011 04:56 PM

                                                                                        Thanks- we are hopefully going for my bday.. well, either there or Bistro 1310.... Hopefully a non-fish eating veggie foodie will find good stuff :)

                                                                                        1. re: marissaj
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                                                                                          ilanaR Jul 24, 2011 05:16 PM

                                                                                          Word on the street that when Matisyahu was in his vegan stage (not sure if he still is) that he and his wife would call ahead and they would prepare a special vegan tasting menu for them. Maybe you can cash in on that offer :) You might have to be famous, though.

                                                                                          Also, I've had their fish and the first time it was only ok, and the second time I spoke more with the waiter about what sort of thing I wanted and he made an excellent suggestion. I wish I remembered what specifcially the two dishes were, but I do know that there ARE good fish options. They are just on the pricey side, naturally, and the sides with the fish aren't necessarily healthy on their own.

                                                                                    2. re: AdinaA
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                                                                                      ilanaR Jul 24, 2011 04:40 PM

                                                                                      I love the fish burger or fish panini. Basically everything I've had on the menu is super great, but not necessarily adventurous or shocking, like Pardes. I really don't like Pardes almost especially for that reason - if I'm going to be adventurous with food, I want really awesome ethnic food or vegan/healthy food, not stuff that's fancy for its own sake and ultimately will cost lots of money and make you feel sick. That's not a good deal for me.

                                                                                    3. re: ilanaR
                                                                                      queenscook Jul 24, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                                                      I was curious, so I looked at the menu on line. I'm not clear on how "you can get full on 7 dollars," as you stated. Other than bagels with butter or cream cheese, there's absolutely nothing on the menu for 7 dollars. What exactly did you eat for so little that filled you up?

                                                                                      Also, I don't know what sort of kosher dungeons you've been eating in, but I can't think of a one that I frequent that is either underground or windowless. Can you name some examples?

                                                                                      1. re: queenscook
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                                                                                        avitrek Jul 24, 2011 12:58 PM

                                                                                        Tevere, Abigaels, Kasbah, and Broadway Cafe all come to mind. But I agree with you about the price, it looks like escaping for under $11(after tax) would be tough. And dinner could easily be more. Not that the prices are bad, just not incredibly cheap either. Also, while I can appreciate most of the reasons Ilana mentioned, none of them scream "best thing I ever ate" to me. Sure, if I worked near Olga's this might be my favorite lunch option, but for this topic I'm looking for something fancier/more exotic/sinfully bad for you.

                                                                                        1. re: avitrek
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                                                                                          ilanaR Jul 24, 2011 04:32 PM

                                                                                          Hey there - first about the price: you're right, I looked at the menu again. I'm not sure where I got $7.00 from...it might have been a while back when the prices were different or maybe one time when i got nachos or something. Sorry if that was misleading. But, I think my point stands, which is that for under $12.00 or so you can get a very decent meal, give or take, which is pretty unusual in NY or among kosher eateries.

                                                                                          As for ambience: Yes I was thinking of Abigails. Basil is an exception to this. I just am very sensitive to light and space and most well-designed restaurants, even in NYC, take these things into account and understand it is monumental in creating a pleasant atmosphere. I'm also thinking of restaurants like Prime Grill, the newly opened Shalom Bombay, CIRCA especially is just the most dreary environment, even in Cafe K which I love all the seating is in the windowless back room. Olga's seems to make it a PRIORITY to have the seating for their guests nearest to the sunlight, which is a great aesthetic and business call.

                                                                                          And I don't know, I don't see "fanciness" as a good thing. It's great we have kosher options that are indeed fancy for when you want a treat, but most of the time I go out I want the option of not cooking and enjoying a meal with friends or a spouse without completely breaking the bank and knowing there's automatically $20.00 down the drain...I'd like to be able to spend about $10 on a nice meal.

                                                                                          1. re: ilanaR
                                                                                            queenscook Jul 25, 2011 05:57 PM

                                                                                            $10? C'mon, it's 2011. What do people pay for a coffee these days? You think $20 spent on a meal, especially a nice one, is $20 down the drain? I think this could explain the thread: "Why do we stand for it?" Maybe one reason people "stand for it" is because they don't want to spend what it costs to run a place and provide excellent food. I cannot speak to Olga's (and looking at the menu convinced me not to even bother, because it's not my type of food at all), but I'm willing to spend a bit more for well-thought out, well-cooked, even innovative food. And I don't expect the prices to be what they were when I graduated from college 30 years ago.

                                                                                            1. re: queenscook
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                                                                                              ilanaR Jul 25, 2011 06:04 PM

                                                                                              Spending $3.00 on a cup of coffee is a lot of money down the drain, unless for a special occasion I am seeking out fancy coffee in a fancy place. But I like going out to coffee a lot, but I'm interested in a more modest lifestyle that doesn't require me to budget ridiculous amounts towards food. Something that is missing in the kosher market is convenient options for people who don't need elaborate but do need healthy and pleasant. That Olga's managed to balance so many things that elude the kosher market is truly impressive and they will receive lots of my business.

                                                                                          2. re: avitrek
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                                                                                            ilanaR Jul 24, 2011 04:35 PM

                                                                                            Also, when I said "best" I didn't mean most shocking, surreal, or divine - just a wonderful, practical option that gives me a fuzzy feeling inside.

                                                                                            1. re: ilanaR
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                                                                                              mrotmd Jul 25, 2011 05:10 PM

                                                                                              Ilana, "best" is nothing more than an opinion. I had a great experience in Tel Aviv. The best Sabich in the universe is at Oved. The long lines are a living proof. The owner, chef, cook, server, etc. is friendly and makes you feel like an old friend. Keeps the menu simple... SABICH :) custom made for you. Inexpensive Israeli comfort food. By the way, I found a few places in So Fla that serve sabich... Not even close to Oved. How about in NY?

                                                                                              1. re: mrotmd
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                                                                                                ilanaR Jul 25, 2011 05:50 PM

                                                                                                I'm not so big on middle eastern food- I don't really like things that are fried so much. Not even for health, just the taste doesn't agree with me. So I avoid falafel and french fries and fried eggplant and all that. But when it's convenient, I will partake...and the best for that is Maoz in NYC - they have a lot of really convenient locations on the UWS and midtown and I think one near NYU, and their salad bar is fantastic and very reasonably priced.

                                                                                                1. re: ilanaR
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                                                                                                  mrotmd Jul 26, 2011 08:57 AM

                                                                                                  Hi Ilana, Sorry I can't leave your comment without a reply... While Falafel and fried eggplant are indeed Middle Eastern, to equal fried with Middle Easter food is kinda stereotypical. The fact is that mediterranean/middle easter is more associated with fresh ingredients, lots of produce and simple preparations... There is less obesity and type II diabetes in the mediterranean diet compared to the USA. Since it is a foody forum I felt inclined to make the comment. That being said, the only part of sabich that is fried is the eggplant. If you do your frying correctly (right oil temperature mostly), very little oil gets into the food (See Alton Brown show about French Fries :) )

                                                                                                  1. re: mrotmd
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                                                                                                    ilanaR Jul 26, 2011 09:05 AM

                                                                                                    Oh I agree--- I LOVE Mediterranean food! I was simplifying just to make a point. And even if something is fried in the right way, it's really the taste and not the amount of oil or health issues that make it unappealing to me. Plus, they probably don't do it right in NY :) But I don't have a qualified enough palette on the Sabich to really inform you properly. But if you do hear of a good one, let me know so maybe my tastes will change!

                                                                                                2. re: mrotmd
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                                                                                                  DeisCane Jul 25, 2011 06:15 PM

                                                                                                  University Pita on 12th has sabich and it's pretty good.

                                                                                          3. re: ilanaR
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                                                                                            zsero Jul 25, 2011 11:51 PM

                                                                                            Look, I love Olga's, it's very good for what it is, but "best kosher restaurant"?! It's not even a distant contender in that category. Pardes is a contender; it might not be all Moshe wants it to be, but at least he's aiming in that direction; Olga isn't.

                                                                                            Oh, and how to fill yourself at Olga's for under $7, try one of her wonderful soups, with a hunk of very nice bread. World-class cuisine this ain't, but you won't be disappointed.

                                                                                            1. re: zsero
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                                                                                              ilanaR Jul 26, 2011 09:08 AM

                                                                                              I guess it depends how you feel about pretentious food.

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