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Best "Milk Kosher" (super-kosher!) Restaurant

I have a friend who is an orthodox Jew and who needs to eat at a very strictly Kosher place and has the certifications to prove it. I'm a vegetarian and don't want to eat at a "meat kosher" place but instead a place that has dairy (or a vegan place would be ok too). What are our best options?

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  1. you might want to try the kosher board (i think there is one) but I dont think you can do much better then Le Creperie on the UWS and My Most Favorite Food in midtown.

    1. what about diamond dairy in the diamond district? check menupages for the menu, but im pretty sure its glatt kosher

      1. If you like Indian food, a lot of the vegetarian restaurants in Curry Hill are certified Kosher.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Miss Needle

          Amen to that, Needle. Indian food is the best kosher food, IMO.


        2. I second posting thos also on the Kosher board of Chowhound - but another sourse to check is http://www.shamash.org/kosher/ - yo can search Manhattan and limit the results to dairry

          1. Don't bother with Le Creperie or My Most Favorite. Ozu on Amsterdam and 87th is great macro food - it has kosher certification, but by a rabbi that some would not hold by, so ask your friend.

            Sacred Chow is a vegan tapas place in the W. Village - ditto with checking - it has a kosher certificate, but check with your friend just in case.

            There are a bunch of kosher Indian places in the E. 20s around Lexington - Madras Mahal is one place that most people hold by.

            Murray's on 1st and 15th is a fabulous (and completely kosher) but casual option. The food is very good.

            More upscale, Le Marais (steakhouse but with some fish/vegetarian options) in midtown, or Va Bene (UES dairy) are both very good.

            1. You know, this situation actually parallels my sister. She's a vegetarian (about 95% of the time anyway) and went out with an Orthodox Jewish friend to Darna on the UWS. It's a Moroccan place, and said it was nice. It's a meat place, not dairy. But she was able to find vegetarian items on the menu.

              1. You might want to ask your kosher friend for help with this since it depends on how devout they are, and what specific kashrut observances they follow. Traditions can very from family to family over what's acceptable. The certification you see posted at some places is meaningless to some Orthodox Jews, and while the Kosher board is your best bet for advice on this, there are often far too many variables for you to pick a place without involving your friend. It's very cool that you're respecting their needs, and want to find some place fun, so I'm sure they will appreciate it that you asked them exactly what their needs are. Maybe you'll luck out and they'll say they can eat anywhere dairy/vege.

                1. I have no idea what "super-kosher" means, but I believe I saw a kosher certification at Saravanaas, which is a fantastic South Indian vegetarian restaurant.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Pan

                    Most of the Vegetarian places with kosher certificates are open on the Sabbath and certified by very leanant, rabbis and so aren't glatt-kosher (strict). What might work is sushi at Sushi Esta on west 79th Street just east of Broadway.

                    1. re: Pan

                      I was just discussing this issue with a very observant friend of mine who explained to me that a restaurant does not necessarily have to be glatt kosher for him to eat there. It does have to be certified by a respected authority, and just as important, the restaurant must be closed before sundown on Friday and closed on Saturday until after sundown. (I think it's an hour on each side.) And, of course, it will closed on all the relevant Jewish holidays. Thus, for example, while 2nd Av. Deli is kosher, since it stays open on Saturday, he will not patronize it.

                      1. re: RGR

                        So does anyone know which if any of the above restaurants (or others) follow these rules? Sushi Esta above doesn't work, because I don't eat it...

                        1. re: shivohum

                          Do you still want to focus on dairy restaurants?

                    2. Shivohum, I can almost guarantee that your friend uses this definition.
                      http://www.the-definition-of-kosher.com. Drop them a line.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: menachem


                      2. You might start with places listed on www.happycow.net that sound interesting and check to see which of them is kosher.

                        1. You haven't said whether you're looking only in Manhattan, or would be willing to go to Brooklyn.

                          If you're going Indian, my recommendation is Madras Cafe, on 2nd Ave between 4th and 5th Sts. I find it much better than the ones on Curry Hill, which all seem the same. Madras Cafe seems to emphasise flavour over heat.

                          Sacred Chow is good too. For both of these, though, since the certification isn't from one of the big agencies, check with your friend whether he'll accept them.

                          In Brooklyn there are many more good dairy/vegetarian options: Orchidea, Venezia, Renaissance, Tea For Two, Wendy's Plate, etc. Even Garden of Eat-In if you're in the mood for that sort of thing.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: zsero

                            I've been a regular at Madras Cafe since about a week after it opened, and while I like and recommend it, no way is it at all comparable (except adversely) to Saravanaas. Not even close!

                            1. re: Pan

                              Sorry, never been there. I don't trust the hechsher. Can you describe how it's different than the other ones on Curry Hill (which seem to be near-clones of each other)?

                              1. re: zsero

                                It's different from the other ones on Curry Hill because it's a branch of a restaurant that's actually based in Madras, India, and it's therefore better!

                                You're on your own as far as the appearance of the hechsher is concerned, though. Of course, all these restaurants are expressly vegetarian for Hindu religious reasons, so if your concern is contamination by meat products, the chances of that are essentially nonexistent. But it's up to you what level of formal documentation you need for your level of kashrut observance, and if you don't trust their hechsher, you certainly shouldn't trust the memory of someone you don't know - in this case, someone who doesn't observe kashrut.

                                One further remark, though: Madrasi cuisine IS spicy, and the spiciness is PART of the great flavor, which has way more depth quite aside from the chili at Saravanaas than at Madras Cafe. Madras Cafe has had to water down its levels of chili due to its clientele, which is primarily non-Indian. Saravanaas doesn't water down a thing for its primarily Indian clientele. That said, there ARE things on the menu that aren't marked with a star for spiciness there and aren't very spicy, especially if you avoid using the spiciest chutney that'll be on your serving dish.

                                1. re: Pan

                                  I have no objection to spice at all. But it seems to me that at the restaurants on Curry Hill, at least the ones I've tried, which is all except the ones with R Steinberg's hechsher, the heat tends to overwhelm the flavour, and even to come at its expense. It sometimes seems to me that they think "throw in some more chili and nobody will notice what else it tastes like". Whereas at Madras Cafe I can actually taste the food through the chili.

                                  1. re: zsero

                                    Either way, the OP later said his friend requires the restaurant to be closed on Shabbat. That knocks out all the vegetarian places. The remaining options are My Most Favorite in midtown, La Creperie on the UWS, and Va Bene on the UES, and the assorted pizza and bagel stores.

                                    1. re: avitrek

                                      Actually, no, the OP said nothing of the sort. He said his friend is careful about yoshon. From this I deduced that he's probably also careful about cholov yisroel. But there's no halachic problem with having a non-Jewish-owned restaurant open on shabbos, so there's no reason to suppose the OP's friend would have a problem with it.

                                      That said, the Indian places are not cholov yisroel, and we have no information on whether the OP's friend would eat pareve things there. And they certainly don't keep yoshon, but again, we don't know whether he might eat non-wheat items at such a place (I don't think Indian places use barley, spelt, or rye, and yoshon doesn't apply to rice, lentils, or chick peas.)

                          2. Thanks for the responses so far! To clarify, he apparently follows the tradition of Yoshon with respect to grain... do any of the above restaurants (or others) also do that?

                            These restaurants would preferably be in Manhattan, but I'm willing to look to Queens and Brooklyn if there are great choices there...

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: shivohum

                              Well, with the Indian places he can always avoid wheat, and stick to lentil- and rice-based stuff. But the wheat at these places is certainly not going to be yoshon. Ditto for Sacred Chow. And if he keeps yoshon he'll certainly keep cholov yisroel, so he won't eat the dairy items at the Indian places, and may very well not eat anything cooked in the same pots as their dairy. Better check with him.

                              Even in Brooklyn, you'd better call the restaurant and ask for the rabbi (or the manager if the rabbi's not available), and then ask him whether they use yoshon, because not all of them do. Try the ones I suggested above: Orchidea, Venezia, Tea for Two, Renaissance. Or if you want less fancy, Garden of Eat-In or Hall St. Kosher Cafe. You can find all of their contact details at http://nachas.org/BethYehuda/kosher.html

                              1. re: zsero

                                Va Bene, on the Upper East Side, is more expensive than many of the options discussed above, but is certified by a major organization (the OU). I haven't been there in a while, but have enjoyed it when I've gone.

                            2. is the OP asking about New York? There are kosher dairy restaurants the world over!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: smartie

                                Given that in a later post, the OP says that Manhattan would be best, but Brooklyn's OK, it seems like it.

                              2. What town is he looking for a restaurant in? I know many Kosher restaurants around the country and can recommend one to him but, I need to know what city he's looking in.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: weinstein5

                                  New York. This thread was on the Manhattan forum before it was moved here.

                                2. U Cafe on the upper east side serves great dairy food and has a pretty universal Kashrus supervision. Call and ask about Yoshon. Worth the trip. If you want more formal ambience, go for Va Bene, but I think it's pretty overrated.

                                  1. Y'all keep talking about glatt kosher dairy restaurants. Tell me exactly how this work as glatt refers to an extra check done to meat?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: CloggieGirl

                                      The word "glatt" has been used on this quite long thread exactly three times. You won't find any dairy restaurant that claims to be "glatt". But not everyone is exact in their language, or perfect in their knowledge of the correct terminology, and in context here it's obvious what people mean. It's not an error worth correcting.

                                      And language does change, so if *in American English* "glatt" is coming to mean greater care about kashrut, then so be it. English words don't always mean exactly what they do in their original language -- in fact they generally don't.

                                      1. re: zsero

                                        Not that this matters, but when I was in Israel about 10 years ago, the Sbarros on Ben Yehuda street advertised itself as "glatt."

                                        1. re: craigcep

                                          That would be odd, even on a meat restaurant, because "glatt" is Yiddish, not Hebrew. Restaurants there usually advertise themselves as "mehadrin", if that is the case, and that works just as well for milk as for meat. Occasionaly you'll see "chalak" on a meat place, though "mehadrin" implies "chalak", but I'd be flabbergasted if Sbarros said it was "chalak"!

                                          PS: Are you sure they weren't advertising "gelati"? Hebrew transliterations of foreign words can be confusing. It took me a while to figure out why a place would boast of selling "crap".

                                    2. Gusto Va Mare is the single best dairy strictly kosher restaurant in Manhattan. Va Bene is a close second. Diamond Dairy is a cheap, diner style place on the mezzanine of a jewelry exchange. Definitely lacking in atmosphere (putting it midly). The food isn't bad, but you can't even compare it to fancy places like Gusto and Va Bene. My Most Favorite Dessert isn't bad either, but extremely overpriced for what you get.