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Help! Orthodox Jews and Midwestwesterners in Bay Area for dinner

deborahh Jul 10, 2008 10:24 PM

Need to find a restaurant to host small family dinner in two weeks, parents' 50th anniversary. Problem is - brother and family are strictly kosher (but will grumble through a conventional seafood or vegetarian meal). Worse yet, parents are so powerfully bland that they'd eat at Denny's given the choice. In other words, anything from Asia or Mideast or other parts savory won't do (unless it's Israeli, I suppose), Italian is on outskirts but acceptable. Too late to get into Greens, Milennium scared them badly last time. Any thoughts?

  1. lexdevil Jul 14, 2008 08:45 AM

    Here's a suggestion regarding how to approach this, rather than a suggestion for a specific restaurant. Call your brother and enlist his help. Remind him that it's your parents' 50th, and that the first priority should be finding a place that will be special to them. Ask him what sort of meal your parents would enjoy most. Then discuss the options with him, ranging from Kosher but not appropriate (because Chinese, because too casual, etc.) to appropriate but not Kosher. Send him links to menus. Then let your brother decide.

    The goal has got to be to minimize the whining while still getting your parents a special meal. I think if your brother picks the restaurant, he's far less likely to whine, even if he would have complained about the same restaurant had it not been his decision. The key is to 1. keep the focus on your parents' special day, and 2. push the difficult decision onto the person who is making it difficult. Perhaps making the decision will help your brother understand that there is a good reason for him to sacrifice his principles on this occasion.

    3 Replies
    1. re: lexdevil
      ML8000 Jul 14, 2008 09:16 AM

      You're right about letting the whining sibling choose the restaurant.

      I have a sibling like that (worse) and it's just easier to let them pick instead of starting a whole session. The only problem is that this sibling consistently (every time pretty much) picks dogs, doesn't realize it but then talks about how great the place is...and rarely picks up the check for family stuff.

      On the other hand, if it keeps the peace, one mediocre meal isn't the end of things.

      1. re: ML8000
        lexdevil Jul 14, 2008 10:41 AM

        And, in this case, given the preferences of the parents, a "dog" may be just fine.

      2. re: lexdevil
        wolfe Jul 14, 2008 09:50 AM

        Right on bro or sis as the case may be.

      3. w
        whiner Jul 12, 2008 02:47 PM

        Well... Greens was the first place I thought of...

        I have no idea if it is any good, but you could try http://www.aliveveggie.com/

        Shangri-La in the Sunset has some very nice dishes (veggie Chinese certified Kosher) but, of course, China is in Asia, so I guess that is out...

        Lots of steakhouses are safe... I know both Izzy's and Harris' always have salmon on the menu (in kosher-style preperation).

        Actually, for a nice meal, Plumpjack Cafe is pretty safe. They always have a vegetarian option and right now, looking at their sample menu, they appear to have two "kosher" fish preperations, too.

        6 Replies
        1. re: whiner
          Robert Lauriston Jul 12, 2008 06:26 PM

          Alive is a raw vegan place, same idea as Cafe Gratitude. I don't think that's appropriate for narrowminded, meat-and-potatoes Midwesterners.

          1. re: whiner
            wolfe Jul 13, 2008 05:56 PM

            Peeve alert whiner. (in kosher-style preperation{sic}) Plumpjack Cafe is pretty safe.
            How can a strictly kosher person eat in a restaurant with a non-kosher kitchen?
            Even wine vinegar may be non kosher in a veggie restaurant.

            1. re: wolfe
              whiner Jul 13, 2008 06:18 PM


              1) That I why I used the terms "Kosher-styled" and I put quotes around "Kosher" in my post.

              2) OP's *meaning* is obvious. This is not a Glatt Kosher couple. If it were, Greens and Millenium would not be possibilities and OP would not have posted about grumbling through fish/veggie meals.

              1. re: whiner
                wolfe Jul 13, 2008 06:44 PM

                I'm sorry but I have a problem with "strictly kosher" in a restaurant that prepares shell fish and or pork products. There is no kosher anything in that place. Also how is "brother and family are strictly kosher" a couple? Parents yes, b and f, no.

                1. re: wolfe
                  hill food Jul 14, 2008 01:06 AM

                  OP didn't refer to B and F as a couple, that would indeed have been in error. It was the parents who were skeeved by Millenium.

                  I was once tasked with finding a place to take a friend's cousins (a couple of Likudnik settlers from Hebron) and sort of freaked at the responsibility - limited geographic choice, NO observant places anyway and everybody else was from out of town. I found out later that, like rruben1's partner, they didn't really much care when on the road (beyond the obvious no-no's).

                  but that doesn't quite sound the case here.

                  since it's the parents' anniversary - I'd say someplace bland but good that they'll like and let brother grumble.

                  1. re: hill food
                    wolfe Jul 14, 2008 07:17 AM

                    This is not a Glatt Kosher couple
                    No but whiner did.

          2. m
            milklady Jul 12, 2008 02:06 PM

            Could you consider having it catered by a kosher caterer? There really isn't much in terms of nice kosher restaurants any more in the Bay Area, since Raphael closed.

            1. weinstein5 Jul 11, 2008 09:54 AM

              Other choices in San Francisco is the San Francisco New York Deli - http://sfnewyorkdeli.com/ - the Shangra La Vegetarian Chinese Restaurant is also kosher - also in oakland there is the Holay Land Restaurant http://www.holylandrestaurant.com/ and here is another link from the CH kosher board - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/462206

              1 Reply
              1. re: weinstein5
                Robert Lauriston Jul 11, 2008 10:58 AM

                SF New York Deli is lunch only and it's just sandwich shop, primarily takeout.

                The topic ML8000 linked to above is more up to date.

              2. Robert Lauriston Jul 11, 2008 09:44 AM

                Tadich Grill might be perfect. If they would be upset by the wait there, Sam's Grill.

                You might also consider Hayes Street Grill and Cafe Maritime.

                1. eeblet Jul 11, 2008 01:59 AM

                  I don't know about SF, but if it's real comfort food you want - Saul's Deli in Berkeley will have both the kosher and the comfort.

                  Saul's Deli
                  1475 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: eeblet
                    Robert Lauriston Jul 11, 2008 08:43 AM

                    Saul's is not kosher.

                    1. re: eeblet
                      wolfe Jul 11, 2008 09:37 AM

                      With the exception of their pastrami and rye bread Saul's might not even be good.

                    2. m
                      ML8000 Jul 10, 2008 11:23 PM


                      1. hill food Jul 10, 2008 11:14 PM


                        beef was dry as heck, but the fish was great - kind of a dowdy room, but it sounds like your crowd won't care. head up the street to the Buddha for a few apres-famile snorts.

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