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Dinner with jewish friends

RI Swampyankee Aug 26, 2008 08:48 AM

On Friday, I'll be meeting up with old friend who keep kosher. On the road, they don't demand certified kosher restaurants but they do follow the rules--no pork, no shellfish, no meat and milk. I'd love to take them to Hungry Mother but that temple of pork and buttermilk is clearly out of the question. Where can I take my friends?

  1. ChefJune Aug 26, 2008 08:51 AM

    any place where they can order fish (not shellfish) is always a good choice.

    1. StriperGuy Aug 26, 2008 09:01 AM

      Most restaurants in Boston meet that criteria. Even at Hungry Mother you could start with a salad and eat the amazing French Gnocchi or steak as a main.

      Also, with regard to the title of your post, supposedly only about 15% of jews keep kosher.

      1. b
        Bluebell Aug 26, 2008 09:06 AM

        Will this be lunch or dinner? I'm guessing that if they are serious enough to keep kosher, a late Fri dinner wouldn't be happening. However, if it is dinner, I'd look at Oleana for the veg options, or think of a good fish place. Blue Room could work, and you could drink at HM first.

        1. d
          dulce de leche Aug 26, 2008 09:08 AM

          I love HM, but about half of their food is cooked with pork, and it's no fun to have to eliminate half your choices at first glance.
          I would go to Upstairs on the Square, Oleana, or Garden at the Cellar. All great food, none are heavily pork or shellfish or dairy based.

          1. gini Aug 26, 2008 09:28 AM

            If they don't need a kosher restaurant, then they can find options at any Boston restaurant. You may want to steer clear of seafood or pork specific restaurants. If you could tell us a bit more about the cuisine you'd like to steer them towards, that would be helpful.

            1. PinchOfSalt Aug 26, 2008 09:46 AM

              Any middle-eastern or North African restaurant would likely be a pork-free zone. Moslems don't eat pork. (In fact, halal and kosher rules have a lot in common.) Perhaps Hellmand in Cambridge would fit the bill? Or one of the Ethiopian restaurants around the area?

              1 Reply
              1. re: PinchOfSalt
                dulce de leche Aug 26, 2008 11:01 AM

                Ethiopians are mostly Christians, but Ethiopian Orthodox Christians don't eat pork, I don't think. I've never seen it at an Ethiopian restaurant, anyway!
                Addis & Asmara are both not great, though. I'd try something else.

              2. g
                gyppielou Aug 26, 2008 01:52 PM

                I was hoping to hear a great suggestion for a kosher restaurant in Brookline or such. How nice and respectful to treat them to a real kosher meal on the road.

                Anyone know of a great kosher place, other than lox and bagels?

                7 Replies
                1. re: gyppielou
                  bachslunch Aug 26, 2008 02:43 PM

                  Not much in the way of actual kosher restaurants, especially excellent ones, locally. There's some so-so Chinese at Ta'am China, decent deli at Rubin's (but not in the same league as the classic NYC kosher delis), and respectable falafel at Rami's. Have not been to Cafe Eilat, but saw a post recently saying it's lousy.

                  All these are in or not far from Coolidge Corner in Brookline.

                  1. re: bachslunch
                    alissafoo Aug 26, 2008 03:04 PM

                    I agree- there is also Zaftigs (not proper Kosher, but very popular with the Brookline Jewish- and other!- populations (myself included). In addition there is Cafe Jaffa off Newbury Street, which is very good Middle Eastern/Israeli food,and the Middle East in Central Square, Cambridge.

                    1. re: alissafoo
                      StriperGuy Aug 26, 2008 03:58 PM

                      Cafe Jaffa is only tolerable in terms of food quality, and the Middle East is DEFINITELY not Kosher and likewise nothing to write home about food wise.

                      Even in the NY area with a MUCH bigger jewish population there are not THAT many really tasty kosher places. Keep in mind that jews make up roughly 2% of the U.S. population and only 15% of that 2% which = 0.3% make it a priority to eat Kosher food. Most people who do keep kosher in their homes, with the exception of the very observant, do not insist on a kosher restaurant when they eat out.

                      Add to that the fact that many places thought of as Jewish (many good NYC delis, Zabars, etc.) are not Kosher either.

                      A generation ago I am sure in Roxbury (then a Jewish community) and in Manhattan there were many more kosher restaurants that made delicious tasty kosher food. Even in NYC many of those are long gone, though in the diamond district, the garment district, and certainly parts of Brooklyn and Queens quite a few remain.

                      Short story: a really chow-worthy Kosher meal ain't very easy to find anywhere but your Bubbe's (grandmother's) kitchen.

                  2. re: gyppielou
                    Bluebell Aug 26, 2008 04:40 PM

                    Yes, but then they'd move my post to the NY or international board! The kosher dinner at the synagogue in Florence, Italy was fabulous. I'm guessing that these friends probably know that Kosher restos outside of NY or Israel are not so fabulous. It's one of the reasons that several friends of mine who keep strict kosher are tremendous cooks themselves.

                    Closer to Boston, I suggest choosing a place w/ good veggies or fish. That's why I suggested Oleana. If other folks can think of places with great veg salads that serve as a main dish, that is another common option.

                    1. re: gyppielou
                      lergnom Aug 26, 2008 05:03 PM

                      Cafe Shiraz on Comm Ave in Newton is listed as Kosher / Middle Eastern. I've never been there.

                      1. re: gyppielou
                        weinstein5 Aug 26, 2008 09:34 PM

                        I have enjoyed Ta'am China - very good kosher chinese - http://www.taamchina.com/ - and Rubin's Deli - http://www.rubinskosher.com/ as well as the falafel at Rami's - all are on Harvard St in Brookline -

                        this is another site to check http://www.shamash.org/trb/jewish_boston.html as well as posting this request on the kosher section of Chowhound - here is a recent discussion there - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/534058

                        1. re: gyppielou
                          irishnyc Aug 27, 2008 11:21 AM

                          Since the OP is looking for Friday Dinner, no real kosher restaurant would be open then. ;)

                        2. m
                          macadamianut Aug 26, 2008 05:37 PM

                          A lot of people who keep a kosher diet eat out at vegetarian restaurants. Because I am not a vegetarian I am not very familiar with any in the area but does someone who keeps a vegetarian diet have a favorite restaurant? This way you can have a some creative fare that is not Eastern European or Middle Eastern. While I enjoy both of those cuisines I am sure these people have eaten their share.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: macadamianut
                            soxchik Aug 27, 2008 09:58 AM

                            I haven't found any really great fully vegetarian restaurants in the area, but this link might help with some options: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/419475

                            My pick on this list would definitely be Oleana - but be sure to make reservations.

                          2. BobB Aug 27, 2008 08:26 AM

                            If you're going to be in the Coolidge Corner area there are lots of real kosher options, but none of them are restaurants I'd choose to eat at if I wasn't keeping kosher. The best of the bunch is probably Ta'am China, but even that doesn't measure up to the level of quality you'd expect in the better local Chinese places.

                            My suggestion in the area is Lineage - they do fish really well, but have a variety of other options too. Or, if your friends like Japanese, Gari, a block or so down the street. It's become our go-to sushi spot in the neighborhood. Just make sure the chef understands they won't eat shellfish.

                            1. e
                              emilief Aug 27, 2008 08:43 AM

                              This may date me- but I used to eat lunch frequently at Milk Street Cafe in Downtown Boston. IIRC they were kosher- I remember them closing during certain Jewish holidays. There used to be one on Milk Street and another in the park at Post Office Square. not sure if they are still there but pretty certain that they seve only breakfast and lunch.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: emilief
                                weinstein5 Aug 27, 2008 10:07 AM

                                They lost their lease at Post Office Square location - the milk street location is still there

                              2. v
                                veggielover Aug 27, 2008 11:29 AM

                                Most kosher restaurants will close by 3:00 on Friday and won't open until Sunday which eliminates them for the first part of the weekend. I would go along with the suggestions given so far for restaurants like Oleana and Helmand. I would also suggest restaurants like Legal Seafood, East Coast Grill and other primarily fish restaurants that serve fin fish.

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