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Jul 24, 2009 06:09 AM

What do you think the new trend in Kosher will be?

Sushi is getting quite overplayed. Indian and Thai haven't really taken off so I would like to hear the real foodies out there--especially those that play on both the kosher and non-kosher teams--as to what is next and what deserves to be next? Style of food and actual dish if you have some idea.

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  1. BS"D

    What make's you think that there will be a new trend in kosher food? I agree that the ubiquitous sushi got tremendous overplay. I think that the next trend was the Suzie Fishbein on every shelf, making everyone's Shabbos food taste pretty much the same (tried outlawing her books in my house, couldn't make it stick, much to my dismay). For the future, who knows? Here in Los Angeles, the fish taco is becoming ubiquitous- relatively healthy, pretty good tasting, pretty cheap, pretty easy to make, and it's hitting both the nonkosher and kosher scenes.

    12 Replies
    1. re: ganeden

      There's always a trend. First Chinese, then Sushi. Tex/Mex/BBQ for a while. Dishwise, we had the ever popular chocolate mousse, then the trifle, the Fishbein effect on mains and sides...Tilapia was all the rage, now Turbot (which I haven't yet bothered with). What now?

      1. re: cappucino


        I don't know about your characterization of Tex/Mex?BBQ as a trend in the Jewish world. I don't think there are very many Tex/Mex places in kosher USA at the moment, and BBQ, only a couple of restaurants and a couple of caterers. Generic Chinese/American followed the overall trend in the USA at the time, though it's probably still going strong among Jews, though waining in the nonJewish market as people pick up on individual regional Chinese cuisines. Really, chocolate mousse? I never noticed, as we would only make it on Pesach after the 1970s, especially after the egg/salmonella scare. Trifle? Perhaps its a local thing, but I would hardly call it a trend overall. Tilapia is simply a low cost protein source, and as such is applicable both in the nonJewish and Jewish worlds. Turbot? No more than any other fish (sole, sand dabs, and other flat fish are much the same, subject to economics). Chilean Sea Bass was big in the kosher market just as it was in the nonkosher, during the same time period. I think if anything, the trend in the kosher restaurant world is towards steakhouses. People get a satisfying hunk of grilled meat. It has been overplayed in the nonkosher market, but is still very hot in kosher (witness that almost everyone's top-10 list of kosher restaurants is inundated with steakhouses). And the trend among markets is rotisserie chicken. I'd like to see fried chicken,though. What could be more appealing that beautifully fried chicken, mashed potatos and gravy, and maybe a salad of some sort? Not too much fried chicken going on in the kosher world, outside fo shnitzel. Come to think of it, snhitzel might be the next trend, jusdging from tthe places opening in Lakewood and Brooklyn.

        1. re: ganeden

          Schnitzel has already jumped the shark for me but maybe that's because I married a Hungarian.

          High quality pizza may be on the docket, as it has been now for about 3-4 years among foodies on the coasts.

          SE Asian cuisine (Thai/Vietnamese)? Seems unlikely but it's probably the last region that's not represented by kosher restaurants. Caribbean and South American cuisine is also relatively untapped, aside from Argentinian steak houses.

          1. re: DeisCane

            Deis, the Hungarian comment is so true. Schnitzel is not at all sexy to some of us.

            1. re: DeisCane

              Yes! There should be room for kosher jerk chicken in Crown Heights, between the Jews and all the SDA and Rastas who have at least some preference for kosher food. But first pho.

              1. re: zsero


                Pho is not hard to make. We have about a gallon of the stuff in the freezer. Unfortunately, so few people asked for it that we stopped making it. OK, so we used Bragg's instead of fish sauce, and Chinese wheat noodles instead of broad rice noodles, but the tastes are very similar. Plenty of mint and cilantro and basil under hechsher in Los Angeles (well, come to think of it, no Thai Basil, just the sweet stuff) and tastes very similar indeed. Find a recipe on the net and make it yourself.

            2. re: ganeden

              We must run in different circles. Turbot is the hot fish of the moment if you can call it that. What I mean and what I think you may be missing is that in some subset kosher communities, trends are it in clothes, food, etc. If your neighbor and his neighbor are serving turbot, then--oh, my gosh--it must be terrific. Hence the tilapia craze. Yes, I am above 25 and the mousse/trifle harkens back quite a few years, but that's how it was. One day you're eating a trifle at a bridal shower and the next day it is at every catered affair. Warm blonde brownies and ice cream anyone? In certain circles, that was the dessert of choice at every bar mitzvah. Some like Chinese and Sushi have cut across all the kosher subset groups. Trust me, these trends do occur. Fishbein was hot in the Teaneck MO circles for the last couple of years, waining now. I just want to know what's next.

              1. re: cappucino

                Tilapia is cheap and bland - a lowest-common-denominator product. The boneless chicken breast of the fish world. Also doesn't hurt that it's been farmed in Israel forever, so it's a famliar product.and a common export.

                1. re: ferret

                  Totally true, ferret. Tilapia is a workhouse but it's not foodie at all.

                  To cappucino, are you asking about restaurants or home cooking? Huge difference imo.

                  1. re: DeisCane

                    Deis, I mean restaurant genre (i.e. Chinese, Sushi) and home cooking, but I shy away from the word "home cooking" on this board.

                  2. re: ferret

                    I agree. The Israel thing was the only draw for us.

                  3. re: cappucino

                    Fishbein is waning? Where do I find that section of Teaneck?

            3. I guess it will follow more general food trends.

              1. More "green" food from current kosher companies.
              2. If there are more Korean restaurants opening in NY (I think), then we will see more Korean dishes in "Asian" restaurants.

              I would guess we would see trends also moderated by the economu, to wit the appearance of more kosher foods at Costco. Since private label products of supermarkets are picking up sales, maybe more products will get supervision.

              12 Replies
              1. re: vallevin

                I agree on the "green" trend. I just wonder what else is down the pike. I personally would like to see a good salad and pasta bar franchise open across the Metro area. I don't know what Olive Garden is like, but something like that where the food is light, Italian-inspired and predictably good across the franchise. I also wish there was a way to make a Seattle coffee bar type joint lucrative in the Kosher world. I believe there is something on the West Coast. I'll be checking it out this summer. Would like to see it here. I assume the fact that a bunch of people sitting over one latte and a biscotti for an hour would be less than lucrative for the owners, but there has to be a way to do it right.

                1. re: cappucino

                  Olive Garden is dreck.

                  You're talking about The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Supposed to be good.

                  Crumbs seems like the closest thing on the east coast.

                  1. re: DeisCane

                    But alas we have decided we cannot eat at Crumbs due to Hashgacha concerns. Like I said, don't know the Olive Garden on the inside. I just mean economical, chain-store, reliable salad and pasta. I am bageled and pizzad to death and with kids and high tuition to boot I am not running to Va Bene every other week.

                    1. re: DeisCane

                      Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is just coffee/tea beverages with a couple of milchig pastries thrown into the mix. I can't figure what would be the draw, aside from a decent cup of coffee or tea that's standardized across locations. CB&TL is basically LA local. It's not like Starbuck's, in that there's no place to sit and shmooze. Just basically coffee or tea to go.

                      1. re: ganeden

                        I like Coffee Bean. Last time we were in LA, it was a very practical lunch option. The salads were good, the sandwiches seemed fresh, and the employees were really nice and helpful. Plus, the coffee and iced teas were great. I think what cappucino is getting at is that it's a quick and easy spot for lunch or coffee and the pastries have an appeal to kids.

                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          Coffee Bean saved my life in Las Vegas! We stayed at the Venetian - which has 3 CBTLs! Breakfast and lunch, taken care of!

                          1. re: DebbyT

                            We did the same thing in Vegas. It's just convenient to be able to walk into a restaurant that has many locations and be able to order anything off the menu.. knowing it's fresh.

                    2. re: cappucino

                      Lazy Bean in Teaneck for coffee and lounging

                      1. re: vallevin

                        As everything else in Teaneck, overpriced, overrated plus their desserts and paninis are just there--nothing that good or that fresh. No overstuffed chairs anymore. Owner isn't mr. friendly. Children are frowned upon...I'm thinking: family-friendly, actual good food that is reliably fresh and good, plus excellent coffee.

                        1. re: cappucino

                          I miss the overstuffed chairs at Lazy Bean, but I must disagree about the coffee--it is excellent, with lots of variety, and with a card, every 11th coffee is free. I have only known the owner to be friendly, the manager knows all her customers by name and knows their orders, and the low fat muffins are always fresh and delicious. I enjoy the paninis, and my only problem with them is that they are too big. Their soups are DELICIOUS as well; they have an amazing spinach carrot and a potato leek that I like as well. It's great to have a kosher place like this, but the nice thing about Lazy Bean is that it continues to attract all kinds of people in Teaneck, not necessarily Jewish or Kosher. There is no Starbucks in Teaneck, so this is the place to go. I don't think every restaurant needs to cater to people who want their kids to run around in a restaurant and annoy patrons who want to read their newspaper or have a business meeting over coffee, and I say this as a mother of 4 kids who had no problem adhering to the owner's request that small children not sit on the now absent overstuffed furniture.

                          1. re: teachermom

                            I know that the store made rules about kids on the furniture because it was being ruined, and now said furniture has been removed for other reasons (I only heard rumors that I will not repeat).
                            I am a mother of 3, albeit grown-up children, and I will not eat at places that charge me BIG MONEY to watch other parents allow their children to run around, wreaking havoc...HITTING ME IN THE HEAD...while the parents and owners do nothing about it. My children have been going to restaurants since they're infants and the rule was that we leave the second they misbehave...and they never did.

                            1. re: DebbyT

                              Here's the deal. You can gladly have your quiet coffee bar (which btw is by no means an upscale place--back of a grocery store--so does not really fit with the kid-resistant thing), but I am still waiting as I mentiioned above for someone to provide the kosher market with a family-friendly "Olive Garden" type place with reasonable prices and reliably fresh, good food. What I thought Mike's Pizzeria might be, but, sadly was not. I see yummy ice cream malts for the kids (so far have never had a really good malt outside of Israel) and low-fat, tasty frappes for the adults with good straightforward pasta/pizza/salad/sandwich offerings in a non-pizza shop atmosphere. It's possible. Deal has the Chocolate Soda which is sort of what I am talking about. Teaneck should and could welcome someplace like that.

                  2. Even though I KNOW the food is really unhealthy and bad for me, I really love pizza hut in Israel. I wish someone would open a kosher pizza hut here too.. the salad bar, the breadsticks, the deep crust pizza... mmmmmm.

                    1. In my own MO circles in the Five Towns I have seen that heavy heimish Shabbos food is out. Most people are just not into the fat and carb laden dishes anymore. A typical shabbos meal might consist of a chicken-avocado and romaine salad, a balsamic spinach salad, an asian slaw, grilled vegetables instead of kugels, grilled lean beef, some brown rice or quinoa pilaf. Maybe a chulent just for the die-hards. Desserts are also getting lighter- more fruit and sorbet based stuff, not a trifle to be found. I haven't seen anyone put out a noodle kugel in years. And although I still on occasion use Susie's cookbooks, they are more of a starting point for lighter recipe ideas and not the gold standard anymore.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: websterhall1994

                        Thats so interesting. In my MO community in NJ, we are all about kugels, schnitzel and a lot sides. Most of the food I make is traditioal (we had noodle kugel today for example), as is most of my friends.
                        For sure our food is kosher-palette/ susie fishbein inspired.. We always have at least 2 kugels, rice (but its usually brown), potatoes, roasted garlice, hummus, a terra chip style salad etc.
                        Funny how food is different depending on the city.

                        1. re: marissaj

                          Here's my humble take on that. I think it is the nuances of the subsets of kosher-keepers that sometimes defines the cooking style. Teaneckers are often raised MO on American-style Shabbat foods and tend to be more "heimish-friendly." 5 Towns is a mix of original MO and raised Heimish. Those in the 5 Towns raised Heimish tend to move away from the traditional kugel/shnitzel to make a point. Kiddush is usually the traditional Heimish to make sure everyone's happy. Even in more American-style Kiddushim, you will have to have the cholent/kishke. Friends of ours did a Moroccan Kiddush catered by Levana. Now, that blew the neighborhood away.

                          1. re: cappucino

                            I went to a fancy engagement party of a relative through my son-in-law famly who got engaged to a Persian. It was in Great Neck and catered by Colbeh. They had lots of Persian foods there - ate only the watermellon and pinapple. I had to eat out after the affair. Thank g-d at the wedding they had a table with traditional meat carvings.

                            Different is not always better - only different.

                            1. re: MartyB

                              What was your problem with the food? Did the spices scare you? I happen to enjoy Colbeh and so do other friends. Different is not always bad just because it's different.

                              1. re: avitrek

                                Avitrek, I could not of said that better myself. Thank you

                                1. re: avitrek

                                  It just did not taste good to me. Nothing to so with scary spices.

                                2. re: MartyB

                                  This kind of post would probably only be found on the Kosher board. Definitely not a chowish mentality.

                                  1. re: DeisCane


                                    Jews have to learn to live a little. Try new things, eat tastes that we aren't used to. We have to stop settling for the same old stuff and get something new on our palates.

                                    I am sure many of us just salivate watching the food network or travel channel with all those cooking shows. The way they describe the flavor and the colors.......and then we get to go home to our same choice of dirty pizza places.

                                    We have to learn to stop settling and require more from our establishments and ourselves.

                                    1. re: HungryJew

                                      Agree - Even basic pizza tends to get butchered by the majority of places. It is so much more than dough, bland sauce and cheese. Has anyone heard of oregano, garlic or heaven forbid, anchovies!!!!!!!!!!!!

                            2. re: websterhall1994

                              Just had a kiddush at our shul this shabbos, chulent, potato kugel and kishka. Classic!

                            3. A trend in Kosher cooking..... Why does there have to be a general trend? I believe that if Kosher restaurants just picked it up, and actually started serving great food. No matter what their style was it would elevate what people thought of kosher. The truth of the matter right now, in the majority of Kosher restaurant, is that you can do it better at home. I am the former Chef of Pomegranate in Boca. This is the Idea that I stood by there, local fresh ingredients. Nothing out of a can, which I have seen in my brief tour of the Kosher culinary world. After I left Pomegranate I went back to none Kosher restaurants, manly because of what was expected at them. A ton of food, fast and at low prices. Quantity over Quality. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around???? Don't you go out to eat for what you cannot do yourself at home. I am waiting to see this, I just stepped back in as the Chef at Morels Bistro and pub in West Palm Beach. I will be applying the same thought pattern there. I do hope that it works this time. I do beleive that this will be the coming trend in Kosher food. Fresh local ingredients ,except for meat (it is impossible to find a local Glatt Kosher farm). I do think that if everyone understood and applied that thought that restaurants are for dining, not just stuffing your face, the Kosher restaurants would be on the same level as all of the non Kosher ones. At Pomegranate, we had Kosher and non Kosher people as regular customers. No one, that was not Kosher, knew the differance. This is the way that it should be. This will hopefully be the new trend. Free thinking Chefs that do not copy each other, but instead have an origanal thought and put it into use.

                              25 Replies
                              1. re: Chef Tony

                                Amen to that. For me, Pat's in LA is the only place where I left happy I made the effort. The rest of them across the board are "just supper"--not even "dinner." Fresh ingredients would be nice. Originality would be nice. That is why I cannot understand the appeal of Mike's (bland to me). We can do so much more. Good luck to you, Chef Tony.

                                1. re: Chef Tony


                                  While I share you r view that one eats out at places which produce what one cannot produce onesself at home, I think that many people are squeemish and desire the familiar, except in different settings, especially many children and many elderly. As to fresh ingredients, difficult when dealing with perceived or imagined bug infestations in vegetables, and hashgachas which are inherently vegie unfriendly. We had a marvelous bok choy salad at a friend's on Shabbos, but I would never be allowed to serve something like that in my restaurant, because I would never be allowed to check the bok choy myself- it would simply be among the list of assur vegies. Even our broccoli salad (similar to the Spice and Spirit one with the nuts and craisins) went the way of all things when fresh broccoli under RCC became unavailable, as Bender Farms went nonkosher for lack of market at the inordinate prices they were charging. When such bsic things are unavailable fresh, I am not optimistic about more esoteric vegies,, shrooms, etc. Meatwise, I can't tell you the number of times people have asked for quality meat to be cooked to the point of shoe leather. That's well marbled steak- imagine if someone were to order his bison or elk welldone (must be rare-medium rare to have any tenderness whatsoever), as many are still squeemish about any red/pink in meat. Cook the hell out of wagyu, and what's the use? 2/3 loss of weight, in moisture/fat. Just hardly worth it to have new meats different than the norm. I agree that nonkosher crossover makes a big difference, but that is mostly applicable to expensive restaurants due to the meat cost differential. I was speaking to Todd Aarons last nightr, and he was telling me that with the restaurant down so much during the recession, marketing to the local nonJewish consumers was the only way that made sense (too far away from LA for the dwindling kosher consumer market). And at those prices, though a lower margin than a nonkosher restaurant, it worked. Less easy to do in a moderately priced restaurant, because there's a minimum margin required for viability.

                                  1. re: ganeden

                                    Why are you thinking of the things that you cannot use... Did haricot vert become nonkosher, Carrots, Cabbage... and since when can you not use baby bok choy? If you are a restaurant owner.... YOUR JOB is to inform and educate!!!!!! "I would like the waygu well done please". "sorry ma'am we cannot cook this piece of meat past medium. Would you like to try the Demonico or possible evan the skirt.". That is not hard is it. Stop using excuses.... Do the job right and people will pack your place, it doesn't cost that much more. A nice lake victoria bass served over saffron bruschetta with a blackened tomato sauce and glazed arugula.... Whats not kosher there? And it is all fresh! Now you evan have an arugula salad!!!!!! I am so tired of hearing excuses of why people use processed and canned ingredients. Did all of the farm land in America stop producing? If you own a restaurant or are a Chef, than shame on you. didn't you get into this for the passion? To create to make people happy. Yes there is a minimum margin, take a hit on the meat and make it up on your fish, salads and deserts. Restaurant 101.
                                    If you want to talk numbers..... nonkosher restaurants run a 40- 50% food cost on red meat, 20- 25% on fish and chicken and 15-20% on salads and desserts. Don't blame not using fresh on your margins. Right there is a simple plan for success, so maybe you have to adjust it a little to get the nonkosher clientelle. run a 60% on red meat and adjust the rest accordingly. After all volume cures alot of problems.
                                    Make your meshgiah work for a living! THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE FOR USING CANNED OR PORCESSED PRODUCTS!!!!! Lets bring Kosher into the slow food movement that the rest of the country is in!!!!!! The food should come from your heart, not the processing plant! Sorry that I am so enraged by the last comment people. I just cannot understand or comprehend the thinking that some restaurant owners and Chefs have. You do not get into this business to get rich, the only way you survive is with passion!

                                    1. re: Chef Tony

                                      As a consumer it is fascinating to hear the business side of a restaurant and the challenges the kosher restaurant has to stay in business and make money - the one trend I am starting to see in many of the market places I visit that the kosher resterauntuers are no longer feeling they have a captive consumer - but must provide product that is appealing to the kosher consumer as well as the non-kosher consumer. -

                                      1. re: Chef Tony

                                        This whole thread is so interesting to me. We eat in both kosher and non kosher restaurants. We only ever go to kosher restaurants with our family who insist on it, because they are for some reason uniformly uninspiring. I wonder if it is becuase of ganeden vs chef tony's different perspectives. My husband and I are always talking about why it is that the kosher places most often do not compare to other restaurants. My theory is that they have a captive audience among those who will only eat in kosher places and so they don't really have an incentive to improve the way a non kosher restaurant does with so much competition. This is true even of the very high end kosher places, which often cost as much or more as the very high end non kosher places and don't compare in terms of either food or service.
                                        What is really needed is a place that has both good food and good value, is clean and appealing and where you can take the family. How hard can that be? That, and Chef Tony's philosophy, is the key to attracting both Jewish (religious and non) and non-jewish clientele.

                                        1. re: ddelicious

                                          i didnt get the impression that ganeden was disagreeing with chef tony, just that he was being realistic

                                          there are ridiculous issues with veggies and bugs and unfortunately a lot of the restaurant eating kosher constituency have no adventure seeking characteristics in the food arena

                                          1. re: shoelace


                                            Correct, I was agreeing with CT, and don't know how he got that wrong, but it wasn't worth posting about. The RCC is very, very picky about bugs, such that they do not allow leafy vegetables, because they don't hold by any of the protocols for checking which some others allow (such as Rav Heineman's protocol for dealing with broccoli). Rabbi Vann happens to be an expert on thrips, and goes overboard, in my opinion, to exclude them. He is also worried about sticky insecticides actually adhering bugs to vegies, so that mild soapy solutions do not lift the bugs off the vegies. Most of the Los Angeles poskim agree with him. Consequently, LA is a very vegie-unfriendly place. So if CT wants o know who can't use bok choy, the answer is LA restaurants- not only those under RCC,but typically Kehilla also (although I do know of someone who actually is allowed to check his own spinach under Kehilla). The OU is more moderate, in this case, and would allow checking of broccoli and leafy vegies. One can still be adventurous with root vegies, fruity vegies and pods (such as zukes, eggplant, okra, winter squashes and the like).

                                            To answer ddelicious, kosher meat costs about 5 times more than nonkosher. At the low end, it's simply impossible to project an absolute value typical of the nonkosher establishments. Meaning that if a 1/4 lib burger patty costs $1.25, the cost of the quarter pounder is going to be far in excess of MacDonald's 1/4 pounder, even if the quality is the same (mediocre). Out here where we deal with in-and-out-burgers, which make a superior burger, the kosher prices would still need to eclipse those prices, solely due to the cost of raw materials. On the other hand, a more exclusive, higher end restaurant, one which is less dependent upon the cost of the raw material in its pricing structure, might be able to have parity of prices with the nonkosher market, by utilizing a lower markup. Unless one can convince the nonJewish consumer of the inherent value added to kosher meat, justifying its enormously higher price, one will never be able to justify in his mind a price significantly higher than nonkosher.

                                              1. re: ganeden

                                                Ganeden, you are right about the cost of Kosher meat. I was horrified when I first stepped into the arena. And the Kosher purveyors are not willing to whell and deal like the traige purveyors.
                                                What purveyors do you use? Taylor farms is under OU and either Sysco or U.S. Foods arry them.
                                                You cannot really compare your burgers to McDonalds (they are 40% soy), but if you compare them to Another restaurant, which you will still pay $10 to $12 dollars for traife.
                                                The Big issue here is that, yes a Kosher restaurant cannot survive only serving Kosher clientelle, there are alot of hidden costs in the Kosher worls that do not exist in Traife. Nonkosher people will come though if the food is good, with all of the food movements coming along. The slow food movement... ect. Traife clientelle are not as obsessed about price as they are about quality. Tonight I did a Thai style Pollock cake (using the imatation crab, I will not say crab mostly because a traife customer would know) with avocado puree, yuzu aioli and red pepper and burmuda onion salad. It sold of the hook. I would say that half of the people that we had tonight where not jewish. They just happened to be driving by saw the place and wanted to try it. We do not advertise ourselfs as Kosher, we have all the certifacates. So if you are you know. Traife customers are scared of Kosher, they do not understand it or they think all that it is is falafel and hummus. It is a barrier to break through, but I have to admit, I thought the same before I stepped into the Kosher world. I was trained at Citronelle in Washington D.C. (the second best restaurant in the country). I took the job for a challange, and that it was. But I still put out food that was on the same level as Citronelle and actually charged less.
                                                The Shawrma (sp?) stands will always be there. I just think that it is a time for a new age and thinking in Kosher cooking.

                                                1. re: Chef Tony

                                                  > You cannot really compare your burgers to McDonalds (they are 40% soy),

                                                  Really? I had no idea. I assume their burgers taste decent (don't jump on me I said decent not great - since I never tasted one), after all they sold billions of them, My qestions are. (1) Because they contain 40% soy does that mean that they are less unhealthy then ones that are 100% beef. (2) I assume that a burger prepared in such a manner would be cheaper than a burger made from 100% beef. (3) Considering the high cost of kosher beef just how would one prepare such a burger since if point (1) and point (2) are true then that would help bring down the cost of a kosher burger. I would love to have a burger that is both less unhealthy and cheaper than current burgers made from 100% beef.

                                                  1. re: MartyB

                                                    Unless they're outright lying their website states 100% beef.


                                                    1. re: ferret

                                                      Thats what the web site says, so as to my post - "never mind"

                                                      I guess the 40% soy was a rumor propogated by probably Burger King :)

                                                      1. re: ferret

                                                        i believe they are beef. i would rate the entire menu somewhere between edible and decent. it is popular because they are cheap and consistent and there is something for everyone. macdonalds is one of the best business models in the world, i'm sure a kosher one, if such a thing is even possible, would do well in any city with a large jewish population, . there are kosher ones in Israel, right?

                                                        1. re: ddelicious

                                                          Kosher Delight does well. I wish they would open here in the 5 towns.

                                                      2. re: MartyB

                                                        Kosher costs.

                                                        At about $4/lb retail for kosher ground beef (I know, most restaurants will pay less, but not unless they can do significant volume), 1/4-lb burger is $1 in raw meat costs. Add $1 for everything else and then do the usual 300% markup - you're at $6 for a Kosher burger at a minimum. Add to that the costs of supervision and the limitations of not being open 7 days (plus a more limited non-Kosher clientele who can eat cheaper "next door").

                                                        Anyone getting into the Kosher restaurant business for the money is really throwing it away before it's earned.

                                                2. re: ddelicious

                                                  I couldn't agree more. The vast majority of kosher restaurants in the U.S. offer mediocre food and less than mediocre service. I'm convinced that it's because of the captive audience. The exceptions are the passionate restaurant owners like Craig and Chef Tony.

                                                  1. re: Kosher Carnivore

                                                    GE is very clear about the challenges so I guess the question left to be asked is: Is it doable what CT and ddelicious are mandating? Do any of us actually know of a model that has stood the test of time, made the profit, kept in the game with passion and quality on the plate? Also, am I alone when I speak of Pats? Do you all agree that this is one model to strive for? I haven't been there in a while.

                                                    1. re: cappucino

                                                      I second your sentiments about Pat's - and it seems like there are more and more examples that are striving to the standards that are being discussed here but I also have to add, I am a foodie but I also enjoy places that do server a quality product on the lower end of the cuisine spectrum like Jeff's Gourmet Sausage for hot dogs and Kens Diner in Skokie for burgers -for very good quality and have built a strong following -

                                                      1. re: cappucino

                                                        It will work, if Kosher clientelle demand more. Demand more of your local restaurants.... Yes I guess that some are not aloud to use leafy greens, but there are other things to use. Next time you go to your Kosher restaurant, talk to the owner or the Chef. Demand that the food that you all are craving be delivered. I am not saying do not go. Just state how you feel and what you as their clientelle want. After all if you think about you all are the ones paying thier paychecks. But also on the same note, let them express themselves. Don't go in and "create your own entree". Let the Chef speak through his/her food, you will be rewarded. One of the most frustrating things is to come up with a plate that will knock your socks off, only to have it torn apart and reconstructed. Be good, have fun and enjoy.

                                                        1. re: Chef Tony


                                                          Of course, CT, you presuppose that people are dealing with chefs who would love to present foods which are linked to their souls. That may be true of you, and if so, I applaud you, but most kosher food is made by shleppers who just want to get it done, out there and paid for. Most restaurateurs get into the business because if successful, a restaurant can make a great deal of money, often largely avoiding taxes in the process (cash sales aren't necessarily always rung up), notwithstanding the fact that it is difficult to make a restaurant a business success. So the majority of kosher restaurant owners are businessmen trying to exploit niches to their own benefit, with the benefit to the consumer an afterthought.

                                                            1. re: ddelicious

                                                              I am a baal tshuva and a foodie and I cannot agree more re: kosher restaurants. I cook at home a lot and it really doesn't take much to make delicious kosher food from fresh ingredients. I agree that most kosher restaurants are opened for monetary purposes and not for the chef's love of cooking. And that is the chief obstacle, if you don't have someone at the helm who appreciates ingredients and has a passion for cooking great dishes, its not going to happen. Its sad cause we live in the teaneck area and we have nowhere to go for a reasonably priced weeknight dinner. I can cook a way better meal at home for cheaper but I don't get to enjoy a night out at a restaurant. I very easily kosher many of the great recipes I see in Gourmet mag etc.. I was considering starting a kosher food blog with my recipes etc.. to discuss this topic. Nice to see I am not the only one unhappy with the chicken nugget, shawarma, pizza kosher food scene!

                                                              1. re: azna29

                                                                to be honest i would love a decent schwarma. we're in toronto and the options are very limited. but i completely agree with you, we are kosher at home and i am always adapting non-kosher recipes to be kosher. it is not difficult at all.

                                                                1. re: ddelicious

                                                                  ddelisious we think a like - I thought the same thing about the schwarma - luckily in chicago we have a couple of decent spots to choose from

                                                                2. re: azna29

                                                                  Before each Chag, I take out my cuttings from Gourmet/Bon Appetit and Cooking Light and plan away, stop off at the local farm for fresh produce, and begin to cook. There are great ideas out there. Please do the blog and link to it here.