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Dec 15, 2009 06:32 AM

eli from top chef to cook at solo

Kirshtein has moved on from his post with intentions to take on the Big Apple. While in NYC, Kirshtein plans to work as a “guest chef” at Solo under Hok Chin

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    1. Chef Eli will be working as executive chef. chef hok hasnt worked at solo in 3 years.

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. As a long-time Top Chef fan (loved Harold!) I'm super excited to see what Eli can do with kosher! Maybe the talented Voltagio brothers are next!

          19 Replies
          1. re: brooklynkoshereater

            from solo restaurant Chef Eli Kirshtein a Top Chef Finalist will be a guest chef at Solo beginning January 17th, where he will be preparing a tasting menu utilizing the techniques of molecular gastronomy.

            1. re: koshergourmetmart

              Has there ever been a molecular gastronomy focused (or even inspired) kosher menu anywhere? While I'm definitely interested, I'm skeptical that there's a kosher market for it, because the average kosher consumer is lamentably unadventurous. 'Utilizing the techniques of molecular gastronomy' leaves them some wiggle room, so we'll see whether they mean 'dot some lavender air on the plate as a garnish' or something more like Alinea's 'Nicoise olive, saffron, dried cherry, olive oil' (totally do-able kosher!) from here:

              1. re: GilaB

                I called to make reservations already - I'm psyched to see what he can do with the challenges cooking Kosher offers. From what I understand he's going to be doing a special tasting menu that will be offered in addition to the regular Solo menu (for those lamentably unadventurous folks out there). They wouldn't tell me anything specific about his menu (truth is, I'd rather be surprised) but I'm betting on the sous-vide technique making an appearance!

                1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                  I'm so curious about the menu! Please let us all know how it goes..

                  1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                    When does this menu start? The website doesn't say.

                  2. re: GilaB

                    Osmose in France with all the foie gras foam and other items that look like they are from an alien planet...
                    (after you enter the website, click on univers and then food to see the pics)

                  3. re: koshergourmetmart

                    For those of us who aren't familiar with "Top Chef", can you please give a general explanation of the "molecular gastronomy" technique to which you're referring?

                    Thanks very much!

                    1. re: Bzdhkap

                      here's what wikipedia says about it

                      on top chef, when they do molecular gastronomy, it's kind of using modern techniques to manipulate food. someone did a parsnip foam, and there was an 'olive' that was really a liquid inside a shell that looked like an olive. cooking sous-vide is sealing say a piece of meat in a vaccum bag and cooking it in a bath of water at a specific temperature.

                      the whole idea seems very interesting.. but i don't know if i would want to eat a whole menu of foods cooked in that manner.

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        This is really exciting! When someone finds out when this officially starts, can you update us all?

                        1. re: foodie4life

                          Dear Patrons and Friends;

                          Chef Eli Kirshtein of Top Chef will be a guest chef at Solo, sister restaurant to New York City’s acclaimed Prime Grill Steakhouse, where he will be preparing a tasting menu utilizing the techniques of molecular gastronomy. His month long stint will begin Sunday, January 17th.

                          Solo 212.833.7800

                          Join Solo in conjunction with the Kosher Wine Society for a truly spectacular event. On Saturday night, January 23rd, meet Top Chef Alum, Eli Kirshtein for an exclusive culinary adventure of exotic food and wine.

                          Tickets for this event are limited, so please purchase your tickets online at through The Kosher Wine Society’s website:

                          1. re: dutchky

                            email from kosherwinesociety
                            note to remind you that on January 23rd 2010 the Kosher Wine Society is pairing up with Top Chef's Eli Kirshtein at Solo restaurant to create an exclusive Food & Wine Adventure.

                            Our walk-around setting will provide a unique opportunity to sample Chef Eli's offering, and to taste each one of our hand-picked wines. The price of admission includes all food and wine, tax and tip.

                            Chef Kirshtein appeared on Bravo TV's Emmy award-nominated show "Top Chef" in 2009, competing superbly among high-caliber chefs. With his strong background in both classical and experimental cuisines, Chef Eli has rapidly become one of the prominent young chefs in the local landscape. As guest chef at Solo, sister restaurant to New York City's famous Prime Grill, he will prepare an exclusive culinary adventure utilizing the techniques of Molecular Gastronomy, also known as New Cuisine and "Avant-Garde Cuisine." The Kosher Wine Society will contribute a truly special selection of wines to provide the perfect accompaniment to Chef Eli's exciting menu.

                            Looking forward to seeing you there.

                            1. re: koshergourmetmart

                              Does anyone know more about this? I asked both the restaurant and kws and they were very vague about it. I asked if we could show up hungry and neither answered that q. 70$ is a lot if it won't be a meal. I know it is not a sit-down event, but will be fed? Does tasting really mean just a sampling> Either way, do post reviews of the experience if you go...

                              1. re: peacepug

                                Generally, a tasting menu means a menu determined by the chef (ie you don't order particular dishes) of many smaller courses (eg 5, 7, 9, etc. - they all seem to be odd numbers) rather than, say, an appetizer/main/dessert combo. This way, you get many tastes of different foods rather than lots of a few. In my limited experience, they add up to plenty of food. That said, from what I've read about molecular gastronomy, it's more about the experience, amazing flavors, and making you think about familiar things in a new way, rather than purely being about making you full, so I'm not sure how this menu would be.

                                I, too, would love to read a review.

                                1. re: GilaB

                                  I went to Solo on Monday night, eager to sample Chef Eli's cooking. Unfortunately, in order to sample Chef Eli's creation, you had to agree to an entire 3 or 5 course tasting menu. You could not just order a dish prepared by him - rather, you had to agree to go with the entire tasting menu. In addition, I was also informed (though I found this somewhat incredulous) that all parties at the table had to agree to go with the tasting menu, in order for anyone at the table to try it.

                                  Although my dining companion and I saw one or two dishes on the tasting menu that we would like to have tried, the 3/5 choices we would have been forced to go with did not appeal to us, so we instead ordered off of Solo's regular menu (which, in all fairness, was quite good). I found it quite bizarre that Solo would go to the trouble of hiring Chef Eli, but not allowing diners to more readily sample his cooking.

                                  I managed to obtain a copy of the current tasting menu being offered, so will post it here for review/consideration:


                                  * 3 Course $45 (items on the 3 course tasting menu are indicated by a star)
                                  5 Course $65

                                  *Persimmon - Cocoa Nibs/Truffle/Yuzu/Marcona Almond

                                  Beef Tartare - Egg Yolk/Thai Peppercorn/Gribeche

                                  Amber Jack - Tobiko Gremolata/Turnips

                                  *Duck Breast - Aromatic Emulsion/ "Chicharrones"/Sunchokes/Bitter Green

                                  *Root Beer Tart - Cashew/Tarragon

                                  1. re: bigredesq

                                    Those requirements are pretty standard for a tasting menu - everybody at the table needs to order it (it throws off the pacing of the meal, otherwise), and that it gets ordered as a package rather than a la carte. The idea is that you're placing yourself in the hands of the chef, who in turn tries for a virtuoso display of more adventurous cooking. (Of course, it doesn't always work out that way.)

                                    The ingredient/ingredient/ingredient way of giving over the menu, without further explanation, is very Alinea (major center of molecular gastronomy, in Chicago). I think there, everything is tasting menus, and you get the menu listing the dishes of the evening _after_ you've eaten.

                                    Thanks for the report!

                                    1. re: bigredesq

                                      And not to criticize your tastes, beacuse they are your tastes, after all, but the point of the tasting menu is to explore things beyond your usual comfort zone. For Kosher dining it's extra-special in that most chefs don't want to bother with stretching someone's boundaries, so it's nice to have an "outsider" find a way to reinvent his tastes/visions to the constraints of Kashruth.

                                      1. re: bigredesq

                                        We went last night and not ONE of the items on the tasting menu you posted was on the menu we were offered. I was able to order off Chef Eli's menu a la carte, and my family ordered off both Chef Eli's and the regular menu, mixing and matching to their liking. If we wanted the tasting menu, it would have had to encompass the whole table.
                                        My full report, plus pics, will be sent to the ladies at the alltopchef blog...not totally overwhelmed with the food, but I left satisfied. The chef, unfortunately (even tho' he was told I was blogging), was busy "entertaining" the executive chef from Prime Grill...

                                        1. re: DebbyT

                                          Please link to your full report when alltopchef publishes it!

                                        2. re: bigredesq

                                          and by the way...I would've preferred the menu bigredesq posted!