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Oct 18, 2010 11:51 AM

Manhattan, NY - I need a vegetarian AND kosher place to take an important business client

It needs to be suitable for a business lunch as opposed to really great casual place.
And to make it more challenging -- ideally it should be in reasonable distance to Tribeca but I'm not holding fast to that if it is nice venue and menu...

I have not failed my boss with his client lunches yet, but the bar is a bit too high for me alone on this one and I am coming up blank!!

Thanks for any suggestions.

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  1. I went to Wild Ginger with coworkers. It's a vegetarian, kosher, pan-asian menu. They all liked the food. It's in Soho so distance should be fine. The place feels like it belongs in soho, so I'd call it more trendy than business formal, but it's not dirty. It's probably your best Kosher option near Tribeca.

    Note, the hashgacha is not universally acceptable. If it is you or your boss that requires kosher then you can decide if its acceptable for you. If the kosher need comes from your client, then you may be better off picking a place with a safer hashgacha that won't risk creating an awkward situation.

    8 Replies
    1. re: avitrek

      Buddha Bodai would be another good option with similar hashgacha issues.

      1. re: avitrek

        Wild Ginger is a good option. Blossom is a bit more upscale but also a bit father away. Same hashgacha (supervision) issue.

        1. re: cheesecake17

          Is the supervision issue the fact that the food they use isn't kosher?

          If someone could contact me @cherylp3 on twitter - I just want to understand.

          1. re: cherylp3

            No, it's whether people trust the supervision. Both restaurants are certified by private people rather than a well-known agency; therefore to decide whether to trust the certification one must find something out about whoever's giving it, and decide whether to trust him. One could ask around and discover their reputations, but since most people won't know them they won't have first-hand information; some will play it safe and avoid them, others will try to find out more. Based on conversations I've personally had with both certifiers, I will eat at Wild Ginger but not at Buddha Bodai; it comes down to the fact that when the person certifying WG tells me it's kosher I believe him, but when the BB certifier tells me it's kosher I'm not so sure. Others may reach different conclusions. The advantage of a large agency is that it will have an established reputation, so one needn't do any personal digging, but can just rely on what others say. It's much like buying any product from a well-known brand or from a tiny company that you've never heard of, and is perhaps in China; the small label product may be wonderful, but you don't know.

            1. re: cherylp3

              In Blossom's case, they do serve nonkosher wine (I feel like I can post that in a forum, since it's easy for anyone to see).

              1. re: masteraleph

                they also cook with the non-kosher wine, that is what they told me when i went there...

                1. re: peanutgallery7

                  peanutgallery7, please recheck your facts. They do NOT cook with non-kosher wine. I have spoken with them, and spoken with the supervising agency. If they cooked with non-kosher wine, the food would not be kosher according to orthodox standards, and the restaurant is certified buy an orthodox hechsher.

              2. re: cherylp3

                The food is kosher in both restaurants. Blossom does serve non-kosher wine (mentioned below) and I believe it's mentioned on their menu.

                Some people just don't trust the person providing the supervision... like zsero said below. It's a touchy subject..

          2. Does the entire restaurant need to be vegetarian? Kosher dairy places generally serve some fish dishes, but most of the menu is usually vegetarian.

            5 Replies
            1. re: GilaB

              Thank you for your suggestions, they are a great help and I will ask the client his opinions on them, better safe than sorry I am learning on this delicate and important issue.

              1. re: Bill Strzempek

                And to add there are also some very good meat restaurants that do a fine job with seafood - like Prime Grill or Abigaels

                1. re: weinstein5

                  Abigaels has vegetarian options on their menu and sushi as well.

                  Prime Grill has fish and a sushi menu. From where you're coming from, it may be tough to get to Prime Grill.

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    The majority of vegetarians I know (myself included) do NOT eat fish. In the kosher world there are more than not but it has caused many awkward situations when people assume vegetarian includes fish.

                    I've ended up at Abigael's twice (celebrations for carnivores) and their non-fish vegetarian options were boring at best considering what they charge, the dishes should taste better than what I've had.

              2. re: GilaB

                This is not my expertise, but I believe that the major agencies will not certify restaurants that are open on the Sabbath, no matter what the character of the food. Many of the Curry Hill and other Vegetarian restaurants who serve food that could be certified as Kosher are open on Saturday, so they need to be certified by individual rabbis who only concern themselves with the food (and dishes, etc.), but not the operation of the restaurant. Therefore, you need to find out, as others have suggested, how strict supervision you client requires.

              3. The original comment has been removed
                1. Have you looked at Shamash yet? NY isn't kept as up to date as many other places, but it would give you some choices.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: SoCal Mother

                    Koshertopia is a much better resource for NYC.

                    1. re: avitrek

                      It's a shame that NY isn't kept up to date on Shamash. The rest of the USA uses Shamash almost exclusively. I have never heard of Koshertopia but Shamash has been around for many MANY years. (Shamash is weak outside of the English speaking world.)

                      I don't work for Shamash but I do keep my area's listings up to date for them.

                      1. re: SoCal Mother

                        SoCal - I am with you. I find Shamash to be very useful as I travel quite extensively for work and true it at times is not up to date occasionally - maybe not for current but does give me a starting point as what to look for and where to look - and if I find things need to be changed I suggest them -

                        Koshertopia as I recall is the new name for the old site KosherNY -

                        And like you I do not work for Shamash but I do keep my area (Chicago) up to date as well as any locale that I visit -

                  2. here's a list I referred to last year - not sure if you can see this;
                    kosher & veggie is tricky because as others have said here,
                    the kosher certification is often more for marketing purposes,
                    than to satisfy the kashrut needs of their customers.
                    a place could be perfectly kosher, but then some unsupervised chef
                    gets a deal on non kosher wine he uses for cooking, and suddenly poof;
                    the veggie customers are still happy, while the kosher ones are screwed.