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Kosher-friendly Restaurants

What are some good kosher-friendly restaurants in Manhattan? I'm not looking for full kosher (like Solo, which also doesn't get good reviews).

I'm trying to plan a dinner with some friends who eat kosher. We've previously gone to Sushi Yasuda and we all did the omakase at the sushi bar, with them not getting the stuff they can't eat (uni, clams, other shellfish, etc) while I got some of that good stuff.

I'm probably thinking of some seafood/fish-centric restaurants. Not thinking about Le Bernardin, vegetarian spots, and preferably not a sushi place. I'm looking where they would have 3-4 options for each for apps and entrees. And not just one or two entree options, with "boring" predictable items like just salmon or tuna.

For those who don't know, you can't eat foods like shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp), pork/bacon, non-kosher meats, calamari, and eel, to name a few key proteins.

I'm considering a place like Zengo, which has a lot of food that kosher people can eat.

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Sushi Yasuda
204 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017

Le Bernardin
155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

Zengo
622 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

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  1. What about Middle Eastern or Mediterranean places? I like Taboon, which has a number of kosher-friendly options. And although I haven't been there in years, I used to be very fond of Rectangles (when it was downtown), which is actually kosher. Balaboosta might be a good choice, also.

    http://www.rectanglesrestaurant.com/
    http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...
    http://balaboostanyc.com/

    1. There are a number of kosher or vegetarian Indian restaurants along Lexington Ave in the upper 20s that should work.

      1. great kosher places:
        Le Marais (french)
        the Hummus Place (middle eastern)
        club house cafe (american)
        bhojan (indian)
        the prime grill (steak)
        prime ko (japanese)

        all super delicious

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        Le Marais
        150 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

        3 Replies
        1. re: carub

          I second the recommendations for The Prime Grill (it is a sister restaurant to Solo but do not hold that against them they are more in line with a classic NYC steak house) and Le Marais - I would also add Abigael's and Mikes Bistro to the list - http://www.mikesbistro.com/index.php?... and http://abigaels.com/

          Speaking as someone who keeps Kosher but will eat in non-kosher restaurants like your friends I do enjoy more going to a Kosher a restaurant will I will not have to worry about the menu and can sample anything - just my two cents

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          Le Marais
          150 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

          Prime Grill
          60 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017

          1. re: weinstein5

            I used to like Le Marais, but on my last visit a few months ago, I found their meat really overly salty and overall, just OK. However, I do like Mike's, especially the duck.

            1. re: Pan

              I used to go to Le Marais a lot also. Although the last few times I went, the steaks were not cooked properly. But if you're in the mood for some home cooking I would definitely get some of the fresh meat in the butcher case. I've had it several times and it's Excellent.

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              Le Marais
              150 W 46th St, New York, NY 10036

        2. Basically you can go to ANY restaurant that has a few fish options. That's a lot of restaurants. Maybe you could narrow down your request by geography, budget, etc.

          4 Replies
          1. re: gutsofsteel

            Thanks guts. I have no budget nor geography constraints. However, I believe the preferences I laid out in my OP limits the # of restaurants considerably:

            >> I'm looking where they would have 3-4 options for each for apps and entrees. And not just one or two entree options, with "boring" predictable items like just salmon or tuna.

            Also, not full kosher (my friends probably have been to most of them), not full vegetarian, and not sushi.

            1. re: deepfry7

              There are just too many restaurants that have fish and non-meat dishes for people to be helpful without some more guidance from you. Basically you can eat at ANY restaurant with several fish and non-meat dishes.

              1. re: deepfry7

                I'm not sure of your budget (and I usually go to budget friendly places...) but Thai food usually works well for my friends and I. Most places I've gone to will substitute tofu for any meat option, and are pretty cognizant of vegetarian food.

                Mediterranean food is pretty successful as well.

                1. re: brightside16

                  Many Thai places will use a master sauce with every dish that has fish in it that MIGHT include shellfish and hence be forbidden under most interpretations of kashrut (even by those who would forgo supervision).

            2. I've been curious to try VaBene, a kosher (dairy) Italian restaurant on 2nd Ave in the 80s. Would have of course have more than 3 or 4 choices, and would presumably even have rabbinical supervision. Has anyone been there? Any good?

              2 Replies
              1. re: DavyTheFatBoy

                VaBene is fabulous. Full disclosure: I've eaten in Italy and had meals cooked in New York by real Italians, but never in a non-kosher place. Still, I adore Va Bene and am equally fond of Tevere.

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                Tevere
                155 E 84th St, New York, NY 10028

                Va Bene
                1589 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                1. re: DavyTheFatBoy

                  I have to disagree with Adina about Va Bene, but have to admit we didn't have the fish, which might be better. When we arrived and said "2 please," the Maitre D' replied "Do you have a reservation?" in a tone that made me think that we needed one. So, looking around at the empty tables, I said "I didn't know we needed one, we could certainly come back another evening after making one," at which point he said something like "that's not what I meant" in a rather brusque manner and proceeded to show me the reservation list, lecturing me that he had to ask so as to be sure to cross us off if we had one. Does he think it's the first time we've been to a restaurant? If we had a reservation, we would have said so. We almost didn't stay after that, but another guy kind of rushed us to a table and we figured we'd give it a go. We had an eggplant parm appetizer; my wife had fettuccine Alfredo, and I had a mushroom pizza appetizer as a main course. The eggplant was underdone and lukewarm and the pizza had so much salt in the sauce you could barely taste anything else. Even my wife, who puts copious amounts of salt on everything thought it was too salty. What flavor you could discern under the salt was bland and the crust was a bit burnt (i.e. black) in places. The fettuccine is the only reason I'm giving a second star: the sauce was creamy but not very thick, although the noodles themselves were pretty good. Yet there was nothing at all to the dish other than the noodles and the sauce, which was clearly just cream and cheese.
                  Also, the sanitation report in the window said "grade pending," which I'm told means they got a "C" and wanted a chance to clean up and do better. "Kosher" doesn't mean cleaner; it just means that it's supervised so that none of the kashrut laws are broken; it's not the supervisor's job to ensure cleanliness. There are clearly better kosher places in the area.

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                  Va Bene
                  1589 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10028

                2. I'm sorry to hear that you've heard bad things about Solo - it happens to be one of my personal kosher faves in Manhattan

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: brooklynkoshereater

                    I second that. I have had only very good experiences there.

                  2. So basically, no mixing meat and dairy, or pork/shellfish....but they don't need a kosher kitchen, right?

                    Instead of fish...

                    What about pizza? Keste, Motorino, Co.
                    Pasta - would be easy to stick to dairy. Maybe Po, or Falai, or Marea.

                    Northern Spy Company has the roast chicken
                    Artisanal for fondue
                    Dhaba for Indian

                    Miles End Deli or Octavia's Porch for modern spins on Jewish cuisine.

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                    Falai
                    68 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002

                    Marea
                    240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

                    Motorino
                    349 E 12th St, New York, NY 10003

                    Octavia's Porch
                    40 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: sugartoof

                      People who keep (this kind of) kosher will not eat meat or poultry in a non-kosher restaurant, because there's a difference between kosher meat and non-kosher meat. Whereas all fin fish is kosher, so fin fish can be eaten anywhere. (Actually, there are non-kosher fin fishes, but let's not go there today.)

                      1. re: small h

                        Interesting. Also, news to me and a bit puzzling. The idea that all fish, or all vegetables are automatically Kashrut strikes me as full of contradictions - but I don't doubt people are doing that now, and obviously the OP is just looking for places that meet the dietary restrictions.

                        Thanks for clarifying.

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          Life is filled with contradictions. But there is a large category of Jews who will eat kosher fish, dairy dishes, and vegetables no matter who cooks them or how, as long as no meat products or shellfish are involved.

                          1. re: AdinaA

                            not so cut and dry....people who will eat fish from a kitchen that prepares shellfish, pork, an uncertified beef, aren't usually prone to requiring certification for poultry and meat too, they just simply don't mix them.

                            obviously, it's up to the individual and their tradition though....
                            since this isn't the kosher board, we should just focus on answering the OP.

                            i just didn't have enough to go on from the OP's posts.

                            1. re: sugartoof

                              You don't have it quite right. People who keep kosher can eat fish and meat and/or poultry at the same meal since fish is not dairy. It's considered "pareve." For example, Jewish holiday meals often start with gefilte fish followed by roast chicken or pot roast. It's dairy that cannot be mixed with meat and poultry, but it can be with fish.

                              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                              1. re: RGR

                                "It's dairy that cannot be mixed with meat and poultry, but it can be with fish."

                                Not entirely correct.. It depends on who your Rabbi is, and how you observe. Some avoid mixing dairy w/ fish. Plus, more importantly, Kashrut laws aren't based on food group alone.

                                1. re: sugartoof

                                  No dairy with fish? That's a new one on me, and I grew up with "old school" observant grandparents.

                                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                                  1. re: RGR

                                    The dairy+fish discussion goes back to the Talmud.

                                    Check the Kosher board for a hint at how idiosyncratic the obscure variables and politics of dietary observances can get.

                        2. re: small h

                          Not off of non-kosher plates or cooked in non-kosher pans.

                          1. re: gutsofsteel

                            This discussion is getting a little silly. The old gag, two Jews, three opinions applies. There are Jews who don't eat fish off kosher dishes used for kosher meat. Jews who eat chicken and beef not slaughtered according to the kosher law, but who doo not eat bacon or ham. Jews who keep kosher homes but eat lobster out. And Jews who.... the variations are infinite. But you get the idea. The rule is that the variations are infinite. The laws themselves are very specific, and no one is claiming that, for example, a chicken not killed according to Jewish law is kosher, only that some Jews eat them.

                            Deepfry7 wants a great meal with friends who only eat kosher meat, but who eat kosher varieties of fish and dairy and vegetables in any restaurant. I hope they have a wonderful time.

                            1. re: AdinaA

                              "but who eat kosher varieties of fish and dairy and vegetables in any restaurant."

                              I don't think that's what the OP is asking for either, and this is where the confusion stems from. Fish, dairy, vegetables...these things aren't always by default kosher "in any restaurant".

                              Agree with the rest of your post, and that we're off topic. The OP probably got some good suggestions, I hope.

                              1. re: AdinaA

                                Thanks a bunch, AdinaA. Yea, I didn't want this to get into a super complicated thread. My friends will eat kosher fish at restaurants. And it's no "fun" eating at one of those popular full-Kosher restaurants since they've been to most of them. Although I learned from this thread that there's more than just Solo and Prime Grill to go to in this borough. :)

                                If you check out Zengo's menu, you'll see it's highly kosher friendly, at least comparably to 80% of the restaurants out there. That's what I was going for (I've been to Zengo - my friends haven't). I could imagine it's not fun going to a restaurant with your non-kosher friends and stuck with just the vegetarian options and maybe a unimaginative salmon or pasta dish.

                                I appreciate all the helpful and informative posts.

                                -----
                                Prime Grill
                                60 E 49th St, New York, NY 10017

                                Zengo
                                622 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                              2. re: gutsofsteel

                                That is not my experience. I have a lot of relatives and friends who keep (let's call it) kosherkosher at home, but who will eat at non-kosher restaurants, off plates that have had non-kosher food on them, as long as what they eat isn't non-kosher. The people I know who keep kosherkosher at home *and* elsewhere wouldn't eat at a non-kosher restaurant at all. They're the ones at weddings eating out of tupperware, with plastic utensils.

                                I've also never heard of or known anyone who keeps kosher and treats fish as anything but pareve. But I'm certainly willing to consider that such people exist.

                          2. Pylos, East Village
                            Lure Fish Bar, Soho

                            -----
                            Lure Fishbar
                            142 Mercer St, New York, NY 10012

                            Pylos
                            128 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

                            1. What about Ozu? Very tasty and healthy Japanese style but not focused on sushi. Vegetarian and fish dishes. Certified by United Kosher Supervision of Monsey. Sorry, just realized you didn't want a place that was actually certified (i.e. "all kosher"), but I leave up the suggestion just in case.

                              -----
                              Ozu
                              566 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024