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PESACH SEDERS / 2011 @ JAR & SPAGO

  • j
  • Jet Apr 20, 2011 09:00 PM
  • 1

After many wonderful big family Seders led by my aging Bay Area parents, it was time to try something new & creative. Enter the Foodie, Now-Angeleno Daughter. After a large amount of calling, I determined that Cafe' Angeli Osteria, Sue Feniger's Street, Spago, Jar, & a Glatt Kosher French Restaurant all had a Pesach Meal. Angeli offered a meal without the Seder, & Sue Feniger's Street spoke of a "minimal" seder & was late with complete details. We once tried the Kosher French Restaurant & were quite dissappointed with the quality & authenticity of the food. Our first night Seder was at JAR. the restaurant was filled to the brim, but there was little opportunity to socialize because of the tight seating. Canapes were uneventful Chopped Liver & a delicious Pea Puree served on home-made Matzah. The Matzah was very pleasent...tastier than store-bought, but not seasoned much. The Canape of home-cured Salmon on a raft of coarsely-grated potato with sour cream & chive was outstanding and addictive!. The chicken soup had Lemon Grass infused, but it was still bland. The next course was an asparagus & radish composed salad in a vinegarette which was just okay. The main course brought a choice of Jar's Signature Pot Roast or Alaskan Halibut in a Fava & Scallion Cream Sauce with Hoseradish Mashed Potatoes. I tried both, & both were excellent. I am not a big red meat eater, but I was over the moon with the most scrumptious Pot Roast I had ever eaten!!Dessert included Chocolate & Lemon Macaron which were nothing special, an eggy-tasting Lemon Cheesecake which I didn't care for, & a dessert called "Chocolate Emminance which was nothing special. There was a very small amount of audience participation in a relatively short service, & a Black Soloist from a local church choir sang three beautiful Gospel-Style Songs. The Haroset was quite traditional, of the chunkey sort, & basically good-tasting. Verdict: My dad complained (to me) about the lack of singing even a few of the traditional melodies after the meal (or before). I wouldn't be interested in attending another Seder there as it is now, but I am anxious to go back to try more of Suzanne Tracht's dishes & that fabulous Pot Roast again. For our 2nd Seder, we went to Spagos in Beverly Hills. Immediately we were taken by the artistic & tasteful ambience of the interior. Proprieters Barbara Lazaroff & Wolfgang Puck warmly greeted both new & old guests as people arrived. As Jar, some proceeds went to "Mazon", a Jewish Response to Hunger". A nice touch were songs performed by a local children's choir, & the introduction of celebrity attendants' Melissa Manchester, Carol Conner, & Lainey Kazan. There were no Hors d'Ouvres. The meal began with a simple but tasty & traditional Chicken Soup with Matzah Balls. Next came a small parcel of Gefilte Fish which seemed to have been steamed in a cabbage leaf. It was mild and pleasant tasting. The entree' consisted of a wedge of tender salmon toppped with a vegetable garnish & a wedge of Pot Roast whith a deep Wine Demi-Glace'. Both were quite tasty. The Haroset had a trace of Rose Water & was of the mushier variety texture-wise. I would have preferred a chunkier mixture with a bit of Tangerine Zest, but the taste was lovely. The hard-boiled eggs were uneventful. I could have seen Spagos doing something more unique with the eggs like "Huevos Haminados" from my Sephardic Tradition.The Matzah at Spago was suprizingly delicious. I was surprized as I never expected to actually LOVE Matzah. I asked Wolfgang, & he reponded that shallots & garlic were part of his Matzahs.....Absolutely scrumptious!! The dessert tray included chocolate desserts, macaroons & macaron. The one standout on the dessert plate for me was a soft chocolate pudding-like square that seemed to taste like Malted Milk Balls. Macaroons & Matzot were given natch to departing guests. We enjoyed chatting with new aquaintences at our large table.My family & I were enchanted with the evening & would most definitely come back! -JET

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Spago
176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Jar Restaurant
8225 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048

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  1. I forgot to mention AKASHA in my original post! I heard that they & now a few others are mentioned for Seders in a related post. WE will need a restaurant seder with at least a few of the traditional songs & prayers sung, and for me, a delicious gourmet take on Passover Food! This will add to a repeat seder at Spago. Can anyone report about the seder menu at any of these other places? Also, do any of these also have at least a minimal amount of the ritual song & liturgy included? -JET

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    Spago
    176 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210