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I'm an Australian Food Blogger (http://www.brisbanefoodadventures.blo...) visiting NYC in the first week of October 2011 and I'm wanting to try authentic Jewish food as there is none in Australia. Where should I go? I'll be staying with friends in the Meatpacking District.

What other kinds of food are distinctive to NYC? Where should a food tourist got to feast in the big city?

Cheers
Brisbane Food Adventures

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  1. There is "Jewish food" and "kosher food" and the twain no longer meets, alas. Traditional Eastern European dishes favored by Jewish families over the centuries of the diaspora are not often served in restaurants. Sabbath foods, like cholent, can be found in Gottlieb's in Brooklyn, and a few other outposts. Deli food--pastrami, corned beef, brisket & tongue, are in good supply in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx---2nd Avenue Deli may be most authentic and is kosher, so you won't be led astray from your theme by a menu that touts Corned Beef and Swiss Cheese (gag!). Non-Kosher Delis like Katz' are also very good, but not strictly "Jewish" in that they have dishes and combinations that don't really fit the mold. Katz' pastrami is sublime.

    If you want the ultimate non-kosher but indisputably Jewish-themed experience, have dinner at Sammy's Roumanian Steakhouse, on the Lower East Side. It's like a bar mitzvah if you dropped acid before attending. You can have garlic sausage, Roumanian steak, chopped liver, etc. Not kosher, mind you, but it can be a blast. Bring tums.

    Ben's Deli in Manhatan is also good. Mill Basin Deli in Brooklyn. Fine & Shapiro on the Upper West Side.

    Now, since we're pluralistic here at Chowhound, I have to mention that Lattanzi, an Italian restaurant on Restaurant Row, swtiches to a non-kosher but delicious Roman Jewish menu at a later hour, and you might want to try that out. Azuri Cafe on 51st makes great Israeli specialties. And there is a Bukharan Jewish restaurantm, Taam, in the diamond district that gets good nods.

    So you have Sephardic, Jewish-American, Roumanian/East European, and I could go on and on, but just go and enjoy. Get a matzoh ball soup at 2nd Avenue Deli. Stop at Yonah Shimmel's for a knish. Get a bialy at Kossar's. And finish off with dinner at Sammy's. But only after you have lox and eggs and onions at Barney Greengrass, for breakfast. Trust me. Have it. You'll never go back.

    -----
    Barney Greengrass
    541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

    Yonah Schimmel's Knishes
    137 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

    Kossar's Bialys
    367 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

    Taam-Tov
    41 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

    Ben's Kosher Delicatessen
    209 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018

    Fine and Schapiro
    138 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023

    Second Avenue Deli
    162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

    Azuri Cafe
    465 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019

    Sammy's Roumanian
    157 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

    Lattanzi
    361 West 46th Street, New York, NY 10036

    3 Replies
    1. re: rruben1

      If you want good Sephardic food - you have to leave Manhattan and go to Brooklyn or Queens.

      The Bukharan restaurant on 47th St is called Taam Tov

      Don't miss Barney Greengrass. Also the 2nd Avenue Deli and Sarge's are both much better than Ben's or Fine & Shapiro.

      Definitely Kossar's. I think the knishes at Katz's are superior to those at Yonah Schimmel's.

      Post on the outer boroughs board.

      -----
      Barney Greengrass
      541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

      Sarge's Delicatessen
      548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

      1. re: rruben1

        Russ and Daughters appetizing store should not be missed on this quest. Also, go get a good bagel. They are as Jewish as the Marx brothers. My favorite in the city come from Absolute Bagels.

        Breakfast at Barney Greengrass is a great idea, as is a pastrami sandwich at Katz's

        -----
        Barney Greengrass
        541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

        Absolute Bagels
        2788 Broadway, New York, NY 10025

        1. re: rruben1

          THANK YOU SO MUCH! I will definitely pop into a few of these during my week long stay!

        2. In addition to the restaurants mentioned above, you may give Yemenite Jewish cuisine a try at Hoomoos Asli. The mellawach sandwich is quite hearty and a real treat with zhug.

          For Jewish appetizing, I am a huge fan of Barney Greengrass (both the lox and nova), but I probably diverge from good taste by getting my whitefish salad at Fairway. When it comes to deli sandwiches, it's a feat best done with company since these sandwiches are huge. My Jewish friends take me to Sarge's, but the consensus on the boards seems to be you'd best head to Katz's.

          -----
          Barney Greengrass
          541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

          Fairway Market
          2127 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

          Hoomoos Asli
          100 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012

          1. May I just make the point that your CH handle, "brisfood," is really a whole category of Jewish cuisine in itself! :-) (look it up...)

            6 Replies
            1. re: travelmad478

              Ha! I saw the handle and assumed it was a Jewish reference and then saw the website's name...Brisbane. Funny!

              1. re: HungryRubia

                classic! I had no idea
                It seems Barney Greengrass is coming up a lot
                Am dying to try lox

                -----
                Barney Greengrass
                541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                1. re: brisfood

                  Make sure you try all the different types!
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3727...

                  1. re: brisfood

                    Barney Greengrass is a NYC classic, be sure to try the sturgeon.

                    If you're around the theater district - consider Cafe Edison, the coffee shop in the Edison Hotel. Soups are terrific - matzoh ball, cabbage, mushroom barley, and borscht. Blintzes, matzoh brie and kasha varniskes are very good. Stick to the East European/Jewish specialities, otherwise the food is coffee shop mediocre. It is a haunt of theater professionals (although fills with hotel guests/tourists especially around breakfast), nicknamed the "Polish Tea Room", memorialized as the location for Neil Simon's "45 Seconds from Broadway".

                    -----
                    Barney Greengrass
                    541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                    Cafe Edison
                    228 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                    1. re: brisfood

                      Lox is salty. Nova isn't. I had the lox, eggs & onions at Barney Greengrass today. It's worth the salt. The chopped liver's good too, but yup, try the sturgeon and whitefish. Warning: it's expensive. If you're on the Upper East Side, hit up Sable's for smoked fish and Glasers for b&w cookies.

                      -----
                      Barney Greengrass
                      541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                      Sable's Smoked Fish
                      1489 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10021

                      Glaser Bake Shop
                      1670 1st Ave, New York, NY 10128

                      1. re: GoodGravy

                        I LOVE Sables! Their smoked fish and lobster salad are just so beyond anything we can get in Philly. We take a cooler in the car and fill it up with goodies from Sables.

                2. In regards to your 2nd paragraph, another Aussie visitor just posted this thread regarding items like steak, pizza, bagels, etc:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7814...

                  These may also help.

                  Don't leave NY without eating:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/610739

                  Best breakfast and brunch:
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/707772

                  Please help me eat during a month in new york
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/716238

                  French person coming to NYC for the first time - I made a list for him
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/780317

                  My thoughts on Pizza in NYC
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6928...

                  Chowhound member RGR's famous self-guided Lower East Side Gustatory Tour, which begins at Katz's (for pastrami, of course) and includes Russ & Daughters, the Doughnut Plant, and several other tasty stops.

                  LES Gustatory Tour: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/493333

                  Note two changes: Guss's Pickles has closed, so substitute The Pickle Guys, on Essex just off Grand. And the correct address for Economy Candy is 108, not 145.

                  -----
                  Russ & Daughters
                  179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                  Pickle Guys
                  49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                  Doughnut Plant
                  379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                  Economy Candy
                  108 Rivington St, New York, NY 10002

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kathryn

                    That is fabulous thanks so much

                    1. re: brisfood

                      Here's a followup from that same Aussie visitor...
                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/783026

                  2. Not really Jewish Food, per se, but Ukrainian East Village Restaurant comes pretty close to the Eastern European Jewish food of my childhood. I love the boiled beef, kasha, and vareniki...I won't rant on Sammy' Roumanian except to say do your research before going, and if you do go bring loads of money. The place just embarrasses me.

                    -----
                    Ukrainian East Village Restaurant
                    140 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                    1. If you go to Russ and Daughters and Katz's (and you should!), stop by The Pickle Guy, too.

                      -----
                      Katz's Delicatessen
                      205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                      Pickle Guys
                      49 Essex St, New York, NY 10002

                      1. For a different take, Gazala Place on 8th Avenue in the theatre district....

                        -----
                        Gazala Place
                        709 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: BillyBob

                          Gazale's is Druze, not Jewish.

                        2. Zabars is probably worth a stop if you are going to Barney Greengrass -- they have good knishes in a variety of flavors (in the back by the chickens), and a lot of people like the rugelach. And smoked fish/appetizing to go.

                          Would skip Ben's unless Kosher is on your agenda. Katz's is worth the attention it gets for the pastrami. Have heard good things about the matzoh ball soup at Second Ave. Deli. Would also say that you may want to check the Boroughs board for Mile End -- it is actually Montreal style Jewish food, not NY style, but they have some interesting stuff.

                          -----
                          Zabar's
                          2245 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: JMJD

                            Seconding Mile End - not just for the smoked meat which is really good but also their other entrees all of which are pretty much straight up takes on traditional jewish food (from eastern europe via montreal) their knishes are not like any others ive seen but everything else is pretty traditionally jewish (ok, the poutine isnt but its still really good)

                            1. re: JMJD

                              The chicken matzoh ball soup at Second Ave. Deli is, indeed, excellent. The round potato knish is delish, and the knoblewurst is superb!

                              Second Ave. Deli photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

                              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                            2. Many of the old NY institutions are fun experiences, and worth a pop in for ambience, but of all the suggestions mentioned, Mile End in Brooklyn, and Ukranian National Home would give you a well rounded Ashkenazic style sampling, with solid food. Add Russ and Daughters, and you're set.

                              1. If you're interested in Kosher, but not necessarily Jewish, food, try Prime KO on the Upper West Side. Kosher Japanese - who'da thunk?

                                -----
                                Prime Ko
                                217 W 85th St, New York, NY 10024

                                1. For something both kosher, Jewish and very different from what you'll find in Manhattan, come to Queens and check out the Uzbek/Bukharian restaurants in Rego Park:

                                  http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/18/din...

                                  I have only been to Cheburechnaya but I can vouch for the food there - the chebureks and kebabs are amazing. Also, you can eat like a king for practically nothing. If you do a search on the Outer Boroughs board you'll find plenty of info about other options there.

                                  1. OK...this is a link to a list of Jewish (kosher) restaurants in Manhattan. The list, published by Kehilath Jeshurun, covers all types of cuisines, broken into dairy and meat restaurants...and there is a listing of kosher bakeries as well. Please make special note of the listing for Taam Tov (which translates as 'Good Taste') in Midtown in the Diamond District. They specialize in Central Asian food from Bukhara and Uzbekistan. Hope this list helps.

                                    http://www.ckj.org/docs/KosherRestaur...

                                    http://nymag.com/listings/restaurant/...

                                    -----
                                    Taam-Tov
                                    41 W 47th St, New York, NY 10036

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ellkay

                                      Useful list for someone looking for a kosher meal, and I'm sure someone will take advantage of it getting posted, but the OP is specifically looking for foods identified as ethnically and culturally Jewish in style. A kosher certification list doesn't really cover that question...though like I said, maybe someone will be happy to find the kosher Dunkin Donuts.

                                    2. Just to reinforce the wonderful posts on this thread.
                                      Sammy's Roumanian-Garlic steak, egg cream, gribenes
                                      Barney Greengrass-Stugeon, lox and other fishes
                                      Katz's-Pastrami, pickles, sour tomatoes
                                      Sarge's-spiced beef, cole slaw ( Not Jewish but awesome ), blintzes, kugel
                                      Russ and Daughters-fishes and Ben's cream cheese

                                      -----
                                      Barney Greengrass
                                      541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                                      Russ & Daughters
                                      179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                                      Katz's Delicatessen
                                      205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                                      Sarge's Delicatessen
                                      548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                      Sammy's Roumanian
                                      157 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

                                      1. Another vote for Barney Greengrass and Russ & Daughters.
                                        And I would strongly advise a trip to Kossar's on Grand Street for bialies. I've often gone to Kossar's with relatives from Australia or Italy, and said "My family is visiting all the way from Australia, do you have any hot bialies so we can taste the straight from the oven?" Bialies should be eaten warm! If you do go, check out the Donut Plant nearby (even though it's not Jewish). You can also combine it with a trip to the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side.

                                        -----
                                        Barney Greengrass
                                        541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                                        Russ & Daughters
                                        179 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                                        Kossar's Bialys
                                        367 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                                        Doughnut Plant
                                        379 Grand St, New York, NY 10002

                                        1. Some ongoing discussion about the various regional traditions of Jewish food has been split over to the General Topics board. You can find it here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7964...

                                          1. When you are all done with the traditional side of NY's kosher scene, check out some of NY's more innovative good eats....in this chef's opinion the most impressive cuisine is being crafted at

                                            Mike's Bistro on the UWS
                                            www.mikesbistro.com

                                            Pardes in Brooklyn
                                            http://www.pardesrestaurant.com/

                                            Les Merais near Times Square
                                            www.lemarais.net

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

                                            Mike's Bistro
                                            228 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: gotcholent

                                              really intriguing, and Interesting list for kosher eaters...but unfortunately not jewish food, per op's request.

                                              1. re: sugartoof

                                                All this list is missing is places for Chinese on Sunday night. ( Old Jewish tradition).

                                            2. If you want real jewish food go to a jewish area Bourogh park in brooklyn tons of food places to sit stay eat or go go to 14th ave in the 50s take the D train google Bourogh park find oput about the area..., tons of shopping dont go on a friday or saturday everythingsclosed for sabbath,,,you know go to the source, you wouldnt go to a shoe store to buy a couch ...

                                              1. Great recommendations by rruben1, but I would make 1 change. Ben's stinks - don't bother. Replace that with Mendy's.

                                                Sammy's Roumanian is amazing as is the breakfast at Barney Greengrass.

                                                Yes, "jewish" and "kosher" are not the same things here in NY. You also have to separate Ashkenazi cuisine from Sephardic.

                                                -----
                                                Barney Greengrass
                                                541 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10024

                                                Ben's Kosher Delicatessen
                                                209 W 38th St, New York, NY 10018

                                                Sammy's Roumanian
                                                157 Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002

                                                Mendy's
                                                61 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016

                                                14 Replies
                                                1. re: danany

                                                  Anyone who is even considering Sammy's should do some research on this board. It is an embarrassment and a huge rip-off.

                                                  1. re: City Kid

                                                    Sammy's definitely has their fans though, even on this board.

                                                    1. re: uwsister

                                                      yeah, pharmacists who sell pepto bismol and cardiologists.

                                                      Sammy's is dinner at my grandmother's on drugs. And FWIW, at my grandmother's they never served egg creams with meat.

                                                      1. re: dyrewolf

                                                        Time for a Sammy's war!

                                                        I like the chopped liver there (superlative).

                                                        La la la.

                                                        1. re: gutsofsteel

                                                          Funny, I have read a number of your posts over the years and you apparently apply different standards to steaks and sushi....

                                                          I have no opinion on the chopped liver there, I don't really recall it. I do recall the steaks were not too good, the dishes dirty, the vodka amply supplied and in a block of ice and needed to cushion the blow of the bill when it came.

                                                          I don't come from the old old days, but I am old enough to have waitered at the Concord Hotel in the late 70's, early 80's... to have had grandparents from the Old Country who landed on Orchard St and to know that the scene at Sammy's is not where I would send someone for Jewish food (forgetting the Ashkenazi Oriental thing)

                                                          1. re: dyrewolf

                                                            Yeah yeah, of course the steak isn't Luger, ya know? But it's not BAD, and everybody knows that people go to Sammy's for reasons other than and in addition to the food.

                                                            It's fun sometimes, it's pure kitsch and shmaltz, it is what it is. I appreciate that it is what it is. I go there maybe....once every 3-5 years, mostly with foreigners (who love it), and it works. If I want great food that ain't it.

                                                            If I want chicken fat with a side of shmaltz...I'm glad Sammys is still around.

                                                            L'chaim.

                                                          2. re: gutsofsteel

                                                            Go for the schmaltz! Shall we all just meet there, eat, and get it over with? :)

                                                            1. re: danany

                                                              Nah, def not Sammy's. But I would gorge with some hounds at Katz's or Sarge's for a pre fast pastrami plus knish sort of meal next Friday afternoon. I may start Yom Kippur at a historic synagogue on Clinton Friday eve

                                                          3. re: dyrewolf

                                                            Dyrewolf: Are you suggesting it's not Kosher to serve with meat? No egg no cream.

                                                            1. re: City Kid

                                                              In any case, eggs are neither dairy or meat.

                                                              1. re: City Kid

                                                                Milk. Egg creams require dairy.

                                                                1. re: City Kid

                                                                  You're kidding right?? Selter, milk, Fox's U-Bet syrup

                                                                  no eggs (which are in fact neither milk or meat) but definitely dairy

                                                                  1. re: dyrewolf

                                                                    OMG, duh! you are so right! Don't know what I was thinking, I certainly know better.

                                                          4. re: danany

                                                            Mendy's? Do you have a strategy there. I'll admit, when they first opened the Grand Central kiosk, I had one of the better pastrami sandwiches of my life. I've since resigned it was a fluke.

                                                          5. A lot of good direction has been given, there has been some drifting to kosher instead of "jewish" but I don't think that is what you're after

                                                            Pastrami - Katz's or Sarge's
                                                            Corned Beef - Second Ave Deli
                                                            Matzoh Ball Soup - Sarge's or Second Ave Deli
                                                            Brisket - Second Ave Deli or take out from Zabars

                                                            Falafel - Taim or Soom

                                                            Breakfast - Lox from Russ and Daughters...

                                                            -----
                                                            Katz's Delicatessen
                                                            205 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

                                                            Taim
                                                            222 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10014

                                                            Zabar's
                                                            2245 Broadway, New York, NY 10024

                                                            Sarge's Delicatessen
                                                            548 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10016

                                                            Second Avenue Deli
                                                            162 E 33rd St, New York, NY 10016

                                                            Soom Soom
                                                            166 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023

                                                            Second Avenue Deli
                                                            1442 1st Ave, New York, NY 10021

                                                            1. We've moved a discussion of what types of foods would be included in the category of "Jewish food" to the General Chowhounding Topics board, at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/808551