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May 5, 2011 03:36 AM

Jewish food

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?

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

    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

    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

                    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.

                1. In regards to your 2nd paragraph, another Aussie visitor just posted this thread regarding items like steak, pizza, bagels, etc:

                  These may also help.

                  Don't leave NY without eating:

                  Best breakfast and brunch:

                  Please help me eat during a month in new york

                  French person coming to NYC for the first time - I made a list for him

                  My thoughts on Pizza in NYC

                  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:

                  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. 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