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Why do we stand for it?

j
jeffrosenbaum Jul 8, 2011 11:05 AM

Wednesday I went for dinner at Deli Kasbah in Manhattan. The food was ok BUT. When I ordered a turkey sandwich in came wrapped in paper so cold that it was clear that the sandwich had been made earlier and placed in the refrigerator. It seemed to be a take out order placed on a plate.. A small plastic container containing mustard was on the plate. The baked potato that was included was brown inside and out. Why does a Glatt kosher place believe that this is acceptable? I know this is not a fancy restaurant, but when you charge $17.95 for a sandwich it should be served as if it were being eaten in a restaurant rather than a park.
I expect the tvs with the Rebbe, because this is what the place is about. That they are able to remain in business with this type of service is beyond me. I will not be returning, but why do we stand for it?

  1. h
    helou Aug 15, 2011 11:11 AM

    If I may go slightly off the original topic, I'd like to ask about others' experiences with buying raw chickens at the butcher. The are so poorly cleaned, as far as feathers goes, that I find making chicken a time-consuming ordeal if I want to leave the skin on. Sometimes it's just impossible to find a pack of wings that can be sufficiently cleaned without just cutting away most of the skin.

    A few years ago our local butcher went from selling Empire cickens (which were no so great either, but they were better) to selling Alle and Mehadrin (sorry if that's not the exact name). They're just disgusting. The butcher owners try to explain it by saying that it has to do with the kashering process, and using cold water, etc.

    But I just don't believe they can't do any better. The cleanliness is quite inconsistent; sometimes they are cleaned at an acceptable level, so it IS possible.

    My Lubavitch cousins once brought some chicken form a Crown Heights butcher to have at a family BBQ, and the chickens practicaly flew out of my sink they had so many hairs and feathers still on.

    Does anyone else have this experience? Is there a brand of chicken that's better?

    19 Replies
    1. re: helou
      g
      GilaB Aug 15, 2011 11:26 AM

      I've heard that in Canada, it's illegal to sell chickens with feathers on them, and magically the kosher producers have managed to figure out a way to more efficiently de-feather, even without scalding them first. (Non-kosher chickens are scalded to loosen the feathers, but as this cooks the chicken slightly before it's been soaked and salted, it's not an option for kosher producers.) My experience has been the same as yours, so unfortunately, I don't have a recommendation.

      1. re: GilaB
        z
        zsero Aug 15, 2011 11:59 PM

        Non-kosher chickens are washed in hot water before plucking, to loosen the feathers. This allows a mechanical plucker to get all of the feathers. Unfortunately for the non-kosher consumer, this hot water bath is also a breeding ground for salmonella, and how it spreads from one bird to a whole batch.

        Kosher birds may not be washed in hot water before salting, so they're washed in cold water; therefore the feathers are not loosened, and it's impossible for a machine to pluck them cleanly. Empire has developed a breed with tougher skin that can handle rougher usage, so they do a better job on the plucking, but far from perfect. The up side is that as a result of using a cold water bath rather than hot, the incidence of salmonella in kosher chickens is much lower than in treif, low enough not to be a serious problem. (You still have to be careful, though, because of listeria, which can be even nastier than salmonella, and is not spread in this way.)

        The "magic" they use in Canada is to use more labour, and pluck each chicken by hand after it's gone through the machine. This, of course, adds to the price, which is one reason Canadian kosher chickens are more expensive than USA ones.

        1. re: zsero
          h
          helou Aug 16, 2011 06:55 AM

          I would at least like the option of paying more for that service. I wouldn't be at all surprised if people would buy them if they were available.
          I do know that chickens are somewhat informally graded - I asked our local Acme supermarket, which has delicious kosher rotisseried (sp?) chickens why I sometimes get one that's missing part of a drumstick or wing, and he told me that they use a lower quality (in terms of appearance, wholeness, etc.) for the rotisserie because they're cheaper.

          1. re: helou
            z
            zsero Aug 16, 2011 09:58 AM

            Canadian chickens are available in the USA; if they're not available where you shop, perhaps that's because there's not enough demand to justify the shop stocking them.

            1. re: zsero
              h
              helou Aug 16, 2011 11:13 AM

              You're right - it's a very nice butcher and mini-market, but in a relatively small (smaller than Teaneck) suburban community. What brands are the Canadian chickens? I can ask the owners if they would carry them on a trial basis; they're pretty accommodating that way, as long as the hashgacha is sufficient.

              1. re: helou
                z
                zsero Aug 16, 2011 12:40 PM

                Marvid is one, but there's also one from Toronto whose name I can't recall. I'm sure one of our Canadian posters can supply it.

                1. re: zsero
                  n
                  njkosher Aug 16, 2011 12:44 PM

                  I think it's Chai chickens.
                  Chicken is also more expensive in Toronto when compared to the US.

                  1. re: njkosher
                    z
                    zsero Aug 16, 2011 12:48 PM

                    Do you mean in general, or just kosher. The main reason for kosher chicken being more expensive is precisely what we've been discussing: the extra labour involved in plucking them clean.

                    1. re: zsero
                      n
                      njkosher Aug 16, 2011 06:05 PM

                      just reaffirming your earlier post that kosher chickens were/are more expensive in Toronto than I can get them in the USA. Always thought it had to do with volumes, but then in reading your comment about labor connected with me that the chicken was always cleaner in Toronto.
                      And its not just the feathers, any chicken you buy, whole or parts, seem to be ready to cook, while in the US, you have to get rid off the excess fat, and other stuff you end up with. Have to spend a lot more time prepping.

      2. re: helou
        c
        cappucino Aug 15, 2011 01:05 PM

        I have found that Empire is better. I also feel that their chicken cutlets have more of the skin removed and are a more manageable size. It's a more expensive brand where I live so I go for second best. I usually skin my chicken so it doesn't affect me too much.

        1. re: cappucino
          c
          cappucino Aug 15, 2011 01:06 PM

          I meant that the cutlets have more of the fat removed.

        2. re: helou
          d
          ddelicious Aug 23, 2011 09:01 AM

          I am curious also about kosher ground beef, I have been reading a lot of bad things about non-kosher ground beef where the producers are using trimmings that were previously inedible and washing them in a bleach solution before grinding them. Is there something about kosher ground beef that would prohibit this practice?

          1. re: ddelicious
            a
            avitrek Aug 23, 2011 09:27 AM

            Assuming the bleach is kosher and the trimmings come from the kosher part of the animal, the rabbi checking the plant wouldn't stop it. You're better off buying your meat from a butcher you trust who is grinding his own meat. Or better yet, buy a chunk of meat and grind it yourself.

            1. re: avitrek
              weinstein5 Aug 23, 2011 10:12 AM

              I was under the impression once the meat was soaked and salted that nothing could be applied to it - I remember this was raised when the USDA wanted all meat to be sprayed with Antibiotics and the certifying agencies fought the measure successfully

              1. re: weinstein5
                a
                avitrek Aug 23, 2011 10:32 AM

                The marinade you put on your steak/london broil would be something applied after soaking/salting. It's possible there is an issue applying something BEFORE soaking/salting, but provided the soaking/salting is done first and whatever is being applied is kosher, then there is no reason a kashrut agency would stop it.

            2. re: ddelicious
              c
              chicago maven Aug 23, 2011 09:35 AM

              I think that you may be confusing two seperate circumstances. The USDA would never allow any meat that was contaminated with bleach to be consumed by the public. In fact, when the USDA wants to "condem" any meat, they usually pour bleach and/or dye over it so that no one can use it.

              1. re: chicago maven
                d
                ddelicious Aug 23, 2011 09:56 AM

                Its ammonia. Here's an example http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles/201104...

                1. re: ddelicious
                  c
                  chicago maven Aug 23, 2011 10:50 AM

                  YUK!!
                  I don't know if I should thank you for that information or not! Goodby ground beef.

                  1. re: chicago maven
                    z
                    zsero Aug 23, 2011 12:15 PM

                    Um, what exactly is the objection? If it tastes and looks OK, who cares whether some of it was processed with ammonia? As Bismarck is supposed to have said about laws and sausages, if you like them you shouldn't watch them being made.

          2. a
            avitrek Aug 8, 2011 06:18 AM

            After reading all these horror stories, I thought I would share a good experience I recently had. I went to Seasons on a Thursday night looking to get some takeout for Shabbat. I didn't see any Chicken Marsala in the display case, so I asked one of the staff if they had any in the back. One of the managers heard my question and told one of the guys behind the counter to take the chicken from a catering order they had just finished. He said they could cook more chicken Friday morning for the catering order, and it was important to help the customers currently in the store. With everything we hear about service, it's nice to know that there are places that will go the extra mile to help customers.

            1 Reply
            1. re: avitrek
              h
              Hirscheys Aug 8, 2011 06:34 PM

              Good point, avitrek. The negative experiences are so annoying they often get more press than the positive ones. On that note, you inspire me to share a great experience of my own. I was at Pomegranate recently standing on line at at the prepared foods. I asked the guy that was serving me where a few other items I was looking for could be found. Instead of just telling me, he had another person fill my takeout order, and told me he would go get the other things i had wanted, which included 8 jars of pasta sauce. By the time I got my takeout order, my cart had been filled for me and I was able to go straight on line. Now, that is something that never happened to me elsewhere, even at Whole Foods. So sometimes, being a kosher consumer is really not bad at all.

            2. c
              cappucino Aug 5, 2011 01:41 PM

              Another anecdote that begs the same question you posed. I enter a kosher supermarket at 12 p.m. one day this week (the 9 days). No fish except salmon. None. "The fish didn't come yet." I said, "Okay. That's kind of surprising at this time and during these days." I go to check out minus the fish I needed to cook for dinner. Another customer is whining aloud about the lack of fish. She is whining to the cashier. The difference between this woman and me is that she is an older woman about 65, clearly wealthy and a regular customer. The cashier tells her to talk to the manager who is standing right there. She does and actually states that she saw white, insulated boxes outside on the loading deck that looked like the kind the fish usually comes in. He says, "I am not the fish guy" and turns to whatever silliness he was doing. She then says, "I guess I will have to come back later for the fish" and leaves the store. How could she not go to the owner and complain??? How could she not take this man to task for how he dismissed her??? It is unbelievable to me that so many of us put up with garbage and cause the rest of us to be looked at as annoying complainers when we speak up. I told that manager before I left that I felt he had made a grave error with that particular customer, never mind the fish. I said, "She doesn't look like the kind of woman that you should have ignored, don't you think?" Wouldn't you know that he actually called me at home 10 minutes later to apologize and told me they were working on service. I said, "No, you're not" and I hung up the phone. Yeesh.

              1. c
                cappucino Jul 14, 2011 08:24 AM

                Ate at Deli Kasbah recently, was shocked at the prices. Disappointing on many levels. Not going back. What confounds our family is the lack of family restaurant options in a kosher market the size of Manhattan's. To me, an old-fashioned deli done well would allow for a kosher and non-kosher customer base and enough turnover to keep prices somewhat affordable. I think the issue might be in the people who actually open these places to begin with. Who in 2011 is getting into the restaurant business in NY? Do they know the market? The guys like Deli Kasbah and Mr. Broadway just seem to have lost the vision (simple but good) or maybe were taken over by newbies who don't know the market.

                2 Replies
                1. re: cappucino
                  c
                  CloggieGirl Aug 8, 2011 04:51 AM

                  I'd say that there is appeal with Mr. Broadway for non-kosher customers but I think all the Rebbe stuff all over everywhere would scare those customers away. I'm vegetarian so there's nothing for me to eat there but if it were I don't think I'd eat in there for the same reason.

                  1. re: CloggieGirl
                    a
                    avitrek Aug 8, 2011 06:09 AM

                    You're confusing 2 places. Kasbah has the Rebbe stuff. Mr. Broadway is just this weird combination of Deli and Chinese. Of the two, I would agree that Mr. Broadway has a better chance of working with a non-Jewish customer, provided they know they're going for classic NY Kosher Deli. Some of the issues we see can be brushed aside by people on occasion when they are going for "ethnic".

                2. serenarobin Jul 13, 2011 05:17 PM

                  Interesting discussion about bad meals and experiences in (non-kosher) restaurants on the Manhattan board http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/787839 . Made me feel like perhaps this isn't just a kosher restaurant issue. And that we should continue to vote with our feet.
                  Although, buried in the thread is a scathing review of Noah's Ark on Grand Street. The poster said "I'll stick with the traif from now on."

                  1. a
                    AdinaA Jul 12, 2011 02:37 PM

                    I've lived in places where the only options were eat at home or eat in a so-so kosher place. I ate at home. I haven't been to Deli Kasbah in years. Why bother? When traveling, I may be willing to eat in similar places. But even then, not usually. For example, in San Francisco, I'd rather buy some bread and hummus at Whole Foods, than bother with that little Israeli place on the second floor in Chinatown.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: AdinaA
                      j
                      jeffrosenbaum Jul 12, 2011 03:25 PM

                      I have read the replies with interest. To make my point clear it is incomprehensible to me why we support restaurants that are not good. Like many here I am willing to pay for good food and service. I recognize that kosher restaurants must charge more since they are closed on various days. My point is that we should demand excellence. We should not patronize those restaurants which do not give that to us. I understand that I speak as a person in New York who has choices. We should use those choices by going to restaurants which appeal to us and give us quality,

                      1. re: jeffrosenbaum
                        queenscook Jul 12, 2011 03:37 PM

                        To some extent, I think you're preaching to the choir here. On Chowhound, even the Kosher board, I think most of us do, in fact, patronize only the restaurants that appeal to us, give us quality, and avoid the rest. However, just by dint of the fact that we are "Chowhounds," we are implying that the quality of food and restaurants means a lot to us. However, there are many other segments of the community that A) may not care as much as some of us do or B) think the food and environment of the places that you think are lacking are just fine.

                        1. re: queenscook
                          v
                          vallevin Jul 13, 2011 11:18 AM

                          This should be the biggest of our problems.....a cold & stale deli sandwich and a burnt potato.

                          1. re: vallevin
                            p
                            Prettypoodle Jul 13, 2011 11:58 AM

                            Getting over chrarged when we food shop because we dont apear to be observant enough is truly wrong.IMO. Yet that happened several times to me and my husband. Nasty food shouldnt happen either - ever.

                            1. re: vallevin
                              queenscook Jul 13, 2011 01:30 PM

                              Not sure why this is a reply to me, as the sandwich and potato were mentioned in the original post. Beyond that . . . of course we have greater problems in life, but on Chowhound, we're discussing food and restaurants. You'd have to go elsewhere to discuss the state of the world.

                        2. re: AdinaA
                          serenarobin Jul 12, 2011 05:30 PM

                          Ditto, AdinaA! When I started reading this thread, the second floor place in San Francisco immediately came to mind. I suppose the place survives on tourists. I would rather depend on a supermarket than patronize a restaurant with poor service and quality. I'll try a place once when I travel, but won't go back if it's not up to par.

                          1. re: serenarobin
                            queenscook Jul 12, 2011 06:44 PM

                            I'll third that. That place might possibly the worst restaurant experience I can remember ever having. (Well, other than those related to bad dates!)

                            1. re: queenscook
                              s
                              SoCal Mother Jul 12, 2011 08:54 PM

                              Funny, I thought of SF also. Still when I was at a conference in Mosconi several years back I ate there 4 times because I was too tired and hungry to look for anything else.

                              1. re: SoCal Mother
                                z
                                zsero Jul 12, 2011 10:24 PM

                                Agreed, that place is overpriced and not very good, but it's there.

                                1. re: zsero
                                  5
                                  510jeff Jul 15, 2011 11:43 PM

                                  I live across the bay in Oakland, the 2nd floor place is Sabra & I guess they survive on tourists. Reading this board affirmed my attitude towards kosher and they aren't very kind. We have a kosher market oakland kosher, not far from where I live and I am suspicious of two tier pricing as meat is never priced in the case. In any case the Bad attitude of owner & staff, the high prices and too many unsatisfactory products just keep me away. There is a trader joes down the block which reliably has chicken, ground beef & turkey, 2 cuts of beef ( rib eye & stew meat- they no longer carry brisket due to too many returns.). Here in nor Cal we have locally farm
                                  raised beef ( non kosher) but a movement is afoot to have eco kosher. My only q is will I be able to afford it? In short, I don't patronize my local kosher store because of bad attitude, bad product & bad pricing, isn't it a shame. I truly wish it were different.

                        3. s
                          SoCal Mother Jul 12, 2011 08:45 AM

                          I tried to return a tasteless soup in Buenos Aires last week and the manager refused to take it back. Simply refused. It's not just the US and it's not just in a city with few choices.

                          1. h
                            helou Jul 11, 2011 12:50 PM

                            My experience at Deli Kasbah has not been with sub-standard food - it's been "good-enough." But the prices are astronomical; even that it is in NYC with its high overhead is not a sufficient explanation. Just going in with my grandsons for some french fries and maybe a couple of hot dogs and drinks can cost as much as dinner for 2 in a similar non-kosher restaurant. We put up with it because they've got us over a barrel.

                            12 Replies
                            1. re: helou
                              b
                              brooklynkoshereater Jul 11, 2011 07:22 PM

                              I'm a little taken aback by the whole 'put up with it' attitude. We are blessed to be living in a time when Kosher food options are rampant. We don't have to sacrifice taste, quality, or creativity when looking for Kosher options in dining - whether it's eating at a fast food place like Kosher Delight, dairy dining at Cafe K or Orchidea, steakhouses like Prime Grill, or general crowd pleasers like Primeko, Pardes, Solo, etc.
                              Beyond that, you make a CHOICE every time you step foot into a restaurant, order from a menu, or shop at a supermarket. If you are unhappy, CHOOSE to walk out. Nobody is forcing your hand, whether it's ordering a subpar meal, spending more than you'd like on fries, or suffering through mediocore Chinese.

                              1. re: brooklynkoshereater
                                bagelman01 Jul 12, 2011 04:16 AM

                                Unfortunately, your moniker gives away your attitude. In Brooklyn or a very few other large Jewish population centers you have a choice of where to dine. In the hinterlands, often only 50+ miles from NYC this is often little choice of kosher dining options: Home or an overpriced, poorly run, unimaginative kosher restaurant. The locals feel an obligation to patronize the place, even if taken advantage of by the owner/operator.

                                The local rabbis push the necessity of keeping this lone dining option in business. The community doesn't want another failure shown to the local gentile community.

                                I grew up 70 miles from NYC in a community with 30,000+ Jews (25% of the population).

                                No kosher restaurant has survived, only non-jewish owned dairy/vegetarian restaurants that happen to be under kosher supervision and appeal to the entire populace.

                                Every few years another bad kosher restaurant opens, and we locals try to patronize and give support. But how much bad food, bad service and arrogance must we put up with?

                                I worked in the kosher food industry for many years and it hasn't gotten better since the 1970s (outside major population centers). The plethora of kosher items avilable in everyday supermarkets has put the local kosher butchers/bakers/delis out of business. The consolidation of the kosher meat/deli business to ownership by nationals like Conagra has killed the independents. Most hinterland Jews don't worry about glatt. Now a package of Hebrew National hot dogs is footballed between $1.49 and $2.49, while ordinary treif brands are $3.99. Out of towners are not going to take their kids into the local kosher joint (and joint is the appropriate term) and pay $10 for a hot dog, hockey puck burger, a few frozen triangle latkes and a soda.

                                So, we cook at home, and save better kosher dining for the occasional trips to the big city.

                                1. re: bagelman01
                                  r
                                  rockycat Jul 12, 2011 06:55 AM

                                  +1
                                  I do live in the hinterlands where we have 1 kosher restaurant in the entire state. Two kosher groceries in my metro area have tried to make it and failed in the last 10 years.
                                  I was chastised mightily for not supporting the closest grocery but I as much as I liked the owner and wanted him to make it, I could not in good conscience pay him twice as much for the exact same can of beans or bag of pasta that the local supermarket also carried. Helping him out was one thing, but not at the expense of my family's financial health.
                                  It's all about the marketing. As many suggestions as we made, we could not get the owner to realize that he had to carry specialty items that we couldn't find at just any grocery store. You have to cater to what your customers need/want. Bageliman01 has it right. Vote with your feet.

                                  1. re: rockycat
                                    p
                                    Prettypoodle Jul 12, 2011 07:53 AM

                                    Forget about paying double or tripple for an item, how about a store that charges you by how observant you apper - seriously - we were overcharged MANY times often small amounts but why the two tier pricing?.. We used to shop at a Philadelphia kosher fish store. They had several items I loved. And icky, old over priced produce (and Philadephia can have some GREAT produce), out of date (and not just by a day) items being sold at full pricve and so common that you had to check all packassges. And owners with a surley attitude. We still shop in that area, LOVE the bagel place two doors down but I will never go back to the fish store. Thankfully we have other, high quality options at as local food store, but I feel bad NOT shopping at the all Kosher one.

                                    1. re: Prettypoodle
                                      bagelman01 Jul 12, 2011 12:36 PM

                                      Not just how observant you are, but whether you are male or female, speak only English, or Hebrew or Yiddish.

                                      The only kosher butcher left in New Haven is an Israeli (been here more than 25 years). My ex-wife always got better prices than marked on the signs and would be sold products that others were told not available because Hebrew was her first language.
                                      Another chasidishe food purveyor who came and went wouldn't talk to women.

                                      Similarly, when shopping in Brooklyn, she was ignored because she wore pants, not because of being liberal, but to hide a leg deformity.

                                      When I was a kid, New Haven had more than 20 kosher butchers and 12 kosher bakeries. They're all gone but the one butcher. No local slaughter of fowl or beef takes place. Butchers don't get beef on the hoof, but boxed cuts and there is little choice of what to buy.
                                      I now live just outside Bridgeport, no kosher butcher/bakery/restaurants. NYC is an hour away, but I don't wish to live or work there, so I eat home.

                                      1. re: rockycat
                                        a
                                        AdinaA Jul 12, 2011 02:33 PM

                                        This is not a uniquely Jewish phenomenon, I've had similar experiences in frum stores, but I've also had them in non-Jewish stores. I sometimes dress certain ways to do certain kinds of shopping.

                                        Walk into a art, coin or antique dealer dressed the way Rockycat apparently was when he went to purchase his wedding invitations. You won't get far. If you don't look like the kind of person who collects, first-editions of Milton or Mark Twain, the book dealer hasn't got time to waste on you. Or walk into a fashion-forward boutique in the East Village wearing Ralph Lauren. Or into any intensely ethnic shop looking like you are not a member of that tribe. I mean shops like that sell things like sari fabric, Bollywood videos , or high-end Chinese herbalists. You're wasting their time - and they know it. But, start talking like you know your arcane medicinal herbs, and the guy who went back to restocking the shelves after giving you a dismissive glance will wait on you.

                                        We all judge by appearance, often because it is a useful and time-efficient code.

                                  2. re: bagelman01
                                    b
                                    brooklynkoshereater Jul 12, 2011 07:20 PM

                                    I apologize if I sounded patronizing. You are right - as you can clearly ascertain from my (poorly chosen) moniker, I have always had a plethora of kosher food choices and the option - nay, luxury - to choose.

                                    1. re: brooklynkoshereater
                                      bagelman01 Jul 13, 2011 04:27 AM

                                      apologies are not needed, I just wanted to stress that not all of us are in NY, and don't have choices, which encourages sunstandard food, service and exhorbitant prices.

                                      In small communities, Jews are often guilted into supporting the bad establishment, as necessary to be able to attract rabbis and teachers. If there is no restaurant, bakery, butcher, they don't want to come. Then in the case of nearby to NY places, they come, but don't patronize the local places, they run to NY to eat and shop.

                                    2. re: bagelman01
                                      k
                                      koshergourmetmart Jul 12, 2011 07:42 PM

                                      the op mentioned deli kasbah which is in NY. If I got what the Op described I would not pay for it. Just don't go back there again-they sound overpriced and the food sounds pretty crappy.

                                      1. re: koshergourmetmart
                                        p
                                        PotatoPuff Jul 15, 2011 07:12 AM

                                        i've had a really good hamburger at deli kasbah - not amazing, but really good. i would go back because its in the neighborhood

                                        1. re: PotatoPuff
                                          a
                                          avitrek Jul 15, 2011 08:38 AM

                                          When did you have the good hamburger? I've had good hamburgers for a reasonable price there 5-10 years ago. The past couple years have been closer to hockey pucks that are also way too expensive.

                                          1. re: avitrek
                                            p
                                            PotatoPuff Aug 5, 2011 11:33 AM

                                            a few months ago... but then went back again recently, and the burger wasn't so good. not bad, but not good.

                                2. j
                                  joebenjamin Jul 11, 2011 09:19 AM

                                  The only restaurants I go to are Schnitzi,Glatt Kosher family,Budda Bodai,Little Lads and substational E.15 th st-----all the rest rip you off.You are frum-you are subject to the frum business world-10% kashrut---90% business.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: joebenjamin
                                    gotcholent Aug 20, 2011 11:29 PM

                                    I second your thoughts on Budda Bodai, it is my (vegetarian) wife's favorite restaurant in NYC. A major difference there is it's both owned and operated by an entirely non-Jewish team. Their work ethic and respect for their food is visible in every dish that leaves that kitchen (Veg. BBQ Pork and Shitake Eel with Broccoli are my two favorites) In full disclosure, I am a kosher chef working the NYC area who has is fortunate enough to get to work at breaking the mold of mediocrity that plagues NY's predictable kosher scene. But I was also raised in El Paso, Texas where there were no kosher options at all to be had outside of our own homes...it is probably the reason I learned my way around the kitchen in the first place. There are an abundance of fantastic options here, Mike's Bistro, Pardes, Va Benne and Basil just to name a few...not to mention untold numbers of butchers, bakeries and superstar markets the likes of Pomegranate and even Fairway. So don't put up with anything! If your meal is sub-par....TELL THE CHEF or OWNER and then don't go back. Life's too short for bad food!

                                  2. c
                                    cute_diva Jul 11, 2011 05:13 AM

                                    It is because of a lack of options.

                                    We have one kosher Chinese restaurant within an hour of where I live. It has been open for years. The food ranges from average to awful, but it is the only way to get kosher Chinese UNLESS you want to put in the effort to learn how to cook Chinese food and then do it yourself.

                                    So, for regular restaurants, competition keeps the good ones in business and puts the bad ones out of business. For kosher restaurants, some areas are just missing the competition....and when you have a monopoly, you can get away with more....

                                    I personally have no problem cooking my own Chinese food, but when we are part of a group of diners, or when everyone wants to select their own meal (and I am not a short order cook), it is just easier to go out to that one mediocre Chinese place....

                                    1. b
                                      brooklynkoshereater Jul 10, 2011 07:28 PM

                                      I had one really bad experience in a restaurant that refused to make a substitution for me - and before any chowhounders jump down my throat on the controversy of restaurant substitutions, I was asking for plain (dry, undressed) lettuce in lieu of the sauteed veggies side (I was pregnant at the time and the sauteed veggies were nausea-inducing). I never went back to that restaurant again. I patronize the restaurants that prove themselves deserving of patronage - I work too hard for my money to throw it away at places undeserving of it.

                                      1. The Chowhound Team Jul 8, 2011 02:43 PM

                                        Folks, just a reminder that we try to keep things focused on discussing which kosher chow is or isn't delicious. The politics of certifications and other larger issues are really off-topic for our site.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: The Chowhound Team
                                          c
                                          CloggieGirl Jul 10, 2011 09:57 AM

                                          This is a discussion of why there's an epidemic of bad service and bad food at kosher restaurants on a scale that there isn't in non-kosher restaurants. Who brought up certifications?

                                          I feel like the type of people who go to Chowhound don't stand for it but if you were raised on a low standard of restaurant, then that is what you accept.

                                        2. f
                                          ferret Jul 8, 2011 12:52 PM

                                          As long as you continue to patronize establishments that treat customers with contempt then this will continue. Vote with your wallet. I live in Chicago which has a paucity of good Kosher establishments. The truly awful ones don't last long. The mediocre ones stay open because their patrons don't know any better. There are a few good ones and they generally get my money.

                                          1. p
                                            paprkutr Jul 8, 2011 11:43 AM

                                            First of all that is not acceptable in any restaurant kosher or not. I would have returned it, talked to the manager,etc. If you don't talk to the owner they do not know what it going on and cannot rectify the problems.
                                            I live in Los Angeles, keep a kosher house, but eats out. I have tried to patronize the kosher restaurants, but they for the most part are really bad and very expensive. It seems like the people out here in the past really don't patronize or want good restaurants. They seem to go to lower end ones, like pizza and hot dogs, etc. One restaurant just closed and I went after it first opened hoping it would be great. It was okay and very expensive. One of the reasons I thought this place might work, is that I knew the chef from a non-kosher restaurant that made incredible food and still does.
                                            From people that I know, one of the biggest problems that I see is that the people here don't recognize certain kosher certifications. It's not necessarily that they don't trust the certification, but the Rabbi's want their own. Everyone has to have their own, it has become very political and money making.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: paprkutr
                                              k
                                              koshergastronome Jul 8, 2011 12:45 PM

                                              I do agree that there are some issues with the Hechsher world, and politics and money being a major player in it, however I don't think that causes restaurants to act sub-par.
                                              I think the problem is with us, like you said most kosher people really only care about pizza and lesser types of foods, where it's understood that you're not there for the dining experience, but rather the food.
                                              I think only in recent years are kosher people starting to appreciate good food and good restaurants, and it will take some time for restaurants to adjust their outlook.
                                              I live in Baltimore, and there are a ton of Kosher people here, but the "classiest" restaurant here is a chinese place, and it's not that nice...if you want a really good steak house, we have to drive an hour to Pomegranate, which is awesome. And I think the reason is, because 90% of the people who live down here, don't really go out to eat that much, and couldn't care less if today's special was yesterday's leftovers.
                                              That's also why we have only one supermarket, and it's really not that good, especially in the meat dep't....but don't get me started...

                                              1. re: koshergastronome
                                                c
                                                Chowrin Jul 12, 2011 05:35 PM

                                                today's special is often yesterday's leftovers, in any restaurant.

                                                1. re: Chowrin
                                                  d
                                                  ddelicious Jul 20, 2011 10:04 AM

                                                  No its not. In a crappy restaurant maybe, but certainly not anywhere half decent. The fact that you think this is exactly the point of the discussion, that we don't believe we can do better.
                                                  There are a significant number of people in my community who didn't grow up frum and began to keep strictly kosher later in life. I often wonder why those people don't speak up about how awful the kosher restaurants are compared to the decent non kosher ones and use their experience to push for higher standards. No one, that I know of, would ever eat at any of the kosher restaurants here unless they were strictly kosher or dining with someone who is, because all of the options are really unappealing when you have other choices.

                                            2. pitagirl Jul 8, 2011 11:18 AM

                                              I don't stand for it. Especially today when money is tight I hardly go to eat anymore, and when I do it is someplace where I know the food will be good. I will pretty much give all kosher places one try but that's it. If I am served garbage I won't go back (and I will usually say something to the manager).

                                              Gone are the days (especially in NY) of having to deal with horrible service and mediocre food just because you eat kosher. A lot of places have closed over the past two years, hopefully owners are getting the picture.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: pitagirl
                                                d
                                                DeisCane Jul 8, 2011 11:30 AM

                                                That's atrocious. I would have returned it.

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