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Favorite Menu Items in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Teaneck, and Beyond

Aside from service and ambience (which are definitey important), a restaurant is only as good as the menu item you order. Only the very best restaurants will excel at every item on their menu. Two people can go to the same restaurant, and order different things. One person will love their choice, while the other will be very disappointed. They will each judge the restaurant based on what they chose from the menu.
Based on this premise, which I know is simplistic (since everyone's taste is different), what are your favorite menu items (appetizers, mains, sides, desserts) at restaurants in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Teaneck, etc.?

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  1. Do items at defunct restaurants count? Two of my favourite items used to be the spicy duck soup at Kao San, and the vegetable cutlet at Zion.

    Olympic Pita's bean soup and matzah ball soup are the best I've had of those kinds; so is the vegetable soup it serves on Tuesdays.

    1. The Roman Jewish artichokes at Va Bene, the Margherita pizza at Noi Dui, the sweet potato fries at Noah's on the LES, the veal scaloppini at Tevere 84, EVERYTHING they make at Pardes.

      Actually, pretty much everything they cook at Va Bene and Tevere 84, too.

      5 Replies
      1. re: AdinaA

        I agree on Pardes. Well everything except for the service. :)

        1. re: shaytmg

          I'm surprised; we've always had great service at Pardes, friendly and knowledgable.

          The one thing I do wonder about is how it works when more than two people are dining. We have always gone as a couple and shared everything, so we don't really mind if dishes are brought one at a time. However, I could see it being an issue if more are dining together, or even if as few as two are dining together but not sharing. I would imagine it being uncomfortable for one person to be served and have to wait for the others' food to be brought. Would anyone who has had this experience care to comment?

          1. re: queenscook

            The food was great and the service was great until they brought the food. I went with my wife who is vegetarian and pretty particular about food. She won't eat olives or fennel which is in every vegetarian dish they have, and the cook will not change anything. This was not the problem though. My wife ordered a soup as an appetizer and French fries and a salad for dinner. They brought everything out whenever it was ready in the kitchen, after an hour wait for food mind you.

            Secondly, my appetizer plate was not cleared even though the waiter and bus boy made several visits to our table after I polished off my chicken and waffles. Even more surprising was that the waiter had to push my empty appetizer plate out of the way to put down my main, yet didn't clear it.

            Typical awful service I have come to expect from kosher restaurants, but absolutely nothing typical about the food. It was pretty damn good.

            In essence a restaurant is more about logistics than the food.

            1. re: queenscook

              We had that experience last winter- me, my husband, and a friend. The waitress seemed to be knowledgable about the food but wanted to give us a rundown of the whole menu, not just what we had questions about. We specified what would b appetizers and entrees, but that never happened. Each plate was brought out as it was ready, which was a little weird because we weren't sharing everything. Sharing plates never appeared and plates were never cleared, even when we asked.

              In the end, the food was great, but the experience was a little awkward since not everything was shared.

              The part that killed it for me was another customer. I was (very) pregnant at the time and needed to get out of my seat to use the restroom. The way I was sitting, I had to ask another customer to get up so that I could pass through. He ignored me, and when my friend asked him to let me through he wouldn't get up. My husband called the waitress over, told her what had happened and asked her to talk to the other customer. The other guy ended up moving... but that kind of soured the meal for me.

              1. re: cheesecake17

                After all this talk about Pardes, I had to go and try it and here is my review: My wife and I made 8:30 reservations and showed up at 8:00 hoping to be seated earlier. The hostess actually apologized to us for not being able to seat us right. That was just the beginning of our favorite dining experience ever. It is true that there is not much space for seating, but the staff was totally helpful and extremely pleasant the whole evening. Our waiter "introduced" us to the menu with actual knowledge and practical advice - not just the typical "this is my favorite." In the end we chose the seared tuna, chicken and waffles and marrow bones for appetizers and the chicken and pardes burger for main dishes. The seared tuna came out first and was outstanding. It had a sweet sauce and a spicy sauce that complemented each other very well and the chic peas was a great addition to the dish. We both loved the tuna. The chicken and waffles was, in my humble opinion, brilliant. The combination of the tender chicken pieces (organic) on the sweet waffle with the (I think) peanut sauce was delicious. I believe with a larger portion, it would have made for an excellent main dish as well. The marrow bones came 3 pieces standing with cuscus overflowing from the tops. Simple yet heavenly. If you are not too neat or health conscious, try eating the fat cooked on the outside of the bones...yum!!! Then came the main dishes. My wife's chicken was a work of art. It had boneless tender chicken breasts and a couple of chicken wings surrounded by veal sweetbreads, some type of mushroom I can't pronounce, small chestnuts and the peanut sauce. Fortunately, my wife was in a sharing mood. It tasted so good that I was almost jealous until my burger came out. It looked amazing and tasted even better! The bun was a soft roll with part of the bread scooped out and some lettuce tomatoes and I believe onions in the cratered space (nice touch!). The meat was perfectly cooked and tender without being too juicy or raw. It came with a side of fries that were one of the best I ever had (you can order as a side dish if you don’t order the burger). I washed down my meal with a Kwak beer that came out in a bong shaped glass connected to a wooden handlebar - tasty and fun! At this point, I made my way to the kitchen to thank the chef for what was my best dining experience ever. It was also 10:15 and we had to get home to our baby sitter, but I couldn’t leave without ordering dessert. We got the walnut ice cream and something else (don’t remember the name but it had a cream topping that was fantastic). The walnut ice cream was by far one of the best desserts either of us ever tasted. It came in a bowl surrounded by cookies (I am not sure what type of cookie but it fit perfectly in) which together was “I can’t stop smiling delicious” but the addition of the cooked (I think) apples made it, if at all possible, even better. To sum it all up…we can’t wait to go back!!

        2. To answer my own question: The Veal a la Giudia (with artichokes) at Tevere 84, in Manhattan; the chopped chocolate milkshake at MochaBleu in Teaneck; The Prime Rib Steak at El Gaucho in Brooklyn; the Pizza with spinach, tomatoes, and garlic in Benny's on Avenue M in Brooklyn; The Marinated Chicken at Jerusalem 2 on Avenue J in Brooklyn; The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Iced Blendeds, in California, Las Vegas, and I think opening soon in NYC; The Chocolate Oreo Cookie Blendini at Rita's Ices in Edison/Highland Park, NJ; the Mozart Cake at Noi Due; almost everything at Delice Bakery in L.A.-- breakfasts, pastries.....

          1. Not in any of these towns, and a little lowbrow, but the onion rings at Holy Schnitzel in Staten Island are really good. Outside of metro NY, the meat knishes at Rubins in Brookline are awesome!

            1 Reply
            1. re: seikoloco

              seikoloco: Just changed the title to include kosher favorites anywhere. My question encompasses lowbrow, highbrow, and anything in between.

            2. love the mushroom veloute at solo, the black miso cod at prime ko, the chocolate chip pancakes at garden of eat-in, and fried chicken at kosher delight (low brow, but delicious none the same)

              1. Now that it's been changed to "and beyond", add the sampler platter at Hess in Jerusalem.

                1 Reply
                1. re: zsero

                  These are the ones I've gone back for: Mac n Cheese at Wendy's Plate in Brooklyn. Schwarma and Cholent Thursday night at Delicious Dishes in Woodmere. And for Manhattan: Hamburger at Cafe Classico, Steak Au Poivre at Le Marais and Fried Chicken from KD. (And I miss the Bissaleh Ftut at Bissaleh).

                2. There seems a paucity of Teaneck, so here is my 2 cents:

                  Schwarma and most side dishes at Sababa, grilled vegatable espcially.

                  Fish & Chips, Grilled Tuna, the tomato salad and broccoli side dishes at Fish of the C's. (Really...if you ever want to see your kids wolf down broccoli, this is the place to try it).

                  Any meat dish at ETC

                  Pizza from EJ's

                  And just o throw in: Bagels from Teaneck Bagels and the pound cake at Butterflakes.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: vallevin

                    THe mozarella sticks at Sammys, Teaneck
                    The grilled cheese in cafe Savor, Brooklyn
                    The milk chocolate souffle in orchidea
                    The chocolate chip cookies in Lazy Bean
                    The cauliflower poppers in Purple Pear
                    General Zen (with tofu) lunch special in chopstix

                  2. Toro Tau Tau at Kyo in Monsey
                    Rillettes at Le Marais
                    Mushroom Soup at Solo
                    The duck entree at Mosaica in Vauxhill
                    The brunch all day burger at Noah's Ark
                    The wings at chicken.org
                    And I agree with the post about most anything from Pardes, although its hard to choose anything specific since the menu changes regularly

                    1. So excited about how this thread is coming along. I really look forward to trying some of these "favorites". Now a plug for Staten Island...

                      The french onion soup, and the broiled salmon filet (nicely browned on the outside, yet still moist on the inside) which, in its simply prepared way, is tastier than that served at many fancy restaurants - at Dairy Palace; and the mushroom barley soup at Kosher Island (take-out). Never liked mushroom barley soup, until I first tasted this one, years ago.

                      1. Anyone have some favorites from the take-out section of Pomegranate in Brooklyn, as I now expand the original question beyond just restaurants, to anyplace that sells prepared food.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Bzdhkap

                          The crab cakes from Park East Kosher. Luscious. Plus They reheat beautifully.

                        2. The veal chop at Mike's Bistro
                          The kowaski roll at Sushi Metzuyan
                          The baby chicken at Maabat in Teaneck
                          The lafa at Olympic Pita
                          The fettucine alfredo at Cafe Rimon in Yerushalayim

                          1. Black Angus special st the Prime Grill -th 'Bay-Ken' Burger at Ken's Diner in Skokie, the lamb bacon BLT at the Kitchen Table in Mountain View Ca, any o fthe suasages at Jeff;s Gormet sausage in LA and the salami, corned beef and hot dogs from Romanians in Chicago

                            1. basically ANY salad from Dovid Malka & his cholent, erev shabbos.

                              1. ...Rack of Lamb, and Burger at Pardes on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Bzdhkap

                                  Moishefrompardes, you've sparked my curiosity, as any recommendation from you is high praise. I googled "Dovid Malka", and see that this is a caterer in Crown Heights. I hope I can figure out how to get there on a Thursday, or erev Shabbos to take home a sampling.

                                  1. re: Bzdhkap

                                    sdefinately get hungarian eggplant, cholent, stuffed cabbage if he has, his cucumber & carrot salad, carrot salad, baba ganoush, spicy gefilte fish. the spicy eggplant(the man is a genious with eggplant). if your good with super spicy the jaleno dip, but it is SUPER SPICY, my kids have contests to see who can eat it,. also, even his food wasn't good, which i assure you its excellent, you have to go erev shabbos just to see his operation. fair warning, you will probably get lost trying to find it as well. there is no sign, just look for the red awning.

                                      1. re: Bzdhkap

                                        I'm sad to report that David Malka passed away yesterday, of pancreatic cancer.

                                      2. re: Moishefrompardes

                                        Moishe, my dad was a caterer for the chasidish community, and he passed away in 1992, taking his stuffed cabbage recipe with him. What kind of stuffed cabbage is made by Dovid Malka? My dad's did NOT have raisins, and the sauce was only very slightly sweet with a vinegary tang...

                                        1. re: DebbyT

                                          Wow, my good friend passed away this week, im really torn up about it. his was not too sweet or sour zero raisins with a good hit of pepper in it. B"h he had a great staff that i hope will carry on the legacy, his wife is and was instrumental in the business and i'm sure will keep the same standards until Moshiach comes.

                                      3. re: Bzdhkap

                                        also sushi meshuga in bp is definately not "real" sushi (i dont think it exists yet kosher)but for rolls its way ahead of everyone else. atleast everytime ive been.

                                        1. re: Moishefrompardes

                                          Moishe...please feel free to start a separate thread, but could you explain the difference between what we are eating and real sushi?

                                    1. Lamb burger at Dougies in Teaneck
                                      French Fries at Belvedere in Paris (they must use duck fat, I couldn't stop eating them!)
                                      Foie Gras appetizer at Osmose in Paris
                                      Eggplant in Garlic Sauce from Chopstix in Teaneck
                                      Duck Gnocchi at ETC (my son does not like mushrooms or peas but scooped up every last one as the dish was soo good)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: daphnar

                                        Oh - forgot to add the Talapia Grilled Fish Wrap at Sushi Metsuyan in teaneck - crispy on the outside and so tender inside with creamy avocado and fish roe - I could eat it every day.

                                      2. Mexicali & Santa Cruz slices as Viva Herbal
                                        Rack of Lamb at Le Carne Grill
                                        Pumpkin soup at Wild Ginger
                                        Spider roll at Kyo
                                        Chicken Udon soup at Estihanna
                                        Beef Cheek Pizza at Pardes

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: kosherfoodfan

                                          Note on that pumpkin soup at Wild Ginger: it is *not* what is usually meant by "pumpkin soup". Usually after pumpkin soup is cooked, the soup, pumpkin, and other vegetables are all blended together into a thick smooth orange glop. Wild Ginger doesn't do that; this is a "pumpkin soup" in the same sense as, say, "chicken soup"; it's mostly water, with chunks of pumpkin and other vegetables in it, just as chicken soup is mostly water with chunks of chicken and vegetables in it. It's very tasty, but not what you would expect just from the name itself.

                                          1. re: kosherfoodfan

                                            I love the pumpkin soup at Wild Ginger. Delicious, but like zsero said below.. definitely not what you would expect. It also has pieces of cilantro in it and white beans.

                                            Vegetarian Ginger also serves this type of pumpkin soup.. it's always on the menu but they don't always have it.

                                            1. re: kosherfoodfan

                                              YES yes yes to the pumpkin soup at Wild Ginger. It is so so good. Their samosas and pad thai are also excellent, and they have decent drinks too and wonderful service!

                                            2. The salmon filet with grapes and carmelized garlic, with a side of potato packets served at Basil in Brooklyn. Delicious!

                                              1. Liver and onions at Miami Grill in Toronto.

                                                Steak at Tierra Sur in Oxnard, CA (north of LA).

                                                Beef hot dog from Jeff's in LA.

                                                Eggplant Yummy, "beef" fajita, bean and cheese chimichanga from Pizza World in LA.

                                                1. The mixed grill appetizer at Shalom Bombay and ANYTHING at Milk Street Cafe in NYC

                                                  1. Bluefin Fricasse on Sweet Brioche at Got Kosher, LA
                                                    Pain au Chocolate at Delice, LA
                                                    Tuna Schawarma or Fish Kabobs over rice and lentils at Nana, LA
                                                    Rolled Spinach Lasagne at Noi Due, NYC
                                                    Mushroom Knishes at Noah's Ark Deli, NYC
                                                    Falafel 4 Te'amim, Jerusalem
                                                    Thali at Ichikdana, Jerusalem
                                                    Cheese buns at My Zaidy's Bakery, Toronto
                                                    Anything from Nonna Betta in Rome

                                                    1. Seitan Tacquitos at Caravan of Dreams
                                                      Biscuits and Gravy at Sacred Chow
                                                      Pumpkin Soup, samosas, pad thai, and come to think of it - EVERYTHING at Wild Ginger
                                                      Fish and desserts at Olga's (but everything is great!)
                                                      Everything decadent, dairy, and delicious at Va Bene
                                                      Marghareta pizza, cannelini, spiced wine, or coffee at Basil
                                                      Desserts at Pardes (not a big fan of their regular food, service, or ambience)
                                                      Nachos at Cafe Hadar in Flatbush
                                                      Ginormous salads and fruity drinks at Amazon or Sunflower Cafe in Flatbush
                                                      Spicy salmon something or other (forgot the name, but should be obvious from the menu) at Dakshin

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: ilanaR

                                                        And I forgot - carrot milkshake and fish tacos at Cafe K in Manhattan.
                                                        Low-fat ginger sesame salad dressing at Circa.
                                                        EVERYTHING AT BABYCAKES.

                                                      2. crispy rice tuna (sushi) @ prime grill
                                                        sweet breads @ tevere 84
                                                        chicken in lettuce wraps @ china bistro
                                                        sesame chicken @ annies kitchen
                                                        apple martini @ pats
                                                        napolean @ tevere 84
                                                        mozzarella basket @ noi dui
                                                        Ravioli Alfredo E'Prevet @ panini cafe
                                                        sino steak @ grand deli (unfortunately they closed)
                                                        stuffed derma @ essex on coney (unfortunately they closed)
                                                        loaded dog @ shmulka bernsteins (unfortunately they closed)
                                                        onion soup @ ossies (unfortunately they closed)
                                                        pizza @ natanya (unfortunately they closed)
                                                        pecan squares @ home sweet home :)

                                                        1. Lowbrow-nachos from Noah's ark on LES
                                                          Jamaica bay basket from avron's in Cape Town
                                                          Medium-dumplings at dini's Beijing
                                                          High-duck and sweet potato fritters at mikes!

                                                          1. Stuffed zucchini from Prime Butcher /Baker. Lebanese style, wonderful sauce.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: AdinaA

                                                              Roast chicken and fries @ Le Merais
                                                              Sunday brunch @ Le Merais
                                                              Shawarma @ Mr. Broadway
                                                              White chocolate mousse @ My Most Favorite
                                                              Pastrami sandwich @ Mendy's
                                                              Chicken Scarpariello @ Cafe Classico
                                                              Penne a la vodka @ Mikes Italian
                                                              Quinoa salad @ Noi Dui
                                                              Rosemary chicken @ Tevere 84

                                                              1. Definitely lowbrow; french fries and onion rings from Carlos and Gabby.