Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Kosher >
May 20, 2012 05:58 PM

What's the Story with PJ Bernstein's

Does anyone know about PJ Bernstein's in Manhattan. I'm told its kosher. Is the meat really kosher there, or is it "kosher style"?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. JFGI
    Dairy, meat, ham, reuben sandwich. I'd say it's pretty treif.

    13 Replies
    1. re: avitrek

      Yeah, but is the meat kosher at the starting point? I understand its treif by the time it's served. But where is the meat coming from?

      1. re: kenkaissar

        I can't imagine why a treif restaurant would want to pay extra for kosher meat that they are about to treif up, but I guess you never know. If you're really curious I think you need to call and speak to the manager. I don't think you can trust any other hearsay and I doubt anyone on this board will know.

        But if you find out that they have a source for kosher ham, please share what that source is with us.

        1. re: avitrek

          It's not unheard of. Reins deli in CT claims to use only kosher meats.

          1. re: DeisCane

            "Reins deli in CT claims to use only kosher meats"

            I'd like to know where you see them make that claim, especiall;y for their "own baked Ham"

            Reins is very careful to label on their menu the deli items that are made with Hebrew National brand meat, but does not make a claim to use ONLY kosher meat.

            Not the hamburger used in theor stuffed cabbage, not the chicken the roast for their own chicken salad, not ham, not their own roast beef and so on.

              1. re: DeisCane

                In CT the major NY style delis, Reins, Katz, Rye Ridge all show many Hebrew National items on their menus, but are not kosher establishments.

        2. re: zsero

          I know people who will eat dairy at non-kosher restaurants, and will also eat kosher meats (w/o dairy on the plate) at non-kosher restaurants. So it's not so weird to be interested in meat sourcing . Of course I've never seen any kosher meats besides Hebrew National hot dogs and salami anywhere treif.

          1. re: barryg

            Before Sara Lee Corp stopped production of Best's Kosher products, you would have seen thier kosher franks at the food court in Sam's Clubs nationwide.

            5 Guys serves Hebrew National Hot Dogs in the locations nearest me in CT. My MIL wouldn't eat a treif hamburger there, but will eat a HN frank if this is where the ladies want to go when out shopping.

            A number of non-kosher restaurants here in South Central CT serve kosher deli items franks and salami made by Grand Kosher in NY and marketed under the Empire National (not to be confused with Empire Poultry) name. Again, I have a friend who will order these franks and beans in the local Greek diner that serves them, otherwise he orders dairy such as a tuna sandwich.

            I don't know how old you are or where you live to have an idea what kosher meat products you may have seen at treif locations besides Hebrew National. Until 20 years ago, regional kosher deli items were sold at non kosher establishments, such as Morrison and Schiff products in New England, but with the buyout of Hebrew National by ConAgra, the lack of regional slaughterhouses for the kosher trade, regional kosher deli brands have disappeared. We now have Hebrew National as the national kosher brand and a few small glatt brands such as A&H that wouldn't make it to non-kosher venues.

            1. re: bagelman01

              Thanks for the into and history. Never been to CostCo and most of the regional brands predate my interest in kosher food if not my adulthood.

              I didn't know about 5 Guys. Their website (both the national menu and the local order online menu) don't mention the hot dog vendor but I will stop in and ask if they are HN. Is that a nation-wide thing?

              To answer my own question, here is an answer from the 5 Guys website:

              We use Hebrew National hotdogs which are kosher. However, we've received feedback in the past from customers who said that although the hotdogs we use are kosher, the way we cook them and serve them is not. As a result, we didn't want to be misleading since we use buns that contain dairy and in most cases the dogs are cooked on the same grill as our burgers, therefore we decided to call them "kosher style". Our beef is not kosher.

              Cooking on the same grill as the hamburger I expected but dairy in the bun is a problem.

              1. re: barryg

                If you look at the bun selection in most supermarkets, a dairy bun should be assumed at a restaurant unless it is explicitly a kosher restaurant.

                1. re: barryg

                  Why is a dairy bun *more* of a problem than cooking on the treife grill? The sausage is already treif mid'oraisa before you put it in the bun, which is only a d'rabanan (assuming the bun itself isn't treif, which is not a good assumption).

                  1. re: zsero

                    Hey I know people who would eat a HN dog off a treif grill but not on a dairy bun. *shrug*

                    1. re: barryg

                      And you can ask to put tin foil under the HN dog...

        3. I just called PJ Bernstein's. You will all be happy (or not happy) to know that the meat there is not kosher even from the word go. They do stock Hebrew National Hot dogs and Salami (for those of you who will eat that). But that's it. Nothing else there even has the slightest semblance of kosher meat. 100% bona fide treif! The woman I talked too seemed a bit unsure of herself, so please let me know if anyone learns anything to the contrary.

          1. I go to PJ Bernstein's a couple of times a month. They do a very good corned beef hash from scratch...a meal in itself...chunky and delicious. I also really like their borscht. Regular, chilled, with shredded beets and sour cream and a boiled potato on the side. They also do a summer borscht which you should try. Served cold with sour cream mixed in and chunks of beets, onions potatoes and other ingredients. Really quite good. Last night I had their hot borscht with nice pieces of boiled flanken. Off the charts good. My wife had their chicken in the pot. She specified all dark meat which they were happy to oblige.

            Their pastrami is very good. Their pirogi are excellent.