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JEZEBEL REVIEW

I'd been eagerly awaiting the opening of Jezebel for a number of months, so was happy to get a reservation for the Sunday night (7/16) of their second week for me, my g-friend and 2 other friends.

As my girlfriend and I were a few minutes early, the hostess offered us the option of having a cocktail in the downstairs lounge before seating us upstairs. We followed her through the curtains into a very lux and intimate lounge area. There were about 10 tables set up in the lounge area with a velvet-lined bench running around the perimeter (a/c seemed not to be fully functioning, but I assume that was just one of the kinks that will be worked out). There was a very sensual, hip vibe to the lounge and service was attentive. We were immediately handed drink menus, with a small but sufficient cocktail menu. I'm not a drinker, but my girlfriend ordered the "Kosha Nostra" which she thoroughly enjoyed. While we were sitting and enjoying the atmosphere, one of the restaurant's owners, Menachem, came by to introduce himself - which we thought was a classy gesture (he also came by during our meal to check on us)

The rest of our party arrived, and we then proceeded upstairs to the dining area. The room had a very hip/trendy vibe. We were seated in one of the banquettes toward the back of the room - and the large dining area looked to me to contain a mix of 70% tables/30% banquets.

When our party of 4 was seated, the waiter presented us with drink menus (but no food menu?). We asked for the food menu and he promptly brought them for the table. I ordered the "Jewish Italian Wedding Soup", which I loved. It is initially presented sans broth as 4 chicken meatballs on a bed of vegetables and once it is placed in front of you, another waiter comes along with a teapot of broth and proceeds to pour it. The meatballs (and broth) were delicious, with a delightful lemon "kick". The rest of the table ordered the Israeli Couscous Risotto to share - I had a few bites and definitely enjoyed it (as did the rest of the table).

For the main course I and another person at the table ordered the Orange Glazed Duck Breast and Duck Confit - the duck breast was served sliced and I found it to be good (though a little chewy). The confit was not what I expected in terms of presentation (bits of duck sprinkled amongst some vegetables - but it was very flavorful and delicious). As an FYI - the portion sizes are not tremendous, but are reasonably sized. My girlfriend had the lamb burger which was served on foccaccia bread. Although she "ate around the bread" - she definitely enjoyed the burger (particularly the accompanying spicy chipotle sauce). She did share a few bites of the burger with me, but it was lost on me, as I do not enjoy lamb. The other person in our party ordered the Arctic Char - when I initially advised against doing so (as I don't believe Sunday is a good day to order fish at a Kosher restaurant) he checked with our waiter who found out from the chef that the fish was fresh. I am highly allergic to fish so will have to take his word, but he definitely enjoyed his meal.

My only suggestions for the menu 1) the menu selection seemed rather limited, so would encourage offering more menu items and 2) given that restaurant is in opening stages and that management wants to differentiate themselves from other kosher restaurants, why not offer a sampling plate that allows diners to sample all menu items?

As I noted above, since portions sizes were definitely not the overstuffed/2nd Ave deli variety, we definitely had room for dessert. As I am a dessert person, I did find the dessert menu to be rather small (choice of chocolate cake/angel's food cake/olive oil cake). However, before we ordered a friend of mine (who is a bit of an "insider" at the restaurant) gave me some good advice - "although you probably want to go for the chocolate cake, go with the olive oil cake" . I'm glad I listened to him, as I found the cake to be delicious (and not something I otherwise would have ordered)

In summary, I found the food to be very good (by both kosher and non-kosher standards), though they probably need to expand the menu selection. Service was generally good (although there were a few very minor hiccups when you could tell that they were in their second week of full service). Restaurant has a cool/downtown vibe - can def take non-kosher guests w/o embarrassment - though some may prefer that the noise/music volume be turned down slightly.

I very much enjoyed my experience and look forward to future visits (hopefully with an expanded menu).

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  1. Sounds great! Can't wait to check it out!

    1. Where in Manhattan is it?

      1. The Times wrote up the bar and the challenges of making kosher cocktails. Moshe/gotchulent, I'm sure you guys have experienced similar challenges.

        http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.co...

        1. We had almost identical experiences! We too had Sunday night reservations, arrived a bit early and went to the lounge, where I ordered a cocktail (I don't remember the name, but it was the first on the menu and had almond milk in it)! When our friends came, we were seated upstairs at a table. Three of us had the Italian Wedding Soup. We all loved it, but no "lemon kick" for me. My husband had the lamb agnoletti...ravioli...which were delicious. Menachem stopped by, apparently recognizing one of our friends from a different event. I ordered the bronzino, which was fantastic...but the slices of potato beneath it were a tad undercooked. My table mates had the chicken (OK), steak (cooked perfectly) and duck (YUM). The chocolate dessert was delicious, but ridiculously rich...I could only eat half. The angel food came with anise meringues, which were odd, and the cake had an odd spongy texture. Only 3 complaints, all service related. They didn't serve the rolls until we asked for them AFTER they had taken away the bread plates, our friend had to ask for ketchup THREE times until it was brought, my place was set with a butter knife instead of a regular knife. I know the bronzino was tender, but really?
          All in all, a terrific experience, would love to go back when they expand the menu...or YES, a tasting menu...but I give it 6 months - 1 year until it goes belly up...

          2 Replies
          1. re: DebbyT

            Fish is supposed to be served with a fish knife, which looks a little like an old fashioned butter knife. Are you sure you didn't have a fish knife?

             
            1. re: DeisCane

              Well, now I feel stupid. It totally looked like a butter knife, and they did NOT give me a fish fork. Same size as everyone else's

          2. Well, we went, and I'm not sure that it lived up to all the hype.

            It's very Soho, the crowd, the decor. Probably the best-looking kosher place in the city. Even Woody Allen looked good in the wall mural where he was cast as Jesus in the Last Supper.

            The service, however, was more willing than able. Perhaps the staff needs training to learn, for example, to bring all of the appetizers or all of the main courses to a party of four simultaneously. And to bring coffee to two of the people who ordered it, but not to the other two. Even when reminded once, twice, until we finally gave up.

            It's very noisy, that's designed in. But it can make it hard to converse.

            But I went for the food, not the design.

            The food was good. Not better than Solo, La Marais, Tevere 84 or Mike's. Not interesting or exciting. Not memorable. Just good.

            We started with the Italian wedding soup (just chicken meatballs in a broth that had lots of umami but was oversalted), a cerviche (fruity, pleasant), a very good beet salad and an outstanding duck rillette.

            The duck in orange sauce, chicken Milanese, lamb burger, and grilled fish were all very good. We split one olive oil cake and one chocolate, and divided each into four (the waiter provided four plates and forks without having to be asked) opinions on both were mixed. I didn't finish my little quarter-piece of either, although I have a notorious sweet tooth.

            If I had just walked in, I would have said that it was a very good diner, and it was. But after all that hype...

            6 Replies
            1. re: AdinaA

              What hype? All I saw was a bunch of chowhounders going on about mevushal / non-mevushal, why they named it Jezebel, the Kashrus of live music and how long it would last. I wasn't blown away by the food either, but any hype started on these pages.

              1. re: psycomp

                There's been a lot of hype in the press, which is unusual for a kosher restaurant. Their PR people have done a good job.

                1. re: GilaB

                  Respectfully, hype and press aren't the same thing.

                  1. re: psycomp

                    There really has been a lot, the times, the Daily News, this headline in New York Magazine "First Look at Jezebel, Bringing Glam Kosher to Soho" Here's the opening "Elegant Kosher restaurant Jezebel is the latest entry into the Jewish-food trend that now includes Kutsher's, La Vara, Jack's Wife Freda, and others. Cafe Boulud alum and former Food & Wine Best New Chef Bradford Thompson is behind the stove — last night he whipped up a Kosher menu that included lamb agnoletti, arctic char, and filet of beef for two (an abbreviated version of the final lineup) for such luminaries as Russell Simmons (who led a prayer with Rabbi Marc Schneier) and Princess Sharis of Abu Dhabi, who attended..."

                    That's hype.

                    1. re: AdinaA

                      Too much hype can get you into trouble as well, even when YOU DO have the food to back it up;-) Food critics generally wait at least 3 months before giving their say on a new joint...the jury should be out on this one, still want to to go.

                      *written by a chef/caterer...absolutely no connection to JEZEBEL or staff...trying not to upset the CH mods.*

                      1. re: gotcholent

                        That's true. A new kitchen can take a while to settle in. And the staff certainly needs additional training.

                        But I'm not a food critic. Just someone who enjoys food.

            2. More hype

              http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-...

              This is actually pretty accurate. It's a trendy, upscale place, with lots of apparently non-Jewish customers because it really looks and feels like a hot, downtown nightspot.

              1. Went last night to Jezebel for my birthday dinner. The place was packed and we could not get a reservation until 9pm. We hung out in the lounge for about an hour before the reservation and had some drinks and I was pretty impressed with the lounge. I have to go to numerous cocktail hours for my job and I have to say the service, atmosphere, and quality of drinks were equivalent to the ones I have to go to for work. As for dinner, I had the lamb burger & my companion had the 16 oz steak. Both were very nice. The place seemed very busy to me & my date but the waiter said that it was a "down night". I had not mentioned to the waiter that it was my birthday, but at the end of the meal we were chatting with the waiter and he joked around that we should return for our birthdays so I said that it was actually my birthday. He wanted to give us desserts on the house in honor of it, but we declined. We were not hungry, but he brought over the blueberry lime sorbet with a candle anyway. It was divine. Perfect end to a heavy meal.

                Also, the waiter mentioned that they are still working out the opening of the restaurant kinks but once things are running smoothly they will be open business lunches.

                2 Replies
                1. re: zeesie

                  Give the waiter some props. Do you remember his name?

                  1. re: cappucino

                    Unfortunately I do not remember his name.

                2. They just sent me an email announcing that they will be open this Friday. For Fashion Week. The email and the price signal a pretty spectacular Shabbat.

                  Had an amusing thought this week at Pardes, which was that our table had the only dowdy frum people in the room. Everyone else was the young, hip, not visibly frum crowd Jezebel is pitching for.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: AdinaA

                    Oops.

                    Jezebel just sent out a second email, Apologizing for the first.

                    I now have the email address of every Jew in New York who can afford to eat at Jezebel.

                    I guess they haven't worked the all the kinks out yet.

                    1. re: AdinaA

                      Having used email to reserve a table, I could tell their "infrastructure" was amateur at best.

                      1. re: DeisCane

                        After seeing AdinaA's post on Tuesday about them being open this Shabbat, I e mailed the reservation e mail for more information. I'm still waiting for a response.

                        I guess I better start cooking for Shabbat.

                      2. re: AdinaA

                        Having eaten at both pardes and jezebel I feel I can comment on what you wrote. Pardes is a very expensive restaurant and herds the clients in like cattle. To make it worse, there was no air conditioning this summer. The decor is quite lacking and when I called for reservations it took 5 messages before I got a call back. I'm not sure why "dowdy frum people" want to pay so much for that sort of treatment but the experience at Jezebel matched the high quality food.

                        1. re: uropsych

                          Because some of us dowdy frum people are serious foodies, and the chef at Pardes is an artist.

                          The prices are amazingly low for the level of performance cooking Chef Moshe delivers. I assume that the modest space and Brooklyn location keeps prices down.

                          The AC has worked fine when I have been there on hot summer nights. Not, of course, well enough to cool the area immediately adjacent to the kitchen.

                          The dazzle of Jezebel is fun. But we dowdy frum people know world-class food when we taste it. Pardes is the best and most exciting food in any kosher restaurant in the Western Hemisphere. (And yes, bubbele, I eat in Buenos Aires, Toronto and California)

                          1. re: AdinaA

                            I agree adina, and I was at parades last week and AC was working fine. I'm not a dowdy frum person and whenever I've been there I've seen a great mix of people. Right now, there is no place that comes close to parades as far as creativity and taste goes. I love the location, there's parking!

                            1. re: AdinaA

                              Adina,

                              Like you, I've been to both. Pardes is for serious eating, a place I go with very close friends in a small group.

                              Jezebel is a place I'd go with business associates, a mixed group where the minority requires kosher food, or my 'hip' 24 year old daughter and her beautiful friends (they'd never tolerate the non-hip Pardes, and though 'hip' are not sophisticated enough to appreciate the cuisine at Pardes.

                              1. re: bagelman01

                                Wise.

                                Although I do recommend taking non-Jewish business colleagues to Pardes if they are at all serious about food. Beats a round of golf any day for cementing a relationship. But only if the colleague is a foodie.

                                And it is guaranteed to blow the mind of any Jewish foodie colleague who "knows" kosher food only from childhood.

                      3. Jezebel is a really beautiful place. Eating there is an experience and fun. The food is nothing exceptional. We were disapointed with the food in that it was just fine, though we paid top dollar. Still had a great time, I don't think they need to step the game up on the food because people will be happy to dine there for other reasons. For a mind blowing culinary experience try ETC steakhouse.

                        1. I went Sunday night with a group of 4. Thought the reservation process was fine, they emailed me back right away to confirm and asked if we were celebrating anything special. I emailed back that we would be celebrating my mother’s birthday that night. One disappointment I had is I looked at their menu on the website and spotted something I thought I would like, but when we got there it was not on the actual menu.

                          We shared two appetizers, the Braised lamb agnolotti – basically lamb ravioli and duck rilletts, which was more of a pate of shredded duck with little crostini and turnip chips. The texture was more of like a chunky tuna salad. For the mains we got the boneless rib eye steaks - all cooked perfectly to specification and the lamb burger, which came with this wonderful sun-dried tomato condiment. For dessert I got the dark chocolate caramel tart where the sea salt was the perfect counter balance to the sweet caramel.

                          Basically overall it very good food, and even if something was not to my taste didn't mean it was bad, just something I would not really appreciate, like the olive oil cake with lavender which someone else at my table ordered for dessert. I got the dark chocolate sea salt caramel tart. Also, they did make note of my mother’s birthday, so they brought out an extra dessert for her with a candle in it which they did not charge us for. It was a peanut butter/ chocolate layer cake thingy.

                          Also, it has some of the best service I have ever had on a restaurant. Extremely attentive, even had the maitre de stop by and we had him go through who all the people were in their painting of the last supper.

                          As I was telling a friend, the biggest difference between Jezebel and a place like Pardes is that Jezebel is not trying to bill itself as a 'foodie' destination. They are trying to attract a cool, hip crowd and be the newest it spot for the who's-who that happen to be kosher. So, while the food is good it is almost secondary to the purpose of the place. It is not revolutionary in its food aspect, nor is it trying to be.

                          1. Time Out New York has a review, and it ain't flattering: http://www.timeout.com/newyork/restau...
                            Interestingly, the best-reviewed section of the menu is the desserts, which I've heard the fewest good things about.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: GilaB

                              Definitely not a good review. I don't think I'm running to dine there.

                            2. I just saw the youtube video for Jezebel - a little taken aback

                              12 Replies
                              1. re: ahuva

                                Maybe even a little offended too....what were they thinking?

                                1. re: ahuva

                                  How does one find it?

                                  1. re: queenscook

                                    Warning TV-MA only..... maybe wait till after Yom Kippur for this one. All I can say is the STAR-K would have my head on a platter if ever I tried to pull off something like this to sell kosher food.

                                    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmCpcx...

                                    1. re: gotcholent

                                      Setting aside the inappropriateness of the video, it looks like a perfume ad. What does this have to do with dining, other than that she appeared to be nuzzling a pomegranate half at one point? I know that they're going more for vibe than for great food, but this doesn't really convey 'super-trendy dining experience' to me.

                                      1. re: GilaB

                                        It has nothing to do with anything. Hype.
                                        Was considering dining at Jezebel for a special dinner...slowly changing my mind

                                        1. re: GilaB

                                          Agreed....as an aspiring food pornographer I get it....sexy sells, but what are they trying to sell here and to whom? Hot blonde....poor ad. Then again, have you ever seen a tv ad for a kosher place that does make sense?

                                          1. re: gotcholent

                                            I don't think I've ever seen a TV ad for a kosher place, period.

                                            1. re: gotcholent

                                              They were mentioned in NY Post Page Six the other day. I don't remember which celebrities were there. I think Bar Rafaeli. Perhaps that's their target market, guys. I called that at the beginning. Scroll back.

                                          2. re: gotcholent

                                            Who says it's on TV? Looks like viral marketing. Effective viral marketing, judging by the way we've all noticed it.

                                            1. re: AdinaA

                                              The fact that I only got to it from gotcholent's link, and couldn't find it in various searches on YouTube (jezebel kosher, jezebel restaurant, jezebel kosher restaurant, etc.) implies they're not doing it as well as they might.

                                              1. re: GilaB

                                                Same for me . . . and I tried the exact same search terms as GilaB.

                                                1. re: queenscook

                                                  tis true....I only noticed it because it is tagged on their facebook page. It took me 30 minutes to find it again after her highness asked for it. They obviously spent some money to produce it, but then didn't really put it out there. I still don't get it and that TIMEOUT review...OUCH! I'll still go after the chaggim to check the place out as I figure they must be getting into a groove by now....so far it seems that the Lamb burger is the way to go. I will say this, as someone who works in this industry, I have great respect for anyone really trying to push the limits and hope these guys find the right formula to make this work.

                                      2. This place sounds about 15 years out of date. Trendy dining these days actually is about the food, not just atmosphere.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: barryg

                                          Gee, kosher dining ONLY 15 years behind the times, who'd have thunk???????????????????

                                          But seriously, I don't agree. My 24 yo daughter and her beautiful friends, look for trendy in the atmosphere, not as foodies. Jezebel gave them a place they can go and still accomodate their kosher eating relatives and frienmds while still being 'hip.'

                                          The Jezebel target customer is not the kosher foodie, but young, affluent, hip who either doesn't mind the fact it's kosher, or needs it to be kosher for pops to foot the bill.

                                          BTW, I have been to Jezebel twice, once with daughter and some of her friends to celebrate daughter's birthday, and once with a 32 YO CEO of a tech company. They all loved it.

                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                            Clubhouse is considered hip so that tells you all you need to know about kosher dining.

                                            1. re: DeisCane

                                              Daughter looked at their website and said "anyplace that is so out of date that its website is featuring Pescah and it's erev sukkos can't be withit!"

                                              I haven't been, but I wouldn't thin k it's up to date and hip if Clubhouse is so behind the times in keeping up its website. For the 20 somethings, social media is everything, and being six months behind makes Clubhouse a neanderthal.

                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                I thought Clubhouse had closed.

                                                1. re: AdinaA

                                                  They did. Presumably that's why the website isn't being updated.

                                                  1. re: masteraleph

                                                    gues that would definitgely make them NOT hip or happening!

                                        2. the NY Daily News weighs in on Jezebel - http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style...

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: bigredesq

                                            Ouch. I love the line about 'Hebraic-brothel decor.'

                                            1. re: GilaB

                                              painful, but true.