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Pardes Update

c
cappucino Dec 31, 2012 02:57 AM

I guess I am a culinary neanderthal. My husband and I visited Pardes last evening and I am left scratching my head. I appreciated the chef's creativity. I appreciated his attention to detail and flavors. I appreciated my "Aha" moment with an excellent sous vie prepared duck dish. But, did I really have to sit there for over 2 1/2 hours and waits of up to 15 to 20 minutes between plates being served. We ordered a fish, a salad, three meat dishes and two desserts. I understand that they don't pay homage to the usual appetizer/main/dessert order. The waiter explained that he would be bringing things out as they were completed, but--to me anyway-- that meant that perhaps we would be getting a meat with a salad or two meats and then a salad, something like that. Instead, we waited quite a while at the start (we were okay with that) to be served a tongue and onion rings first, followed by a long wait and then a aji tuna tartare, followed by an extremely long wait at an empty table (maybe 20 minutes) and then my salad (which was excellent--loved the cocoa nibs, would have loved that salad had it been served before the heavier tongue and onion rings). Then an extremely long wait and finally an apology a meat dish--the mouthwatering duck. Then...sigh, a wait until our final meat arrived--the veal lomo. Unimpressive and small in portion, but with a cool, bright coconut "yogurt" sauce. Okay. The pacing was ridiculous and--now the restaurant has calmed down a bit. We are going on 8:00 p.m. having arrived at 6. We enter the no-man's land of dessert. The recommended dessert was not available anymore so we order a chocolate mousse against our better judgment as it was a safe choice but because I just wanted a little chocolate at that point and the walnut parfait (not good, btw). The mousse came out after a wait and was heavenly. We were then left waiting again at an empty table for close to 10 more minutes or more for the last dessert. Then...we waited for the check which was, of course, wrong. Then we waited for it to be rectified and then we headed home for an hour plus drive. Guys, this cannot be right. I am frustrated with the lack of respect for the diner. And, I know the food is good, but it was just too crowded and closed in for my taste. Too tight to really relax. I do think that--while the servers needed to work things out better-- the blame for the evening goes to the chef who is aware of his "style" of serving and should understand that his creativity does not make up for the dining experience he offered. Sorry. I'll go get my huge dinosaur bone and go back to my cave.

  1. c
    cappucino Dec 31, 2012 02:59 AM

    Additionally, I just cannot believe that my husband and I never ONCE were given two dishes at the same time. It's nice to share, but the portions are on the small side. Let me have two dishes for two people at least once during a 2 and a half hour meal, chef!

    1. gotcholent Dec 31, 2012 04:39 AM

      While I have great respect for the chef for breaking every mold he can get his hands on....there is no excuse for the ridiculous timing he institutes for his diners. I know he wants everyone to share each dish as it comes out, but that does not always work and is very soup nazi attitude towards his adoring patrons. I went there with my vegetarian wife, so having one course sent at a time, out of order, did nothing for us on our anniversary other then force her to watch me as I enjoyed my goose 4 ways (3 ways were great, the other was so raw that after chewing it for over 5 minutes I had to spit it out unceremoniously back onto the plate), for an hour before she got her first bite of anything to eat....really not cool! With that said, the vegetarian dish she ordered, a pistachio risotto, with jerusalem artichoke puree, teriyaki glazed tofu and meyer lemon foam was the most ingeniously constructed plate she'd ever had out, and we've been around the block!

      1. a
        AdinaA Dec 31, 2012 04:41 AM

        I wonder if they were having staffing problems because of the holiday week.

        1. d
          DebbyT Dec 31, 2012 05:26 AM

          We were there Thursday night. Arrived for a 7PM reservation, and we left before 9. We ordered 4 appetizers, 1 main and 3 desserts (hey, it was our anniversary)/ Yes, it was disconcerting how my 3 appetizers showed up at the same time...my husband was happy to taste everything (well, except for the beef/marrow tartare...but I was happy not to share that one)...but we actually finished eating together. Our desserts all arrived together. Our bill was wrong (in OUR favor), and the waiter was thrilled when I corrected it. Service was terrific, food was amazing, and my water glass was NEVER empty. No complaints here. I just want to go back to try everything else on the menu!

          1. s
            shoelace Dec 31, 2012 07:46 AM

            I've been twice and had similar experiences both times, with being there for a ridiculous amount of time, there being huge spans of time where no plates were on our table, and one of the times- one of our desserts (one of which was not what we ordered but was something that the kitchen, given the rest of what we ordered thought wed prefer) coming in the middle of the meal before the main

            the bulk of the food was good to very good- with a few small misses BUT it was too stressful of an evening, given the pace and the pattern for me to ever go back

            i didnt post about it, bc i figured i had been on off nights bc i hadnt heard about anyone else with similar experiences, but am feeling a little bit better, that im not alone

            having grown up not kosher- ive had my fair share of good food and tempermentally delivered courses- but the progression needs make sense, and both nights, it did not, that in itself showed something to us about the chef

            if it were a non-kosher experience, i would have tweeted about it, but for some reason i feel guilty when i smear a kosher restaurant trying to make it in a world where not enough do

            that being said- i think that makes me part of the problem

            1. tamarw Dec 31, 2012 09:08 AM

              I am still waiting to go there, but I'm extremely bummed that they removed the chef's tasting menu. I've been looking forward to doing that since September 2011. Now it looks like it will never happen. Very disappointing. I wish I could understand why...

              The manager told me that they'd have wait staff help me pick out what I want, but the point is, I don't WANT to pick. I don't love fish. I loved the fish that they served the last time I was there. All I want is a taste of Moshe's creativity again without knowing what it is beforehand.

              Removing that was a huge huge error on their part.

              1. g
                georgeliot Dec 31, 2012 11:24 AM

                Oh man - we were going to go there tomorrow night for our anniversary.........
                Can anyone suggest anywhere else in NYC or Bklyn for a quiet dinner ? We usually go to Abigaels , but we're getting bored as they havent changed the menu in a while.

                1 Reply
                1. re: georgeliot
                  tamarw Dec 31, 2012 01:51 PM

                  I think you should still go there. There are reasons for why things change, and Pardes is by far the BEST PLACE in NYC to go. The food is amazing.

                2. c
                  cheesecake17 Dec 31, 2012 12:04 PM

                  We were hoping to go back for an anniversary dinner, but this is what I was afraid of. We're not such big sharers, and we don't always enjoy the same items.

                  What makes me nuts is the timing. Yes, I like to sit for a relaxed dinner. But it's not relaxing when I'm looking at my watch wondering when the next course is coming out and if we'll be home too late for the babysitter.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: cheesecake17
                    g
                    georgeliot Dec 31, 2012 01:21 PM

                    Any other suggestions ? We only go out about twice a year, I want it to be special , not aggravating. I hate waiting endlessly for my food.

                    1. re: georgeliot
                      c
                      cheesecake17 Dec 31, 2012 01:26 PM

                      Mike's Bistro is a favorite of ours. We did the tasting menu (no fish) for our anniversary last year and loved it. I'm always impressed when I go there. The tasting menu takes time, but it's worth it. When ordering off the regular menu the food is spaced well.

                      I've heard good things about Wolf and Lamb in Brooklyn, but I haven't been. Husband liked the steak and some appetizer with pastrami.

                      Prime Grill and Prime At The Bentley are favorites of many. I haven't been to PG in a while, but it's the best place to go for classic steaks/sides.

                      1. re: cheesecake17
                        s
                        shoelace Dec 31, 2012 01:44 PM

                        love mikes bistro too, and +1 on the tasting menu

                        dont love wolf and lamb, but dont dislike it, just didnt find it to be particularly memorable

                        +1 on prime grill as well, but dont think its particularly romantic

                        1. re: shoelace
                          tamarw Dec 31, 2012 02:31 PM

                          FWIW, I thought the Pardes [tasting menu] blew Mike's out of the water...

                          Mike's was good, but Pardes's was great.

                          1. re: tamarw
                            n
                            njkosher Jan 2, 2013 05:43 AM

                            I've been wanting to go to Pardes for the longest time, but cannot persuade my wife, and since we go out rarely, I dont think its going to happen. We went to Mike's Bistro for the first time last week and the food was fabulous.
                            We started with the ceviche, gnocchi, tomato salad, and mushroom arugula salad. The flavors in all the dishes meshed so well. The ceviche was especially good.
                            For mains we had steak, duck breast, organic Irish salmon, and sweet breads.
                            It was a great meal and the place is not noisy so you can hear your companions without shouting.

                            1. re: njkosher
                              c
                              cheesecake17 Jan 2, 2013 06:05 AM

                              Sometimes I feel like the mushroom arugula salad was made for me. It's my favorite thing on the menu.

                  2. c
                    cappucino Dec 31, 2012 02:44 PM

                    Thank you, all. I feel better. I didn't want to bash him either, but I just felt like I was in the twilight zone and I couldn't get out. I want him to be successful and I want to want to go back, but he will need to figure out a way to work out the timing, order and the whole one plate out at a time thing. He will also need to work on his service end. There were issues I did not even bring up that were a bit disconcerting to us. And, btw, I was very disappointed that we did not have the tasting menu option. My husband had been there for a business dinner and raved about it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cappucino
                      queenscook Dec 31, 2012 04:10 PM

                      Although I agree that timing the dishes to come out together for people dining together would probably make the dining experience at Pardes better, my husband and I don't mind it too much, since we do generally share everything. However, the idea of going for a business dinner, as you mentioned your husband did, is what really baffles me. I don't see how that sort of dinner would work, since, if dishes don't come together, someone is going to be sitting without food. (I'm assuming business associates are not going to be sharing food, as spouses and friends might.)

                      I have wanted to go to Pardes with friends/other couples, but, in truth, have been concerned about the timing issue. In the case of one couple, I know they'd be close to furious if their food took too long, or if each person were served separately, and I haven't wanted to take the chance without knowing what they would do. (I have visions of being banned from the place based on their comments or behavior . . . "no soup for you!")

                    2. p
                      Prozack Jan 1, 2013 10:59 AM

                      I adore the food at Pardes and I've never had a problem with the timing of the food. I did have a problem once when I ordered the burger with the lamb bacon and asked to leave off the mushrooms and was told by the waitress to order something else rather to make any changes to the item. I told her I came specifically for the burger (and the Sangria-heaven!) and if I couldn't get it w/o the mushrooms then I would leave. So I begrudgingly got it without the mushrooms and with a dirty look from the waitress. Seriously?! I just asked him to leave out the mushrooms, not substitute them with anything else!

                      1. a
                        AdinaA Jan 2, 2013 06:06 AM

                        The food at Pardes is fabulous. Was there again this weed with a group of non-foodie friends who dine out frequently in Jerusalem, New York and elsewhere.

                        It is true that the small plates did not arrive simultaneously, ditto for the desserts and that one main course arrived only after every one else had finished their main course. This seems to me a very minor problem compared to the excitement of eating Chef Moshe's food.

                        The restaurant has changed. when I first went spring or summer of 2011 (I think) there were empty tables and non-Jewish walk-ins. Now, every table is reserved and the crowd (I haven't seen an apparent non-shomer mitzvot table there in ages) has shifted to more Flatbush, less Park Slope. But the big change is the demand. Every table is reserved for two seatings every night. And where you used ot see people ordering burgers and fries, now every table is there for an elaborate meal involving several very demanding-to-prepare dishes per diner.

                        It doesn't seem possible for one master chef to keep up with that level of demand, which probably explains why the plates arrive at a somewhat random pace.

                        I wonder if a shift in business model is called for.

                        Perhaps raise prices and reduce the number of tables?

                        Or expand ot a large location with multiple chefs?

                        someone in the industry may know what is to be done. But, as I said, the randomly arriving dishes are a very minor problem when you consider the excitement of the food.

                        8 Replies
                        1. re: AdinaA
                          d
                          DebbyT Jan 2, 2013 06:35 AM

                          When we went last year, most of the place was non-religious and very probably not Jewish (I don't dare guess). This week, only 1 table was without Yarmulkes. I hope this means that the Orthodox world is learning to appreciate Moishe's food.
                          That said, multiple chefs? I don't think so. That's what's special. Each item that exits the kitchen is purely Moishe's vision. That's also why food comes out so randomly. I would guess that the chef is a control freak...but that's also why everything is so beautifully prepared, original and delicious. I, for one, cannot wait to go back.

                          1. re: DebbyT
                            a
                            avitrek Jan 2, 2013 07:35 AM

                            Famous chef's in the treif world do not prepare every dish themselves. They hire good sous chefs who learn the chefs recipes and can cook to his standards. The vision, menu, and recipes come from the head chef, but the execution is done by the sous chef and the line chefs. I don't know how large the kitchen is at Pardes, but if Moshe can't deliver the dishes at the correct time, then he needs to have someone else in the kitchen to help him with the cooking.

                            1. re: avitrek
                              s
                              shoelace Jan 2, 2013 08:45 AM

                              I wish there was a like button

                              Pardes's food is for the most part very good, but that's not the only part of the eating experience

                              meals are supposed to have a certain flow, and, for me at least, I order with that flow in mind

                              If the chef wants a certain flow, it should be indicated on the menu

                              If i was ordering a dessert for an appetizer i could see that throwing the kitchen off, but if the master chef cant handle proceeding according to normal food flow, then like avi said, he needs to make sure to have adequately trained and like minded sous chefs

                              if not, then, in my mind, hes not delivering

                              in the rest of the world people would be talking about this all over the twitt-osphere, but for in the jewish world we ignore basic things that we as paying diners have the right to, and then complain when we dont get them

                              if its a one off, a bad night for the kitchen, thats one thing, and it happens, but it seems to be that the consensus says- this is just how it works there

                              when i went the first time- i went with someone who knew the chef personally and on the way over, kept talking about how he takes his customers very seriously- but after the experience kinda showed us both otherwise- he never went back, i went once more and then gave up

                              1. re: shoelace
                                a
                                AdinaA Jan 2, 2013 09:52 AM

                                I'm already booking my next two meals at Pardes (with two different sets of friends).

                                The food is that good.

                                1. re: AdinaA
                                  tamarw Jan 2, 2013 01:49 PM

                                  I'm in the same boat. Given that I live north of NYC, it's a real ordeal getting down there, but it's the one food experience I honestly really look forward to.

                                  1. re: AdinaA
                                    c
                                    cappucino Jan 3, 2013 05:07 PM

                                    I don't at all get what you are saying. Not at all. I absolutely love food and I feel his is the most creative I have tasted, but I work full time and have children at home. I get up at 6 and I need to have a forseeable end to a meal out. I love my husband, but I don't know what to do with 15 to 20 minutes of dead time while neither of us (neither!) have a plate on our table. Anything important that we need to discuss is probably best off discussed at home rather than literally in the ear of my immediate dining neighbor whose entire conversation we were able to hear including the unnecessary cursing. We could whisper sweet nothings, but even that gets old in a public place. We really just needed to eat a bit more often in that 2 1/2 hour stretch. I won't back down. I think he needs to work it out and I hope he does not get confused by the few people who are willing to put up with craziness.

                                    1. re: cappucino
                                      c
                                      cheesecake17 Jan 3, 2013 05:23 PM

                                      You read my mind. I could not have said it better.

                                      1. re: cappucino
                                        s
                                        shoelace Jan 4, 2013 12:13 AM

                                        +1

                            2. tamarw Jan 6, 2013 07:37 PM

                              I'm going to provide another update and a retraction from my earlier comment about the tasting menu.

                              Tonight, the husband went to Pardes for the first time after I had raved to him that he has to go. He thought it was amazing.

                              I miss the chef's tasting menu, but I took advice of the hostess who gave me great direction on the meals to enjoy. The reason they've removed the chef's tasting menu is to give us smaller dishes so we can try a lot of different things. I miss the element of surprise a bit, but I also loved following the recommendations.

                              We ate a LOT! I'm not a fish person, but I like to be adventurous at Pardes because you really can't go wrong.

                              The two fish dishes we tried (the Charred Aji Tartare, Ume Plum, Rice Krispies, Cucumber, Radish, Spicy Vinegar Gelee and the Tartare of Pine Cured Mackerel, Petrus Pickled Beets, Apple, Enoki Garlic/RyeToast) were delectable. I loved the Aji just a tad more; the rice krispies were a great complement to that dish.

                              My husband's favorite dish was probably the vegetarian dish (and mind you, he's not a vegetarian) - Roasted Squashes, Apple, Grapefruit, Fig Vinaigrette, Sorrel, Cocoa Nib & Sunflower Seed. I, too, thought it was fab.

                              We tried a number of meat dishes:

                              * Shisito Poppers, Merguez Stuffed, Olive/Walnut/Raisin Dirt - this was incredibly spicy, so those afraid of spicy wouldn't love it. My husband is that type. He had two; I had the rest. He did enjoy it, but they are poppers, after all. That said, I really liked this.
                              * Charred Beef Heart, Grifitth’s Bow Braised Beef Bacon Turnip in Triplicate - The beef bacon part was the best.
                              * Beef Tongue & Onion Rings, Mustard Mayo - I typically hate onion rings, but these were fab. The mustard mayo is a little on the spicy side so my husband avoided it, but he ate everything without it; the beef tongue was incredible and was cooked wonderfully.
                              * Pardes Burger Mini Chicken Liver/Marrow/Bourbon Torchon, Red Wine Onion Jam, “Bacon”, Truffle Mayo - great stuff, and my husband said this is better than his favorite burger.
                              * Pardes “B”LT, Porcini Mayo, Avocado - this was probably my favorite dish of the mains. I took my first bite and said "wow." It was that good.

                              And of course, the plates all returned to the kitchen completely clean. I know that for some of these dishes, we would have wanted to lick the plate.

                              NOW, to address the specific concern about time: I got there before it got too busy, and left when it was really busy. All in all, those 8 courses took me 1 hour and 15 minutes. It was very reasonable.

                              We stayed for dessert too, because Moshe makes a great dessert, and quite honestly, we had all of them (thanks ;) ).

                              * Banana(raw, dust, candy, coulis, ice cream) Basil, Arbequena Olive Oil/Pine Nut Shortbread - the host told us that this is for banana-philes, but hey, I liked it even without being a bananafan. The ice cream was great.
                              * Meyer Lemon Meringue/Crumbled Tart, Apple Preserve - this is your deconstructed lemon meringue and apple tart/pie. A little heavier on the lemon; both together were great.
                              * Chocolate Mousse with Porcini(&Cocoa Nib Crunch, Meringues, Snow) Enoki, Aerated Coffee Crème Anglaise - those loving chocolate would go for this. I'm not a coffee fan; the coffee adds a bit of a bitterness to the dish which may or may not suit you. I thought it was very creative and the extra mushrooms made it a unique dish.
                              * Smores,…sort of (Carob/Grapefruit) - this was AMAZING. The carob wasn't too caroby, and everything else was GREAT. It comes with a scoop of ice cream, and honestly, Moshe's pareve ice cream rivals dairy ice creams. It's the best.
                              * Asian Pear, Cardomom/White Chocolate or Iced Tea Water Ice, 2 a scoop - we had white chocolate. Another delectable palate cleanser. Even his sorbets taste sublime.

                              The remaining 5 desserts added another hour to our meal. We never waited more than 5-10 minutes for each dish to come out.

                              Bear in mind that I live 20 miles away, so my commute door to door was 45-50 minutes each way. We had a babysitter too.

                              Moshe does respect people's time, and sometimes extenuating circumstances call for slower nights. The restaurant was packed by the time we left and I didn't see anyone waiting too long for their dishes. We certainly weren't.

                              Oh, and yes, the entire restaurant was filled with Yarmulke-wearing diners. I'm so glad they appreciate the dishes.

                              I'd say it was worth the wait (for me, it's been over a year since I've been there since pregnancy + a newborn kept me away from fine dining in all of 2012) and I honestly cannot wait to go back again.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: tamarw
                                b
                                berkiebtvs Jan 24, 2013 07:24 AM

                                Went last night for my 2 year anniversary, and it was an amazing experience. I did not have a problem with anything. The pacing was great (in fact, I thought it was too fast at times! We wanted to savor everything and the dishes, kept coming!!), the server was knowledgeable, and the food was delicious-- We really enjoyed every course we had. The space is a little on the tighter side, and there was a slight draft whenever the door was opened (its 15 degrees out, so it's to be expected). I really love this style of restaurant, and I think it's a well needed addition to the Kosher scene. It is probably the most unique Kosher restaurant out there, and one of the best. It gets my highest recommendation.

                                1. re: berkiebtvs
                                  m
                                  marissaj Jan 24, 2013 08:05 PM

                                  I remember you- MATT!!! Mazal tov on your anniversary :) First chowhound shidduch= success!

                                  1. re: berkiebtvs
                                    c
                                    cappucino Jan 25, 2013 06:47 AM

                                    I forgot about that. I knew you sounded familiar. Happy Anniversary.

                                2. a
                                  AdinaA Jan 29, 2013 06:30 PM

                                  Either people on this thread are being too hard on the staff and service, or they have cleaned up their act.

                                  Went recently, and thought the service was wonderful. In particular, the waiter took the time before we began to explain that they have shifted to a new style of menu, more "small dishes" and suggest ordering strategies.

                                  More to the point, he make clear that the dishes would not all come at once, since the chef emphasizes perfect dishes, not simultaneous service.

                                  That said, the rhythm of the meal was lovely, despite the fact that some ordered first-main and others several small dishes. (we all had dessert - the chocolate mousse and the deconstructed lemon meringue were, I thought, particularly wonderful)

                                  True, sometimes one person had a plate in fornt of them and others did not. But, expectations matter and they do now explain that this was how it would be. Also, they don't hustle you , even if you are as we were there for the early seating. We stayed two and a half hours, enjoying every bite. It is possible to eat and leave in considerably less than that. But if I'm going to Pardes, I want to savor the experience.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: AdinaA
                                    a
                                    AdinaA Jan 29, 2013 06:37 PM

                                    One small suggestion if someone form Pardes reads this.

                                    The website really should say something like: reservations STRONGLY suggested. Ever time I'm there, a couple will walk in, clearly having heard about Pardes, sometimes apparently having come some distance or gotten a babysitter, but clearly never having encountered the idea that a kosher place can require and strictly respect reservations. It would be nice to warn them.

                                    I do love that reservations are respected. and pleased to see that they now hold your table for only twenty minutes. Previously, I had seen tables standing empty all evening while walk-ins were turned away.

                                    1. re: AdinaA
                                      c
                                      cappucino Jan 30, 2013 03:28 PM

                                      Nothing was cleaned up. Sometimes, the rhythm works and sometimes it is completely unacceptable as was our experience and that of others on this thread. I am frustrated by comments like yours, with respect, because I worry that this chef will not make the necessary changes to his approach to service and I will not be able to return. BTW, anyone who would go to an upscale restaurant and not make reservations deserves to be sent packing. We got there a half hour earlier than our reservation and did not expect to be seated. We just happened to luck out in that one part of our party canceled which did allow them to seat us.

                                      1. re: cappucino
                                        a
                                        AdinaA Jan 30, 2013 04:30 PM

                                        Among posters on this board, that may be true, but for many people, eating out is a very occassional treat, and it truly is possible for a shomer Shabbat couple to live a full and happy life in America and even eat out at a nice place a couple of times a year without ever entering a kosher restaurant that requires reservations.

                                        As for Pardes, I've been there twice this month, and the service was fine the first time and astonishingly attentive this week.

                                        1. re: AdinaA
                                          c
                                          cappucino Feb 3, 2013 11:37 AM

                                          What day did you go and what time did you arrive? How long did the meal last approx and how often were you without plates on the table? I am curious to know so that I can plan accordingly if we go back for my birthday. I'm trying to determine if there is a day and/or time that the kitchen works better?

                                          1. re: cappucino
                                            a
                                            AdinaA Feb 3, 2013 05:11 PM

                                            5 on a Sunday. We were there for 2 1/2 hours, which includes lingering over coffee and dessert. After the first dish came, I think there was a stretch with no plates on the table, we were having such a good time that I'm not certain.

                                    2. queenscook Feb 3, 2013 10:48 AM

                                      Going tonight, Feb 3. Anyone have any recommendations from what's likely to be on the menu tonight?

                                      15 Replies
                                      1. re: queenscook
                                        queenscook Feb 4, 2013 05:07 PM

                                        I'll respond to my own post to report on our wonderful dinner last night. I'm not sure how many times my husband and I have been to Pardes now, but we both agreed that this was probably our best visit. We loved practically everything we chose.

                                        We started with a salad of roasted kabocha squash, apple, grapefruit, fig vinaigrette, cocoa nib, & sunflower seeds. Such an interesting mix of flavors, textures, and temperatures. We also had the parsnip soup with chestnuts. I'm normally not a parsnip fan other than when it's roasted on a baking sheet like baked fries, but this soup was thick and creamy and somewhat coconutty. I'm wondering if Chef Moshe used coconut milk as part of the base?

                                        Now that the menu has many choices of smaller dishes, we weren't sure how many to order, but there were so many we wanted to try, we thought four for the two of us seemed OK. The two wait-staff people that we were dealing with were very helpful, and had good advice when we asked about things like how many dishes to order. Since we weren't considering any of the larger dishes, like pizza, they thought the four we were leaning towards would be a reasonable amount. I must admit that even though they were not overly large, we may have overdone it a bit, but it's hard to resist when you know that you may never get a chance to taste a particular dish, if you don't jump on it when you're there.

                                        So, here's what we had:
                                        1. Wings, apple, thyme, molasses, yam, lamb bacon
                                        2. Fried oyster mushrooms, spicy veal, spinach, pickled cherry pepper sauce
                                        3. Beef tongue & onion rings, mustard mayo
                                        4. Lamb shoulder, roasted in vinegar & quince, kholrabi puree & chocroute
                                        The order above goes up in order of how much I enjoyed them, though my husband's order does not match mine; I think he enjoyed the tongue the most. I am not really so skilled in describing the dishes, but they were all creative, and a wonderful mix of the unexpected.

                                        We decided to have two desserts, and a scoop of "White Chocolate/Cardamom."
                                        1. Sunchokes (flan, marron glace', candied chip), shortbread, blood orange
                                        2. Chocolate mousse with porcini (& cocoa nib crunch,
                                        meringues, snow), enoki, coffee crème Anglaise

                                        Both were great, though my husband didn't love the sunchoke flan as much as I did. I wasn't taken with the enoki in the chocolate mousse dish, and at first I thought the coffee crème Anglaise had too strong of a coffee flavor (I am not a coffee lover), but when I ate it along with the chocolate mousse instead of each separately, it was wonderful. To our surprise, after we finished the second dessert, the server arrived with a THIRD dessert, courtesy of Chef Moshe (thank you so much!). It was called "Smores, . . . sort of." It was a deconstructed s'more: a homemade graham cracker with a scoop of carob chip ice cream, a marshmallow round, and carob ganache piped out on the plate in a twist. We had considered this as one of our dessert choices, but decided against it because I am not a carob fan. Well, if you hadn't told me it was carob, I would never have known it; I would have said it was chocolate. It was such a nice surprise, both in taste, as well as to have gotten it at all!

                                        The "scoop" was the only dish I wasn't in love with, but I was expecting it to be "ice cream," while it turned out to be more of a sorbet. I'm not sure I really tasted the flavors as strongly I would have expected. Still, to have had such a winner of a meal, with this one slight disappointment . . . well, no complaints here.

                                        The meal ended with a few pieces of homemade licorice, which was interesting. Oh, I almost forgot. We had started off with an amuse bouche. Truthfully, I don't remember what it was beyond the fact that it was tuna. And tasty. And no one ever seems to mention the homemade breads they serve. Last night's were a really tasty rye bread, and a soft bread that had a topping which I think was essentially peanut butter and jelly.

                                        A couple of other comments. We arrived at 6:30, and were finished with the food itself by 7:50--all six dishes. The dessert course added a bit short of another hour, and we were never sitting without food. In fact, at one point we had a bit too much on the table, but the tables are small, and I'd prefer smaller tables to larger ones, if it means they can seat more patrons. I do not feel they are careless with patrons' time.

                                        As for "non-shomer mitzvot people," there were two different tables where none of the males had kippot on. In the first half hour or so, there were some empty tables, but by the time we left, just before 9:00, it was full. We thought the fact that we went during the Super Bowl might have meant the place would be a bit less crowded, but it didn't seem to have any effect on how full it was.

                                        I was also impressed that one of the waitstaff clearly remembered us, including remembering that we had not been there in a while, and that we had had one of the dessert choices previously. It's nice to know that the staff is really on top of things.

                                        So, in all, a great night. Sorry I missed saying goodnight to Chef Moshe, who was taking a brief break when we got up to leave, but we did ask the server to convey our regards and thanks.

                                        And for those of you who chose not to go . . . it just leaves more space for the rest of us!!

                                        1. re: queenscook
                                          d
                                          DebbyT Feb 4, 2013 06:44 PM

                                          We last went for our anniversary, in December. My birthday is Friday...hoping that the family has made reservations for Sunday...hmmmm...

                                          1. re: queenscook
                                            c
                                            cappucino Feb 5, 2013 02:46 PM

                                            Could it be that when they know you've been there before, they treat you better? I was wondering that when we were there. We were new faces to them. The table next to us was not and their table had plates on the table. I think time matters too. While it does not apply to you, Queenscook, I think it did apply in AdinaA's case because she arrived at 5 on Sunday which is rather early. I'd love to see more comments as time passes before my B-day. I won't go back until I know for sure it's safe timewise. Not convinced yet.

                                            1. re: cappucino
                                              a
                                              AdinaA Feb 5, 2013 05:46 PM

                                              It probably is a good business decision to give special attention to people who come regularly. to treat everyone well, but to give extra attentions to regulars.

                                              1. re: AdinaA
                                                tamarw Feb 5, 2013 07:19 PM

                                                ...though I'd argue that I am not a regular visitor and I've been treated well when I go.

                                                cappucino, the night you attended, there were problems in the kitchen including one that involved a knife and a hand, among other things. Give them another chance.

                                                1. re: tamarw
                                                  c
                                                  cappucino Feb 6, 2013 04:20 PM

                                                  I may have missed something here, tamarw. Was this accident mentioned earlier on in the thread? How would I know that there had been a kitchen accident? Also, how do you know that yourself? And, at the end of the day, if you read the early comments, you will see that I am not alone. I would like to know if it is worth it for me to go back. This is a lot of money for me. It's kind of odd that some of you can't see that. I have waited many long years for a good kosher restaurant. He's one card short of a deck. Let my issues stand, will you? So the guy will think of making a change.

                                                  1. re: cappucino
                                                    tamarw Feb 6, 2013 05:25 PM

                                                    cappucino - I talked to Moshe after the fact and he told me.

                                                    Regardless, I'm not sure your issues sit well with me because ever since your complaint, all posts about visits done in 2013 appear to have been positive but you are unwilling to accept any changes that he's making. And yes, he is. I don't think you're being fair to him. Like I said, give them another chance. It's warranted.

                                                    1. re: tamarw
                                                      s
                                                      shoelace Feb 6, 2013 09:21 PM

                                                      im sorry tamar- but cappucino is not alone in her experience, i had a similar experience, then gave him another chance, and had a similar experience again

                                                      i have friends who keep going back, some who love the food, some who just live in the area and go bc its where the hipsters go now, and all except one, responded to my experience, not with 'oh you must have gotten unlucky and been there on two off nights' but with, "well, its kosher, and at least its better than most of whats out there"

                                                      im sure ill be back at some point, likely in the next month or so bc between purim and pesach, theres a lot of heading out, bc friends are still going there, and if my experience is different, ill acknowledge the change for sure

                                                      i know ive had other places, where my first visit wasnt fantastic, like gotham burger, but when i contacted gotham burger afterwards, they listened to what i had to say, and were receptive, and my next visit was totally different,

                                                      my experience at pardes was the opposite, when i reached out when i was there, and after the fact, one of the times i was totally blown off, and the other time, i was basically told, well theres a certain way that the chef cooks, and thats the way the chef cooks, end of conversation

                                                      that being said- to say that cappucino is unwilling to accept changes seems insane, given that shes talking about heading back

                                                    2. re: cappucino
                                                      a
                                                      AdinaA Feb 6, 2013 07:55 PM

                                                      I truly have seen changes between visits in early and late January. As though your criticisms were read and responded to. See my Jan. 29 post.

                                                      I'm already looking forward ot my next meal at Pardes.

                                                      1. re: AdinaA
                                                        tamarw Feb 6, 2013 09:40 PM

                                                        As am I. I know they are very cognizant about public perception, and I know they do their best to serve every customer, regular or one time visitor, with the best service.

                                                        I know he's listening, shoelace and cappucino. The only way for you to know for sure is to go there and see for yourselves.

                                                        1. re: tamarw
                                                          c
                                                          cappucino Feb 7, 2013 12:12 AM

                                                          I see that you have a relationship with the chef and that explains a lot. As a regular who feels comfortable speaking with him about my experience, I assume you get good treatment at his establishment and I accept that as reasonable. I can't, however, use that as a guage to determine if improvements were made in the style of service. I will wait and watch to see if others post about the wait times before I make the financial and time investment again. I think we'll have to go to Nobo for my birthday this time, which is obviously not the same culinary experience as Pardes, but will be more enjoyable overall. I hope more people who are not regulars at Pardes post in the near future.

                                                          1. re: cappucino
                                                            tamarw Feb 7, 2013 09:44 PM

                                                            I think you're misinterpreting my relationship with the chef. I've been to Pardes a total of two times: one in September 2011 and one in January 2013. I posted reviews for both visits here, in case you wanted to verify. Calling me a regular on that basis is highly misinformed.

                                                            I love the food and tell *everyone* to go there, but Moshe and I have corresponded a total of 3 times, twice during my two restaurant visits and the third time for him to tell me about the incident the night you were there.

                                                            Suit yourself, though. If you choose to go to different place, there will be more room for the people I've been telling to enjoy what I feel quite frankly to be the most inventive Kosher restaurant in the city.

                                                            1. re: tamarw
                                                              c
                                                              cappucino Feb 8, 2013 06:40 AM

                                                              Thanks for clarifying. It's just frustrating to me that he may not change his approach. That will be a shame. There were numerous things that went wrong that night, chief of which was the lack of concern for how we would be experiencing this meal on the part of the kitchen and the servers (who were polite, but made numerous errors). I was hoping that he would read the first responses to mine and actually consider changing his way of doing things. Your comments and others like it (more room for me) are obnoxious and I don't know why you feel the need to do so. I hope the chef believes that there are those of us out there who want him to succeed and also want a better dining experience. You should read some of the threads on the non-kosher board. Non-kosher foodies expect both inventive quisine and great service from their top chefs and they are not judged for it (i.e. "more room for me")

                                                              1. re: cappucino
                                                                queenscook Feb 8, 2013 01:31 PM

                                                                I count only one response to the OP that agrees that Pardes is totally negative, and another two or three that have mixed feelings, i.e.: less than optimal serving style, but excellent food. And then there are the very positive posters. At this point, it seems that all tables are booked on all nights, and they do not seem to be losing business, so I would imagine there is little incentive to change.

                                                                I'm not really sure why people are trying so hard to change the mind of one individual who isn't interested in patronizing the restaurant. There's an expression that goes something like: "Even the best hitters in baseball strike out 65% of the time." On that scale, Pardes is far ahead of the game.

                                                                1. re: queenscook
                                                                  c
                                                                  cappucino Feb 9, 2013 05:34 PM

                                                                  There are two replies that share my feelings and one of them is Ari (Got Cholent) who described his experience similarly to the way we did. I respect Ari's opinions and so should those of you who know him and his concern for pleasing his customers. Pardes will be busy. That's the problem and that's why I persist. I deserve the creativity plus a better dining experience. So do all of us. A bad night is okay, but if you read the two who echo mine, this isn't about a bad night. This is an approach that works at some times during an evening and sometimes does not. What troubles me more is the "more for me" attitude of those of you who don't care if he works on his approach. I like this board. Let's try not to sabotage someone who is trying to encourage a chef to improve one part of his game.

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