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Feb 19, 2013 10:27 AM

Jezebel going under the OU

Will change name to J Soho and lose the non mevushal wine program.

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  1. I thought they bailed on the non mevushal before even opening? I am confused.

    5 Replies
    1. re: DeisCane

      I don't think so, but then again I only ate at the bar the one time I went. However, the article says that they served non mevushal, and I believe I saw it discussed somewhere else.

      1. re: njkosher

        Back in May, ahuva wrote, "they will not be serving non-mevushal wine - it didn't work out with the kashrut certification." I took it as truth.

        Since we only had cocktails there, I didn't notice the wine list at all.

        1. re: DeisCane

          They had 2 certifications, neither well known. 1 for food, 1 for wine. They served nonmevushal wine. Evidently, it must not have been working out. First, the OU would not allow the name Jezebel. Second, they wouldn't allow nonmevushal. Several wine friends ate there, mainly due to the nonmevushal wine.

          1. re: ganeden

            I wouldn't say R' Mehlman isn't well known - he certifies a bunch of places in Manhattan, and as far as I know, is well respected.

          2. re: DeisCane

            My bad - they were selling non-mevushal wine but under a separate rabbi - mehlman wouldn't cover non-mevushal.

      2. i guess the whole club vibe didn't work out for them -

        1. I have to say that I'm disappointed that it was OU's decision to change the name. I don't think that should be their decision to make. Also, I think the new name is ridiculous.

          17 Replies
          1. re: CloggieGirl

            OU said they wouldn't do it with the name Jezebel. Beyond that, it was Jezebel's choice to change the name - and go with the OU.

            1. re: CloggieGirl

              It wasn't their decision to change the name; it was their decision not to certify it with that name, a decision I completely support. I wouldn't give a hechsher to a place with that name, any more than I'd give one to a place called Hitler, or Mohammed.

                1. re: ganeden

                  Wife and I are happy about the change. Our 24 year old says, she's going to hang her red dress back in the closet and she and her 20 something NYC friends are going to find a new place to hang.
                  I'm not happy, as it was reassuring to know that they could eat where they were drinking. Reminds me of dating back in the early 70s in Manhattan. Lots of great places to go for a drink, but no place nice to eat and drink

                  1. re: bagelman01

                    Really? The name is that important to her?

                    1. re: zsero

                      I guess the Jezebel>>>Red Dress reference is lost on many of you younger CHers.

                      One of my favorite old time (1938) movies, Jezebel starring Bette Davis and Henry Fonda.

                      At that time in high society New Orleans a young lady only wore a white gown to a ball, Bette donned a red gown and was branded a Jezebel.

                      That said, daughter and her cronies found this place, one where they could, be a little daring, drink/party in a 'with it' NY night spot, while still getting kosher food and keeping parents and grandparents happy.

                      Me, I've been there with non-Jewish clients and the food, service and ambience were enjoyable. Jezebel meant something, J Soho has no 'catch' to it.
                      I'll try it again, but the 20 somethings may move on to the next trendy spot.

                      1. re: bagelman01

                        i do know about the movie and I am a youngish CHer. I still think it was an inappropriate name for a kosher restaurant

                        1. re: koshergourmetmart

                          could've been worse. what about vashti? zeresh? lot's wife?

                          1. re: ahuva

                            I don't see how those are any worse. It could also have been Hitler, I suppose.

                            1. re: zsero

                              Very few people know anything about the Bible. To most Americans Jezebel has a vague resonance of darkly dangerous sexuality. To hip American, it is the name of a mildly edgy women's magazine. But while very few people have any idea what the deal was with the Biblical Jezebel, everybody knows her name. Which made it a GREAT name for marketing a restaurant to non-religious Jews. If you want to keep a kosher restaurant open, it's a really good idea to get some non-frum people to eat there.

                                1. re: DeisCane

                                  I think the OU is in the wrong insisting/pressuring the name change. I believe the OU has stated that it will not make judgment calls when it comes to kashrut. It will not enforce workers' rights issues or organic/animal rights issues. They enforce the bounds of halacha. It seems to me that the name of a restaurant is not within the bounds of halacha. Why draw the line there?

                                  1. re: craigcep

                                    one word, Politics. This stand doesn't offend enough people, or cost dollars such as a stand on workers' rights or animal rights.

                                    That said, Adina expressed the business model observation best. My 25 yo daughter runs with a mixed crowd of girfriends in Mnahattan. Jezebel was hip enough to satify her kashrut needs while welcoming enough for her non-Jewish school and work friends to frequent about every two weeks. They typically spent about $125 each during a visit. This is the traffic needed to make it in Manhattan. We are NOT talking a 13th Avenue pizza shop. The girls went dressed to the nines to a sophisticated venue that was very hip and kosher to boot.
                                    I, as a parent liked the fact that my daughter could eat while she drank tempering the effects of the alcohol. Now her mixed group will end up at places that are hip and she can drink but not eat, my worry will increase.

                                    I, also took clients while trying a case in Federal Court in Manhattan. They were 30ish hip business people and not Jewish. The venue worked great. They had absolutely no clue to the biblical reference, but all knew the Bette Davis/Henry Fonda movie. One of their wive's remarked that if she knew where we were dining she'd have worn red.

                                    Will I dine there again? yes if I'm in the area, but I'm not the target audience who lives, works and goes out regularly in Mnahattan.

                                    1. re: craigcep

                                      Because they don't want their brand associated with such a name, just as they wouldn't want it on a restaurant called Hitler.

                                      The other issues you named have nothing to do with kashrut, Jewish law, or pretty much anything else that is any business of the customers. Nobody would associate the hechsher with the owner's accounting practices, or with his own kashrut observance or anything else. Even the waiters' uniforms could be shatnes, and it doesn't affect the diner, so it's none of the hechsher's business.

                                      1. re: zsero

                                        The name of a restaurant has nothing to do with kashrus. Calling something Jezebel doesn't mean its treif. People who look at kosher holistically may feel that a kosher restaurant that serves farmed cattle or a restaurant named for a vixen as not meeting kosher standards. But the OU purports to only enforce the four corners of kashrut halacha.

                                        And you are wrong about brand associations. The OU already certifies Bacos. And I'm sure people have connected the OU to various scandals in their certified facilities, such as the Postville scandal.

                                  2. re: AdinaA

                                    All true, but there are a lot of restaurant names that meet those criteria and do not have the biblical baggage of "Jezebel." It never made sense to me that a Kosher place would choose such a name.

                                    1. re: barryg

                                      I agree with barryg. Most people don't study the bible and do not know the details related to the Jezebel story. That's why they don't get it. They think Bette Davis, but I actually know both Jezebels quite well and I commented at the start that I didn't feel good about the name. I get that they wanted to be a hip place that just happened to be kosher, but kosher costs extra money and the restaurant business is such a gamble as it is these days. They didn't have much of a chance. Probably still don't. How much of an increase in business will they get now? Probably negligible.

                  1. revised website is up though at same address

                    looks like a change to dinner menu as well