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Jul 4, 2013 06:37 AM

Pardes (and other) 9-days menus

Last night at Pardes (have I mentioned on this board that Chef Moishe is a magician who transports you into a previously unimagined world of sensual delight - all perfectly legal) anyway, last night at Pardes at the end of a wonderful meal that closed with a walnut cake accompanied by grapefruit curd and shortbread shortened with lambs' fat (as always with Pardes, the description never lives up to the reality of the flavor and mouth feel; this was an amazing dessert) I was told that there will be a 9-days menu. Exciting.

Any other 9-days menus this year?

Re:Pardes. Do make and respect precise reservations, number in party. Time.

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  1. My one concern with the Pardes' 9-days menu that I saw is that the choices are limited and the only two "main courses" are fish-based. My husband is allergic, and I was hoping there'd be at least one main choice for him with some protein . . . perhaps something bean- or nut-based (and unfortunately, he hates eggs). The dishes sound fabulous, but it's a bit of a drive for us, and I wouldn't want the hubby to leave without feeling satiated. Maybe if Chef Moshe sees this, he can speak to it or allay my fears?

    24 Replies
    1. re: queenscook

      As a vegetarian, I was thinking the 9 days would be a great time to try out Pardes without worrying they'd be out of things or have unexpected animal ingredients (see lamb-fat shortbread). Disappointed.

      1. re: queenscook

        Same issue. I was very excited to see that they had a 9-Days menu, especially at that price. But then on closer inspection. mostly everything was fish, which my husband despises. If there had been even one more dish that was sans fish, I would happily be spending my money there on the 9-days. Oh well.

        1. re: laurenblok

          I want to comment about fish for a minute.

          I typically hate fish. I had a tuna steak at My Most Favorite a few years back, and I wasn't impressed. I never order salmon, but I'll eat it sometimes. I'll do canned tuna, if that's adventurous, but not very often. (And I'll eat gefilte fish, to cover all my bases.)

          All other fish, well, is foreign to me. I don't know if "despise" is how I feel, but I don't love fish.

          Then I tried the chef's tasting menu at Pardes for the first time a few years ago. I came with a total open mind, but when I booked my reservation, I made it clear that fish isn't something I loved. There were a fair number of fish dishes, and they were ALL amazing.

          While I understand people would hesitate to try fish, especially if they usually "despise" it, Moshe is exactly what Adina said: a real magician.

          I don't know if I'll ever pay for fish outside of Pardes again. By Moshe's hand, though, I'll do it in a heartbeat.

          [As an aside, a few weeks ago, a few friends of mine went to Pardes who were afraid of "adventurous" food. One wife, for example, had to drag her husband who was used to standard Jewish fare. He didn't want to give it a try at all. She was texting me during her dinner thanking me for the recommendation. Both husband and wife absolutely loved it.]

          1. re: tamarw

            When I say despise, I mean he does not like to be in the same room as fish, the smell makes him gag, and he would rather starve then touch fish. I have told him that if he would ever be willing to try fish, it should be at Pardes.

            1. re: laurenblok

              haha, I mean maybe I could have planned a non-fish entrée, but a fish free room? oy gevalt.

              1. re: Moishefrompardes

                Thankfully, he survived last night sitting with my fish dish at the table. Thank you for adding the vegetarian option, he was very happy! Everything was delicious, as usual.

              2. re: laurenblok

                Fresh fish doesn't smell. If you can smell the fish then it's spoiled.

                1. re: laurenblok

                  It doesn't smell like fish at Pardes.

                2. re: tamarw

                  But this would certainly not help my allergic husband.

                  I guess my surprise--and disappointment--is that Chef Moshe has been known for his vegan food, so we were hoping that he'd have at least one vegan main course, which would have obviated any concerns about fish or eggs. Maybe he'll see this thread and re-think? Just hoping, especially somewhere I saw that he says it's usually slow at the restaurant during the 9 days.

                  1. re: tamarw

                    Doesn't help vegetarians or vegans.

                    1. re: CloggieGirl

                      May not help vegans, but then again, Pardes is a meat restaurant so it wouldn't help vegans the other 304 days of the year that they are open either.

                      I know a fair number of vegetarians who eat fish though.

                      The only point I am trying to convey here is that if you're afraid of fish, you don't have to be at Pardes.

                      1. re: tamarw

                        People who eat fish aren't vegetarians anymore than people who eat chicken.

                        1. re: CloggieGirl

                          Only among Yidden. Seriously. Although the habit may now be fading, it has long been common to meet Jews who self-describe as vegetarian and eat everything that can go on a milchig menu.

                          Paradigms are a funny thing. Jews have mental templates dividing food into "meat" and "dairy" It's not that Jews are unaware that fish are animals. It's that the mental habit of dividing meals into "meat" and "dairy" is so strong that it seemed natural to classify everything that could be eaten with milchigs as vegetarian.

                          1. re: AdinaA

                            How do they have lamb fat on the nine days?

                            1. re: DeisCane

                              Adina's original post, with the mention of the lamb fat shortbread, was made last week, before the Nine Days.

                        2. re: tamarw

                          People who eat fish but are otherwise vegetarian are called Pescetarians. They are NOT vegetarian.

                      2. re: tamarw

                        Perhaps you discovered something amazing. Perhaps you do not hate fish, just how the fish was prepared for you previously.
                        Fish, when well cooked correctly,
                        can be amazing, as Moshe has now shown you. Try it again, you might be surprised.

                      3. re: laurenblok

                        I just saw that Kasbah and Shalom Bombay have 9 day menus featuring fish. I haven't looked extensively, I just happened to see these, but I think it does put in perspective the options available to kosher meat restaurants during the 9 days. There are not that many non-meat/non-dairy proteins available, especially items that people would be willing to pay the prices required to maintain profit margins. A dish for a vegan would be nice in general, but I don't think you can expect an entire menu built around vegan options because you don't like the smell of non-fresh fish.

                        1. re: avitrek

                          I don't think anyone was expecting an entire menu to be built around vegan options. But the idea that there might be at least one non-fish choice, especially at Pardes, where Chef Moshe has been known for his facility with vegan food (anyone remember the musician Mattisyahu, who was known to go to Pardes specifically for his vegan meals), was not beyond the realm of possibility. Beans, nuts, quinoa . . . there's lots of protein that a chef like Chef Moshe can work with. Other restaurants might have a bigger problem, because there's a far lower level of expectation of creativity at other places. Pardes' menu changes constantly and creatively; not so with most places.

                          And now, as DevorahL reports below, it seems that that is exactly what has happened. I'm going to give a call now to make a reservation.

                          1. re: queenscook

                            So we went tonight. It was emptier than usual when we arrived at 7:00, but was close to full by 8:30ish.

                            I wasn't in love with everything, but much of the prix-fixe menu was excellent. First course: The "saute of chanterelles, trumpet royal, and hen of the woods with corn, jalapeño, asparagus, and thyme, puree of corn, pickled red onion chip, garlic scape popcorn, and smoked egg yolk" was among the most amazing dishes I've ever had there (or anywhere, for that matter). I really hope it will find its way to the menu even once the Nine Days ends. (I even recommended to a couple that sat down next to us, and they ordered it. Once they tasted it, they thanked us, because they liked it so much as well.) I was not as taken with the Cobia Tartare dish.

                            The next course was a delicious salad of arugula, cherries, radishes, walnuts, walnut oil, and balsamic vinegar. The other choice was the Pardes Fries and pickled vegetables. We've had the fries before, and they were great, as usual. My husband loved the pickled veggies; I liked them, but I think I would have liked them a bit softer.

                            For our "main course," I had the salmon, which I must say I didn't like much. I had forgotten that many chefs feel salmon shouldn't be as firm as I prefer it, and therefore, it was a bit too underdone for my taste. I probably should have had the albacore burger. Ah well . . . The pizza with heirloom tomatoes, etc. was very nice. My husband had most of it, but I had two pieces. The waiter brought the anchovy puree on the side, without me even asking for him to do so, and I liked the pizza with it; since hubby is allergic, as I mentioned upthread, he had it without.

                            Finally, for dessert we had the both the amazing chocolate mousse with absinthe and pistachio/rice crunch, as well as the trio of sorbets (cherry, blueberry, and strawberry-rhubarb)--a very refreshing way to end the meal.

                            I hope Chef Moshe knows we appreciate his efforts, and especially that he added the non-fish entree; I'm not sure my husband would have wanted to go if there was not going to be a main course he could eat.

                            I definitely hope others take advantage of this very reasonably priced Prix-Fixe menu over the next couple of days, and that it turns out to be worth it to Pardes to have done it.

                      4. re: queenscook

                        Pardes has just added a vegan entree to their Nine Days menu: an heirloom tomato/scallion/jalapeno pizza with an option egg or anchovy topping for $17 or as part of the pre-fixe menu. It's not particularly protein-ful, but I can't imagine you would walk away hungry!

                        1. re: DevorahL

                          ok that sounds delicious, maybe ill head over tomorrow

                          1. re: DevorahL

                            I went last night and it was fantastic! Seriously great bargain with a ton of food. With the added vegan option, my husband was very happy. The cobia tartare was hands down the best fish I have ever eaten. Definitely recommend for anyone that loves Pardes or just wants a fantastic meal at a fantastic price.

                        2. Amsterdam Burger had lines out of the door for his seared tuna and salmon and other 9-days dishes. I know that Talia's Steak House had a sign outside saying Talia's Fish House but I did not see what pescatorian delights they were offering.