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Jews won't pay for milchigs

Manhattan's Prime group of restaurants has taken their dairy restaurant - Solo - fleishig Chinese.

The pizza shop is unaffected.

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  1. great kosher restaurants said

    "BREAKING NEWS: Solo NYC goes from dairy back to meat (serving Chinese) starting Sunday

    We did not see this coming (although upscale dairy in midtown was a risk) but being that this will now be the only upscale Chinese restaurant in all of Manhattan, this looks real promising. Meanwhile, we just got an email from the restaurant which reads likes this:

    "We are excited to announce that our Prime family of restaurants will now feature a totally new concept for us. Starting Sunday, September 29th, Solo Restaurant will become Solo Chinese Kitchen and begin serving strictly Kosher, authentic Chinese meat cuisine in the same beautiful setting as before."

    The menu, conceived by Chef Lin, will feature the finest quality renditions of delicious Chinese food favorites, expertly prepared and presented, as well as reasonably priced. Whether for a business lunch or a family dinner, if you like Chinese food, you are going to love Solo Chinese Kitchen.

    Solo Chinese Kitchen will continue to offer a wide range of private dining options including our best selling chefs table overlooking the kitchen.

    Starting next week, Solo Chinese Kitchen will be open on Saturday nights throughout the fall and winter months.

    We will, of course, continue to serve you our best selling Pizza next door at Pizza Da Solo and Chef Guillermo will now relocate our dairy kitchen over to the Lincoln Square Synagogue catering hall - we invite you to come and see it for your next event."

    1. Adina....
      part of the problem is that kosher restaraunts need more than drum clientele to thrive/survive.
      Many non-frum Jews eat dairy out in non-kosher restaurants.These same Jews will only eat meat out in kosher restaurants.
      I'm almost 60. My mother is 91. We were both raised eating cheese pizza or a tuna sandwich out, but meat only at the kosher deli or restaurant.
      I have 2 Conservative rabbis in the close family. They accept regular cheese and eat cold dairy out. Their kids will eat a slice of cheese piazza anywhere but meat has to be kosher for them. These are typical customers for the revised flrischige Solo who would never patronized the pizza operation.

      13 Replies
      1. re: bagelman01

        I think you're spot-on here. In addition, there is a perception that meat has more value, and so if going out to eat, diners like the idea of meat.

        1. re: bagelman01

          I agree with you.

          Also... A lot of people feel like meat is "fancier" and harder to cook perfectly than pasta or pizza.

          Personally, when I go out its for meat, to an upscale place. I'm very particular about what I eat. At most dairy places everything is so oily and covered in cheese.

          1. re: cheesecake17

            I think the issue isn't that meat has to be "fancier", but restaurants need to do more than pasta/pizza when they go dairy.

            1. re: avitrek

              A lot of dairy places also have fish and sushi. But maybe what I mean to say is there's nothing unique at many dairy restaurants

              1. re: cheesecake17

                i liked solo dairy but i'm excited for quality kosher chinese - i've tried it in boro park and flatbush, not to mention elizabeth, but i've never really been thrilled with what's available.

                1. re: ahuva

                  It could be very interesting. What's available is chopped up and loaded up with sugary sauce...

                2. re: cheesecake17

                  Including fish on the menu isn't really branching out, especially when it is simply incorporated with a pasta dish. Also, sushi is hardly unique to kosher eating in NYC or appropriate if your theme is pizza/pasta.

                  For an example of non Italian-ish dairy, there is an outstanding French vegetarian restaurant called La Table Verte in the East Village. The food is interesting and their current charges are very reasonable so making it kosher wouldn't make it unaffordable.

                  1. re: CloggieGirl

                    No it's definitely not branching out, that's what I meant.

                    Maybe I'm biased against dairy places because I'm so picky. I don't eat fish, and I'm very particular about my salads and dressings. And if I'm going to eat pasta, I might as well cook it at home.

                    1. re: cheesecake17

                      And you just fell into the trap. There is more to non-meat restaurants than fish, salads, and pasta.

                      1. re: avitrek

                        There is much more to non-meat restaurants than pizza pasta fish and salads. But even the old time big kosher dairy places in NY such as Ratners, Garden, Diamond Dairy couldn't survive. How many times do we read on this board about places to pick up a wrapped dairy item for a quick lunch in NY? People today aren't going our for the heavy kugels blintzes baker gefilte fish and herring that were the mainstay of old time dairy places.
                        I'm not a lover of dairy to begin with so I'm going to be biased towards meat restaurants when choosing. And since I drink my coffee black I am not concerned about being Fleischige all afternoon after lunch.

                        1. re: avitrek

                          Please, enlighten me.
                          Seems like anything that's not fish, salad, or pasta is cheesy, greasy or an appetizer.
                          I'm not much of a meat eater at home...but when I go out I like a well prepared steak

                          1. re: cheesecake17

                            When I go out I want a chef to make something that is too difficult or too much work to do at home, or - even better - to do something that I would never have thought of.

                            The chefs at Pardes and Basil can make magic on the plate with no meat involved. I always order vegetable dishes at Pardes. I mean, I order meat dishes too, but the vegetable section has a lot of the most interesting dishes.

                            1. re: cheesecake17

                              Here is the menu for Per Se, including a $295 prix fixe vegetarian dinner.
                              http://www.tkrg.org/upload/ps_menu.pdf

                              And here is Le Bernadine. This one clearly features fish, but it shows what can be done for upscale dining without touching meat.
                              http://le-bernardin.com/menus/#dinner

                              And here is the menu at Daniel, which also features a vegetarian prix fixe option.
                              http://danielnyc.com/menu

                              And that's just your high end French options. There are other cuisines which could work too.

              2. I was in New York this summer and wanted a dairy restaurant that was better than a hole in the wall pizza joint and I checked out the menu online. It was a lot more than I was willing to pay for. If it had been a bit more reasonable, I think I would have gone. It appeared that we wouldn't get out of there for much less than $50 per person. Hard to justify spending that much for what was admittedly upscale pasta. I think the restaurant just set its' sights too high.

                1. I think the strangest thing is that, as someone whos worked both, high quality dairy is more complicated for 3 main reasons. (never tried dairy solo, but felt the need to explain some folks thoughts here)
                  1. lots of balagan between hashgachos as to what hechsher of Cholov Yisrael is acceptable(please dont tell me you dont keep CY this is NY the bulk of kosher keeping Jews here do, so theres zero point in not being CY
                  2 Fish is actually more expensive & FAR more perishable than meat....the hamachi i buy is 18 bucks a lb, there is no meat i buy in that ball park, if you are someone whos picky about fish( i will here concede that many kosher places arent, thats why Jews think fish is gross, & based on there experiences, they are probably right)
                  3 Jews dont understand point 1 & 2, therefore they are convinced that good dairy is overpriced.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Moishefrompardes

                    I think that Moshe has brought
                    up some good points.
                    As for me, after big Friday night, Shabbos, and Yom Tov, meat meals, I often prefer dairy to meat restaurants, and am willing to pay comparable prices in an upscale dairy place, on a Sunday, or weekday. I would not spend big bucks on a pasta dinner, but would, on a well prepared and tasty fish dinner, with a great soup or salad, and a yummy dairy dessert (maybe with real dairy whipped cream, which is usually impossible to get, since, because of Chalav Yisrael issues, restaurants tend to use the pareve chemical canned stuff). I have gotten some really good meals in Orchidea, in Brooklyn, which has been around for quite a while. There are also some other nice dairy restaurants in Brooklyn, as well.
                    As for Manhattan, Noie Duie seems to be doing o.k., and My Most Favorite (though, not necessarily mine), has been around in different locations for many years.
                    Though I never had the chance to try Solo dairy, I believe that I read only one review, and it was only so so. Maybe the place didn't make it, because the food was nothing special.
                    As far as Chinese, I'm not a big fan of most, but I'd be willing to try, if I hear really good reviews.

                    1. re: Moishefrompardes

                      Moishe...
                      your points are well stated.

                      I am older than most of the Chers on this board and was involved in the kosher food business before many were born. I also grew up spending 4-6 weeks per year at kosher resorts in the Catskills and Florida and worked their dining rooms while in college.

                      Traditional kosher dairy dining was heavy and blah. None of today's innovative cuisine existed. It was heavy soups (hot or cold), blintzes, kugels, overcooked vegetables, boiled/baked potatoes and lots of bread, rolls and danish.

                      The world of kosher pizza didn't evolve until the early 70s with the exceptions of a couple of takeout joints such as Chopsie's near YU.

                      Since the 70s kosher dairy dining has become a world of tomato sauce. Bad Pizza (until recent wood fired pies), pasta in sauce, salad and FRIED FOOD>>>fish, potatoes, falafel.

                      They became places to hang out or take kids with unsophisticated palates. NOT FINE FOOD.

                      Until such time as enough kosher Jews who dine out develop sophisticated taste in fish and dairy, most of the non-pizza/pasta kosher restaurants will have a short life span.

                    2. We ate at Solo Dairy and while the food was phenomenal, the service was not. We normally get very good service when we go to any of the Prime family of restaurants, so we were very disappointed in that part of the meal.
                      That being said, I'm interested to see what they will do with Chinese food. I'm not sure what "high end" Chinese entails, and I adore Chopstix in Teaneck.
                      And even though 23 days of chagim have just ended, I'm still looking forward to our next trip to Pardes!

                      1. When I said "Jews won't pay for milchigs" it was a complaint and a lament, not an endorsement of the attitude.

                        Among my favorite restaurants are Va Bene (UES) and Basil (Crown Heights). I also like Noi Dui. I only wish there were more great milchig/vegan places,

                        Speaking of which I love Sacred Chow and can hardly wait until The Hester aka "Mason and Mug" opens.

                        I think "The Hester" is a more distinctive name than "Mason and Mug", which somehow sounds like a pub in Manchester.

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: AdinaA

                          I think Mason and Mug will be an interesting test case. It will be a non-italian dairy restaurant. Hopefully there are enough Jews with expanded palates to give them a chance. Although I imagine their prices will be lower than Solo's too.

                          1. re: AdinaA

                            I was not at all impressed at my one and only adventure to Sacred Chow. Fake meat, fake cheese...feh. But I was recently at PeaceFood Cafe. YUM. And not a fake Italian item on the menu!

                            1. re: DebbyT

                              You don't <i>have</i> to order the fake meat or cheese items at Sacred Chow. Most of the menu is not pretending to be either one. (But some of the fake items are good in their own right, so don't automatically reject them.)

                              1. re: zsero

                                My boyfriend and I woukd gladly pay for a high end vegan or dairy restaurant as neither of us eats meat or chicken. I've been stayingin NY for a couple of months and whike I woudn't mind a good blintz or cheese kugel on occasion, it gets old. However, there are so many things that a good, creative chef can do without meat, chicken, cheese or even fish.

                                I was at Savor last week abd they had a ewally delicious mushroom and polenta apetuzer that my frendss and I devoured.

                                Boyfriend took me to Colbeh where he had fish but they made up a platter for me of various salads and rices with a couoke of falafel balls it was absolutely delicious. And no meat, or cheese.

                                There are also nany vegan places that serve up fantastic food without the usual fake meat or pasta. I just wish they'd get hashgacha o more people would get to experience it.

                                I love Thai and Chinese andI live in Los Angeles where Shanghai Garden and Beverly HillsThai are places I frequent. Both have good vegan and fish options and Shangai will make almost any entree with tofu. Its the best if bith worlds for me

                                That being said, dairy is just not as popular for resaueants, I guess. Even in LA, we have a couple f high end dairy places that do fine, but the fanciest one, the most expensive one, 26, has been converted to meat.

                                1. re: Miri1

                                  Is the hashgacha at Candle 79 widely accepted? If so, it's excellent, excellent vegan fare. Highly recommended!

                                  1. re: noya

                                    I don't believe that Candle 79 (Candle Cafe's UES branch) has any kosher certification at all, or at least I can't find any on their website or elsewhere online. The Candle Cafe on the UWS is under the UKS (Rabbi Yaakov Spivak), per their website.

                                    1. re: GilaB

                                      I mistakenly assumed that all of the locations were certified by UKS. Thanks for the correction.

                              2. re: DebbyT

                                Were any of these "fake meats" tofu, tempeh, and seitan?

                                These are generally viewed as regular ingredients in the cultures from which they originate but have gotten a rep as "fake meats" in the US because they were embraced widely by vegetarians before other people knew about them. I ask because I've not seen things purporting to be meats on the menu (and it's a personal pet peeve).

                              3. re: AdinaA

                                Re: Sacred Chow. In the late 1980's a place opened up on Bathurst St in Toronto called Holy Chow. I was sure that it was a kosher Chinese restaurant. In part because of the location; I did think that "Holy " in the name was a bit tasteless, but hey (tha'ts not "hey" as in "wok hey"), it's a kosher restaurant. Half right. Chinese but not kosher. It failed anyway.

                                1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                  Well, Toronto's got that place called "Haymishe bagels" or something like that, which is chazer treif. That's a real potential for mistakes. But why on earth would one think that "Holy Chow" must be kosher, just from the name?

                                  1. re: zsero

                                    Why else would someone open a place called Holy Chow on that part of the Judengasse if they weren't kosher? That's what I thought anyway.

                                    Haymishe Bakery is now closed; I don't know about reopening plans. I heard some talk. They had a fire a couple years ago. No, they weren't kashering the place at the time. (But tell that one to the insurance company!)

                                    "Chazer treif" is unfair. I understand that all that prevented them from getting a hechsher was (a) they were open on Shabbos (b) an unwillingness to pay tribute.

                                    Haymishe's rye bread was the best in Toronto, head and shoulders above everyone else. Probably the best in North America. Very good in the old days, I can't remember well enough to compare, but there is no competition nowadays.
                                    I preferred Carmel, which was kosher, but Carmel changed hands more about fifteen years ago and is closed for several years.

                                    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                      Then maybe I got the name wrong; I'm talking about the place on Bathurst just south of Lawrence, across the street from the Chicken Nest, with a *very* Jewish-sounding name, that sold take-away meat food, and yet made no pretense at being kosher.

                                      1. re: zsero

                                        You got everything right except that I don't remember any meat but maybe my memory is dim. Or me too.
                                        Give them credit for not pretending to be kosher?

                                  2. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

                                    I think its a pun on the once-prevalent exclamation "holy cow!".

                                2. Indian cuisine is the dairy that I go for but too spicy for most people.