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Oct 20, 2013 05:09 AM

Nicest kosher restaurant atmosphere NYC

I know this question gets asked, but with the frequent changes in the NYC restaurant scene, I'm asking again. Feel free to ignore.

Looking for the kosher restaurant(s) in NYC that make the most effort to LOOK like a nice restaurant. Also want at least passable food, but am more concerned about looks. Am bringing my non-Jewish, no experience with kosher parents there to meet my kosher-keeping boyfriend. It's going to be awkward enough already, so I would love to take them to a place that communicates "look, even though you can't get dairy here, this still looks like a really nice non-kosher restaurant, so please be slightly less grumpy." I don't live in NYC so can't make this determination myself.

To clarify, I ask because I have been to kosher places with great, high-quality food that, because their food was great, didn't make a lot of effort aesthetics-wise. Would prefer to avoid that.

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  1. Is price an issue? If not, go with Tevere 84. It is an Italian bistro ambience. Civilized. If you don't need to be in Manhattan, go to Nobo in Teaneck because they will see that you can get more for your money and that kosher is not the biggest ripoff on the planet (if you think that will matter to them). Also, they have a nice wine list.

    4 Replies
    1. re: cappucino

      Both sound like what i'm looking for, thanks! (they really are nice people, I swear).

      1. re: Lwoods2012

        I didn't mean to imply that they weren't. It's just that sometimes people not used to kosher are put off by the pricing. I figured you wanted to do your best to make them feel good about the evening. Have a nice time.

        1. re: cappucino

          I agree completely with Cappuchio, Tevere 84 is not only lovely and the food delicious, it will feel the most "normal" to people unused to the NY kosher restaurant scene.

          1. re: cappucino

            No, no, you didn't at all!!! I just feel ridiculous asking this question! Thank you all for being so helpful!

      2. Others I would recommend - The Prime Grill an Abigaels on Broadway - both very nice ambiance and excellent food - I have taken non-kosher eating people to both of these restaurants and they enjoyed the food and atmosphere

        I also happen to like the atomosphere at Le Marais but it tends to be loud.


        3 Replies
        1. re: weinstein5

          I love the food at abigael's but my parents are not from the city so I worried they might be put off by the windowless basement situation and associate it with kosher restaurants rather than just NYC

          1. re: Lwoods2012

            Good point - then I The Prime Grill - they will have great experience and their new location is very nice -

            I also would second Wolf and Lamb - atmosphere is great but the I have found the food to be inconsistent - when they are on they are as good as any steakhouse in nyc but when they are off it is just ok -

            1. re: weinstein5

              Husband was at prime grill recently with clients- non Jewish & non kosher keeping. Said they were SO impressed with the food, variety, drinks, and service but it was LOUD. He'd go back and ignore the volume, because when they ordered a round of drinks after dessert and took out some files, no one rushed them out.

        2. I take non-Jewish clients to Wolf and Lamb if we have to be in that aea. Looks like a 'normal steakhouse.

          Click on link for pictures;

          1 Reply
          1. re: bagelman01

            ooh that's perfect!

            thanks for all the great suggestions on this weird inquiry!

          2. You essentially need to roll out all the stops in this situation. The following are the high-end kosher places in the area:

            Prime Grill
            Tevere 84
            Basil Wine and Pizza Bar
            Wolf and Lamb
            Le Marais
            Ladino Tapas

            These are all high-end kosher options, and all but Basil are meat. Basil offers great food and wine in Crown Heights.

            4 Replies
            1. re: tractarian

              We had the worst service ever at Basil for a Sunday brunch, and my son went with friends motzi Shabbos and had similar complaints. And if they put you in the back room it is so cramped and hardly atmospheric. But the food was good.

              1. re: susiejane

                The atmosphere is very swanky for a kosher place (marble tables, candles, etc.) I found it to be very romantic when I went. I only ever ate there on weeknights, and I always thought the service was fine.

              2. re: tractarian

                Pretty amazing that no one mentioned J-Soho on this list. One would have thought that based on the original post, the restaurant would fit the bill given the "atmosphere".

                1. Tevere 84 is lovely and the food is great. Ladino is a solid choice too. Great food nice decor. If you want to save some $$ and a more casual ( but still charming) atmosphere, Noi Due is nice. Le Marais is nice in its way but noisy and I wouldn't recommend it for this kind of social situation..

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: JackieR

                    Haven't been to the places listed above because I don't live in NY, but may I also suggest Orchidea in Boro Park? Amazing service, lovely dining room, good food (dairy) and pricey but not over the top.

                    1. re: JackieR

                      Nobody of my circle who's ever eaten at Ladino has been impressed by the food, and the room is very loud. With regard to Orchidea, honestly, I'd avoid Boro Park entirely in this particular situation, it may trigger stereotypes that you don't want to bring up.

                      1. re: GilaB

                        I'm afraid that one of the things you want to avoid in this situation is a crowd that "looks" too "frum" A high density of black hats and suits can be daunting, especially to non New Yorkers who are not accustomed to this kind of ethnic clothing.

                        I recommended Tevere 84 because the crowd tends to look Upper East Side. i.e., they look like ordinary, upscale Americans with an interest in fashion. The sheitlach look natural and the men's suits look like ordinary business suits.

                        The steakhouses often have a frum-looking crowd. If there happen to be sheva brochot in one of the glassed-off rooms, or some other reason for people at a table to feel celebratory and even - gasp - sing! it can really weird-out a non-Jewish (out-of-town) business associate, let alone a pair of innocent parents whose daughter is - in their nightmares - about to marry Kuni Lemel.

                        1. re: AdinaA

                          I agree. That was another reason I suggested Tevere. If you want casual plus eclectic (i.e. Jewish and Non Jewish crowd) they might cross the bridge to try Hummus Elite in Engelwood, NJ. It has the cool Hummus angle which is hot in Non-Jewish circles right now plus the basic Mediterranean grill food which is interesting to Non-Jews without being too adventurous. The only issue is the bridge and the casual ambience of the restaurant.

                        2. re: GilaB

                          We weren't wowed by creativity at Ladino last night, but they do meat at least as well as Les Marais and are somewhat more creative. It is loud, though.

                          Edited to take AdinaA's comment into account: at least in terms of croud, Ladino was pretty varied.

                          1. re: masteraleph

                            Right. I didn't mean to imply that Ladino has an especially frum-looking crowd.

                            It's just not in the category: nice, meet-the-in-laws nice.