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Jan 21, 2014 08:37 PM



Blue Star, certified kosher by the Rabbinical Council of Greater Washington, will serve Texas-inspired barbecue entrees.

Kosher barbecue fans will be pleased to know that a new restaurant is under construction and may open in Rockville at some point this month. Blue Star, which will specialize in pulled brisket entrees, burgers, barbecue ribs and chicken, is set to open at the intersection of Woodglen Drive and Nicholson Lane.

“It’s a combination of a lot of places,” says Blue Star owner Sina Soumekhian. “We’re trying to combine barbecue flavors with different kinds of hamburgers and sliced beef, all combined into one venue.”

Some of the Texas-inspired menu items will include standouts like pulled brisket tacos, barbecue brisket and burger sliders, veggie-stuffed turkey burgers, sliced meat sandwiches and combination platters with two or three meats and sides including baked beans, corn on the cob, cornbread, grilled pineapple and guacamole. Blue Star will also serve salads, soups and desserts courtesy of Sunflower Bakery in Gaithersburg.

Blue Star’s location is that of the old Siena’s, a kosher staple in Rockville that Soumekhian used to own, which recently moved to Twinbrook Parkway after news broke that the building where it was located would be torn down.

Soumekhian, who also owns Eli’s Restaurant in D.C., says he was able to work out a three-year extension with the property owners, but plans on moving Blue Star to a more permanent location if it’s successful. The restaurant will provide dine-in seating and carry out.

The main focus for Blue Star is to make brisket more prominent as it’s still a relatively unknown meat, he says. “We’re hoping to bring authentic flavors of Texas barbecue into the area and put brisket on the map.”

Once open, Blue Star will serve lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays and will be closed Saturdays.

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  1. LOL at brisket being "relatively unknown."

    23 Replies
    1. re: DeisCane

      It's particularly laughable at this idiot has been serving Brisket at his restaurant (Eli's) for years.

      Why must the kosher consumer be made to suffer such fools in order to obtain a meal?

      1. re: bagelman01

        It sounds kind of strange, but what he probably meant was that brisket was relatively unknown in the general BBQ world as a pulled meat. The most common meat to be used for this in the non-kosher BBQ world is pork butt.

        I don't know about pork from personal experience, but slow cooked brisket is pretty good.

        1. re: follick

          If that was the author's aim--and that "fact" is highly debatable--then it should have been worded better.

          1. re: DeisCane

            We have to assume that the author of the article did not create the words that are in quotes, but that they came out of operator's mouth.

          2. re: follick

            Sorry, I don't buy it. He is busy talking about the Texas BBQ experience and anyone who has watched TV oin the last 5 years knows that Texas BBQ is beef, specifically brisket.
            And while pulled pork may be the majority of BBQ sold in America there is plenty of pulled chicken and beef sold as well. Just look in the refrigerated sections of your regular supermarket and you'll see many brands available for sale.
            This operator came across as a moron. He is the only game in town for Kosher in DC, but in a metro area with real competition I don't know that he'd survive.

            1. re: bagelman01

              He didn't say "relatively unknown," though. The author did. He said, "put brisket on the map," which to me implies bringing it to the DC area.

              Is this an article or press release?

              1. re: DeisCane

                If it is a press release, it's very poorly written and he should get his money back.

                "The main focus for Blue Star is to make brisket more prominent as it’s still a relatively unknown meat, he says."
                As written, brisket being a relatively unknown meat is attributed to Soumekhian.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  Strange, I don't see any quotation marks on my screen. Agree about the press release point. It's terribly written. So koshergourmetmart, did it look like an article or press release on koshernexus?

                  1. re: DeisCane

                    I placed the quotation marks around what I copied and pasted. The use of He says before the period shows that the author is attributing the remark to Soumekhian............

                    No matter who said it, it's nonsense

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      How interesting....i thought a bris kit was what mohels bring to circumcisions. I've been wandering all over and can't seem to find any bris kits on the map? But seriously, if these guys can pump out quality que, it's great news for the DC area. I am interested to see if he plans to do this for real or instead goes the electric/gas BS bbq route which most kosher "bbq" joints have gone. Excited to hear more!

                      1. re: gotcholent

                        I think he was confused about the bris kit because he's a S'fard. They don't distinguish the Taf and Saf.
                        You have to use the time machine function in your search engine and set for pre-1948 parameters to find a bris kit.

                        Knife, Red Wine, white swadling cloth--later to be made into a Wimpel for the Torah....

                        As for your second point, I doubt he'll do a real wood smoker in a location he hopes to leave in short order. BUT I would think it really depends on local zoning and fire ordinances. AND the landlord. I don't know that I'd want a tenant smoking with wood in my building.

                        Plus we have all those NO SMOKING regulations in restaurants.

                        1. re: bagelman01

                          Well Texas BBQ is all about 100% wood smoked meats. And even here in NYC with the EPA breathing down everyone's necks, there are amazingly talented pitbosses running joints (treif) like Mighty Quins, John Brown BBQ and Briskettown who have spent big bucks on state of the art filtration systems to do it right. Go big or go home is my humble opinion. Either way, I wish these guys much mazal and am excited to see this love all things smoked spreading. Show me a smoke ring and even I'd make the long drive down to check it out!

                          1. re: gotcholent

                            I absolutely agree with you about doing it right or not at all. I just don't know if the economics of a kosher BBQ place in greater Washington could justify the expense to do so.
                            I wish them luck and hopefully I'll get to try their offerings on a future trip to DC.

                        2. re: gotcholent

                          There you go again. Ole Hickory, Southern Pride, there are many great smokers, and all of the professional brands dio a great job. Now don't go dissing the gas and or electric rotisseries and convection smokers. However, if you want to dis the liquid smoke misters of some of the more industrial units, by all means go right ahead. Not one pitmaster I know of began smoking on an electric or gas fired model. They chose them after they already had experience smoking on an offset.

                        1. re: koshergourmetmart

                          Heck yes.....check these guys out! I'm pretty proud to say that there are at least two other REAL 100% wood fired bbq rigs now operating in the kosher world.... and Aint nothing like the real thing baby!!!

                          1. re: gotcholent

                            So how's South Side? Looks good in the pics. I told my sons that if they're there (Youngest son is trying to schedule a fahrher on his Shatnez testing so will be up from Baltimore some time or another, older goes to Lakewood occasionally

                2. re: follick

                  Also, I would add that both smoked and BBQ brisket recipes are uncommon in the kosher market (My grandmother didn't exactly have a smoker for making her typical crockpot brisket recipe for Friday night Sabbath dinner). Sina, one of the owners, has been in the kosher business for quite a while, so I think that's what he might have meant.

                  1. re: dnheller

                    I think you are sadly confused and confusing smoked brisket and BBQ.

                    That classic kosher deli meat: Pastrami is the navel cut of the brisket that has been both brined and then smoked.

                    Your grandmother sounds a lot younger than my mother and I was already in college when Crock-Pot (a registered trademark of Rival Industries) appeared on the market in the 1970s.

                    Long before these modern electrical conveniences, our foremothers were smoking brisket in order to preserve it. In PreWWII Europe refrigeration was not that common in most Jewish homes (outside of large cities). Even when my grandmothers started keeping house in NYC 100 years ago the icebox was more common than a refrigerator in the apartment. 55+ years ago, I remember my great grandmother in Brooklyn keeping things 'cool' on the fire escape of her apartment. Smoked and other preserved food was a health necessity.

                    That Crock-Pot brisket is a very modern late 20th century invention.

                    In fact many of my generation's grandmothers had wood or coal fueled cook stoves and smoking was quite common. Only in city apartments after the 1920/30s did gas stoves become common. Electric ranges are a post WWII single family home phenomenom which later spread to suburban developments where gas lines were not common.

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      Not confused with respect to Blue Star. Their menu offers both smoked brisket and pulled barbecued (cooking technique, not type of meat) brisket. \

                      Perhaps I should have spelled out "barbecue" instead of using "BBQ" which, in my (non-kosher days) was conventionally pulled pork or pulled beef that may be chuck roast or another cut, but never in my personal experience was pulled brisket.

                      That's why I think Sina at Blue Star was commenting on the rarity of brisket in kosher BBQ places.

                    2. re: dnheller

                      They are getting more common all the time. I offered both sliced brisket and pulled beef sandwiches at Smokin'! from '08-'10. Prior to Smokey Joe and Smokin'!, there was smoked brisket available in Houston at times, and in Dallas. Later, it became available in Atlanta. Almost everyone offered pulled beef as well as sliced brisket. When I started Smokin'!, there were at least 2 amateur BBQ afficionados in the kehilla, so plenty of people in Valley Village were already aware of and had tasted BBQ. I'm sure in other areas as well. If 2008 was the dark ages of kosher Q, this is the renaissance.

                      1. re: ganeden

                        For the record, as retold by BBQ historian and Texas Monthly BBQ critic Daniel Vaughn, the very first documented example of BBQ brisket anywhere was at not one but two kosher deli's in my hometown of El Paso Texas dating back to 1910.

                        In Texas, if you say pulled bbq, it's beef brisket or nothin' at all. Without having been there yet, I cannot imagine Blue Star's pulled brisket being oven braised but surely a pulled and sauced version of their sliced version.

                        1. re: gotcholent

                          I'll gladly defer to the Texas BBQ historians. 'Cause I grew up in NJ. :)

              2. The owner, Sina Soumekhian also owns Eli's Deli, runs Districk Bistro in the DC-JCC, and Sienna's Pizza in Rockville, so he's building an empire.

                2 Replies
                1. re: AdinaA

                  Actually Adina, he is NOT the owner of Distrikt Bistro inside the dcjcc. It is owned by a fella named Michael Medina - who also owns a catering company. Very different style from Sina and Eli's. Much more upmarket.

                  1. re: HungryJewBoy

                    That's correct. Medina owns and runs Distrikt Bistro (the "k" substituted for "c" is for "kosher") at the DCJCC, which serves excellent food, and The Kosher Kitchen catering business, which is also very good. Sina own's Eli's Deli and Blue Star

                2. The original comment has been removed
                  1. "It’s a combination of a lot of places,”

                    That sounds like a good premise for a restaurant...