Old Wine, New... Martini Glass?

By Leah Hochbaum

Published September 23, 2005, issue of September 23, 2005.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction, a three-tiered restaurant, cocktail lounge and performance space that opened on New York’s Lower East Side earlier this month, is a peculiar mix of Jewish and Latin cultures — much like the neighborhood it calls home.

And it’s in the spirit of pluralism that the club’s founders, brothers Phil and Jesse Hartman, created their signature drink, the Manischevitini.

The concoction — a heady mix of Grey Goose vodka, a fresh orange and a splash of the sugary sweet Sabbath dinner staple — very well may be the first-ever cocktail developed using kosher wine.

“Each time we made it, we tried less and less Manischewitz,” Jesse said with a laugh. But now he thinks the staff has it down perfectly.

The lounge, which the Hartmans named after a beloved uncle, is imbued with the spirit of nostalgia.

“We both live in the neighborhood and mourn the loss of some of its famed cultural and culinary institutions,” older brother Phil said over a kosher-style yet decidedly trayf meal of kreplach and deep-fried latkes. “We wanted to pay homage to a lot of what we love about the Lower East Side, specifically its eccentric Jewish tradition,” explained the elder Hartman, who is also co-owner of the Two Boots Pizza chain.

The menu, which includes such kosher standbys as matzo ball soup, chopped liver and Hartman-family-recipe brisket, also features such nonkosher complements as a rotisserie chicken served with scallion cream cheese — a violation of the prohibition against eating dairy and meat at the same time. And there’s also Dr. Brown’s root beer-glazed double pork chops, a violation of the prohibition against eating pork chops — glazed or otherwise.

Though the brothers claim that everything on the menu is great, Jesse, who fronts the synth-pop band Laptop when not playing restaurateur, is partial to Mo’s Pickins, an assortment of appetizers that includes chorizo meatballs, white fish escabeche, deviled eggs, and an avocado and couscous salad — all served on a Seder plate, with a piece of Streits matzo.

“Our chef is not Jewish, but he married a Jewish girl from Great Neck, [N.Y.], and it’s amazing how much he channels her spirit,” Phil said.

But while teaching the chef to cook Jewish was relatively painless, schooling the staff in the intricacies of Jewish pronunciation was more troublesome.

“Teaching them how to say ‘kreplach’ and ‘challah’— that took time,” Phil said.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.