Although kosher restaurants aren’t necessarily known for their quality, in recent years several have opened that are not only excellent by kosher standards, they are excellent by non-kosher standards as well.
Using seasonal ingredients, small menus and a splash of creativity, these establishments have perfected the art of making kosher versions of classically non-kosher foods (i.e pork) that will have your pig-loving friends scratching their heads and wondering, “Are you sure this is kosher?”
Boeuf & Bun When it comes to burgers, three things must be perfect: a great bun, a juicy beef patty and the right mix of accoutrements. And while you won’t find any cheeseburgers here, the fried egg that tops the Morning Scramble burger gives it enough creaminess that you won’t miss the cheese. There are also a fantastic selection of non-burger apps, including beef-based “bacon”-wrapped jalapeño poppers and a maple “bacon” cupcake.
Bedford This restaurant, whose flagship is in Queens with a second location in Manhattan, is the brainchild of former Top Chef contestant, Alex Reznik. Highlights include the Bedford Burger (topped with lamb-based bacon), a wood-oven cooked flatbread made of chicken and quail egg and stick-to-your-ribs BBQ ribs. There’s also a nice selection of wine and cocktails.
Mexikosher Another restaurant owned by a Top Chef alum, Katsuji Tanabe, you’ll find authentic Mexican food that is kosher — and delicious to boot. Like Chipotle, you can customize your dish, choosing your base (taco, burrito, rice bowl, etc), the meat and the garnish. Meat options include birria (a spicy meat stew) and carnitas, and although carnitas are usually made of pork and are braised in lard, Tanabe makes an excellent substitute out of beef and lamb confit.
Pizza Da Solo Located within the Sony Atrium, Pizza da Solo makes the best kosher pizza in New York. Hands down. The brick-oven Neopolitan-style pizza, made with homemade mozzarella, can be described as almost transcendent, and has gotten rave reviews from many mainstream publications. We recommend getting the classic Margherita and the Salad Pizza, made with arugula, apples, brie, honey and aged balsamic vinegar.
Izzy’s Smokehouse After years of having to live with second-rate smoked meats, kosher peeps finally have a proper smokehouse in the form of Izzy’s. The smoked brisket, the star food item, is tender, flavorful and moist, and competently compares to the non-kosher competition. We also recommend you try the pulled beef empanadas (in all it’s fried-and-barbecued deliciousness) and the smoked fried chicken sandwich.
What’s your favorite Kosher restaurant that is comparable to non-kosher places? Write and let us know.