Lotsa matzo! Great new Jewish restaurants
April 16th, 2014
12:30 AM ET
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Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.

The history of Jewish cooking is long. Almost as long is the history of jokes about Jewish cooking. (A bad matzo ball makes a good paperweight. Hahahahaha.)

Just about everyone—with the possible exception of Jewish food joke writers—will be glad to hear that we’re in a new era of Jewish cuisine. No offense to anyone’s grandmother, but several places are using well-sourced ingredients to make superior versions of brisket, babka, and of course, matzo balls.

Here they are, the great new Jewish culinary destinations. When you visit, remember this piece of classic Jewish humor: Never leave a restaurant empty-handed.

The General Muir - Atlanta, Georgia (@thegeneralmuir)
This terrific re-imagined deli features hand-rolled bagels and schmears like dill horseradish for breakfast. Later in the day, they serve poutine with the option of house-made pastrami thrown in (brilliant), and a vegetarian reuben packed with smoked beets, gruyère, Russian dressing and sauerkraut.

The restaurant is named after the ship that brought co-owner Jennifer Johnson's mother and grandparents over to the U.S. in 1949 after surviving the Holocaust.

DGS Delicatessen - Washington, D.C. (@DGSDelicatessen)
Chef Barry Koslow makes everything—everything—in house at his contemporary deli. The chef likes to think outside the proverbial box: he laces matzo balls with duck-fat serves Schmutzy Fries with pastrami, sauerkraut and Russian dressing; and makes pastrami lo mein to boot. In the true deli spirit, he serves house-made sodas as well as a serious old-fashioned egg cream. 

Wise Sons - San Francisco, California (@WiseSonsDeli)
What started as a pop-up by two deli-food-starved L.A. Guys, Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman, is now a mini chain with 3 branches around the Bay Area. The newest outpost opened last summer in the Contemporary Jewish Museum, and offers favorites like seven-hour smoked pastrami and corned beef and chocolate or cinnamon babka, plus a pretty stellar grilled cheese on challah.

They modestly say that their matzo ball soup is, “probably not as good as your Bubbie’s.”

Make bagels at home with this step-by-step recipe

Coming soon:

Russ & Daughters Café - New York City (@LoxPopuli)
First things first: Russ & Daughters is one of New York's oldest and most iconic Jewish food spots. In fact, they’re turning 100 this year - Happy Anniversary! And they’ve got a little announcement to make: This May, they’ll open their first outpost, Russ & Daughters Café. Only a few blocks away from the original Lower East Side location, the café will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and weekend brunch, too.

Fourth generation owners Nikki Russ Federman and Josh Russ Tupper describe the menu as a "Jewish smorgasbord." Of course they’ll serve the famed house smoked and cured fish; they’ll also be offering cocktails which is something you couldn’t get with your pickled herring and sable.

Abe Fisher - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (@diz_and_abe)
Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook (the team behind the much beloved Zahav and Federal Donuts) will be launching Abe Fisher, a formal-ish restaurant serving food from the Jewish disapora, with influence from New York, Montreal, France, and other places thrown in there too. Among the small plates will be specialties like corned pork belly with pretzel challah.

The duo will also open Dizengoff, a hummusiya, (Israeli-style hummus) spot where Solomonov will make his stellar version of the dip several times a day.


Wexler's Deli - Los Angeles (@wexlersdeli)
Opening soon. The former Mezze chef Micah Wexler will focus on, you guessed it, pastrami, at his 10-seat counter this spring in Downtown LA's Grand Central Market. Wexler promises house-made pickles and hand-ground brown mustard; he's spent months developing the perfect rye bread with Etxea Basque Bakery.

Follow Wexler’s on Twitter and you can watch the progression of the pickles and brisket as they prepare to open.  

More from Food & Wine:
Passover Recipes
Modern Passover Recipes
Delicious Desserts for Passover
Beautiful Passover Fish Dishes
Gail Simmons’s Favorite Passover Recipes

Kosher cava and other stellar seder sips
Passover horseradish – rooted in tradition
Add the flavor of barbecue to Bubbe's brisket
More Passover recipes from around the globe
5 ways to modernize your seder
Passover recipes from Israel, Estonia and India
Stephanie Izard's favorite matzoh toppers
Seder meal 101: From matzo to lamb bones
L'chaim! Israeli wines for Passover

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soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. bribarian

    better bring a poison checker

    April 16, 2014 at 11:35 pm |
  2. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    Not a restaurant or deli but Fairfax Fishery in LA is the BESTTTTT place one earth with the most delicious fish ever. And it's the only place I have ever found to sell Herring not packed in sugar!

    April 16, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
  3. Perry Dane

    Not all so-called "Jewish" restaurants are kosher. That's a fact. But any article about "Jewish" restaurants should at least be clear and specific about which ones are in fact kosher, or at least claim to be, and which ones aren't.

    April 16, 2014 at 11:07 pm |
    • Booger

      Perrila... (what was your name, before you changed it?... smirk)... with the way food prices are going, if you get hungry enough, you'll eat, nu? Besides, the Chief Rabbi grants dispensations in an emergency... as long as you make a donation to UJA. [Said tngue-in-cheek, which Chabad won't find amusing at all.Oy!

      April 17, 2014 at 12:24 am |
      • JJ

        You're name is appropriate.

        April 17, 2014 at 12:58 am |
        • JJ


          April 17, 2014 at 12:58 am |
      • VladT

        Yay......the first anti-Jewish sentiment. Congrautlations.


        April 17, 2014 at 7:28 am |
  4. cacique

    I pass, but I prefer tamales which are also made of masa (matzo) and include red chile and pork.
    However, I must point out the influence of Jewish cooking on Mexican cooking. I promise my self to find out about how it all came to be.

    April 16, 2014 at 11:01 pm |
    • Bubba

      I like your attitude. My last wife was a Mexican. She was a great cook.

      April 16, 2014 at 11:43 pm |
    • SiestaBear

      The Jews did not influence Mexican cooking. All of the ingredients and methods of cooking have been around for hundreds of years even before 1492. Corn is North American. Tomatoes are North American. You are a nut.

      April 16, 2014 at 11:44 pm |
      • Dude

        Not too crazy, dude. If you've ever enjoyed sour cream in a burrito, you did so because of an influx of German migration to Mexico dating back to the mid nineteenth century. Hell, ever wondered why Mariachi music sounds so much like Polka? It wouldn't be a stretch to presume that some of these Germans were Jewish.

        April 17, 2014 at 2:59 am |
  5. Lenny

    Pork Belly...hmm....very jewish..

    April 16, 2014 at 10:50 pm |
  6. lella

    Just discovered that New York has a special tax on bagels: 8 cents for each bagel. It is perplexing that such a tax exists.

    April 16, 2014 at 10:22 pm |
    • Booger

      So, buy in Jersey, already.....

      April 17, 2014 at 12:31 am |
  7. Rabbi

    "Among the small plates will be specialties like corned pork belly with pretzel challah."

    This is considered to be Jewish food?

    April 16, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
    • Booger

      A bris will fix everything....

      April 17, 2014 at 12:28 am |
  8. RC

    Wow-I'm hungry now........

    April 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
    • Booger

      "A be gesint! Es tataleh...."

      April 17, 2014 at 12:33 am |
  9. 1st!

    Heh heh heh...

    April 16, 2014 at 8:58 am |
    • TNT

      Congratulations? Lol!

      April 16, 2014 at 11:00 am |
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