The Jew And The Carrot

New York's Newest Jewish Food Artisan — Scharf & Zoyer

By Molly Yeh

  • Print
  • Share Share
donny tsang
Kugel Double Down: two slices of kugel, pan fried on both sides, and then sandwiched around maple farmers cheese and a slaw of apples and onions.

Pioneers of Jewish cuisine have rocked some pretty awesome variations on the sandwich, with staples like knishes and latkes taking the place of bread. This weekend saw the birth of a New York sandwich stand, Scharf & Zoyer (Yiddish for spicy and sour), which adds a slew of wild sandwiches to the Jewish sandwich movement. Most notably, the stand has its own twist on KFC’s Double Down, the Kugel Double Down: two slices of kugel, pan fried on both sides, and then sandwiched around maple farmers cheese and a slaw of apples and onions.

Noah Arenstein, a lawyer with a side job of food blogging and an honorary degree in grandma’s cooking, runs the show. He found inspiration for the Kugel Double Down in the Potato Pave recipe in Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc.” The recipe calls for pan-frying slices of a potato casserole, “I thought, you can totally do that with kugel,” said Arenstein, “in my less refined days we’d do it with bacon and cheese.”

Other Scharf & Zoyer offerings draw inspiration from Georgian cuisine, which he learned from a friend who served there with the Peace Corps. Arenstein was interested to learn about the Jewish population in Georgia and has put these influences to use, in addition to flavors from North Africa and Spain.

Arenstein also referenced his days as a history major in college when thinking up the Scharf & Zoyer concept, “reading about the history of Jewish immigration in New York and seeing what used to be on the Lower East Side in terms of dairy — all kinds of farmers cheese — and different breads… it seems prime for a renaissance right now and I want to make people aware of some of these lost classics.” He sources his breads, like pletzl and marble rye, from Chiffon, a kosher bakery in Brooklyn.

Scharf & Zoyer isn’t Arenstein’s first foray into the food biz. Torpedo Palace was a stand that he started last year with baker Ben Burakoff at the Fulton Street Market. For a month they used a portable pizza oven to make what Arenstein describes as “sourdough hot pockets” but were forced to close once Sandy hit. Smorgasburg, the popular New York weekend food fair, was a natural next step for the team, but they didn’t want to use a pizza oven, so they reworked the menu and got a new name. Burakoff eventually left the city for a job in Virginia, so Arenstein undertook the project by himself, scrambling to earn his food handler’s license and dealing with a last minute need for a chef on opening day. Tweeting: “And of course I just lost one of my cooks. Anyone looking to make a little money on Saturday? DM me!”

For now, Scharf & Zoyer is slinging the sammies every Saturday at Williamsburg’s Smorgasburg, but Arenstein is looking to expand the menu and locations. “The other thing I’m going to add is the gefilte filet-o-fish. It’s what it sounds like… a matzo meal crusted fried gefilte fish patty, with a horseradish and pickle mayo and a carrot slaw on a potato roll,” he said. He’ll also add more spreads, like whitefish salad and chopped liver, to “keep things on the lighter side.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: kugel double down, Scharf and Zoyer, Double down

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • 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.