The Jew And The Carrot

Toronto's Fat Pasha Serves Up Jewish Food — With Attitude

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

It was the Tweet that sparked a virtual feeding frenzy: “For good Jew food, call 647-340-6142.”

That’s the phone number for Fat Pasha, the new 50-seat restaurant from bad-boy Toronto restaurateur Anthony Rose. And with its down-and-dirty takes on old-school Semitic staples — and a healthy dose of humor — it’s become the city’s hottest table since opening last month.

“Some people love us, some people hate us,” say Rose, whose other perpetually packed Toronto eateries include nouveau-diner Rose & Sons and BBQ joint Big Crow. “The ones who didn’t get ‘good Jew food’ said we were self-hating. They can’t take a joke. All of our restaurants have a little piece of Jew going on, whether it’s the schmaltz matzo ball soup at Rose or the versht at Big Crow.”

Clearly, Rose — who sports a “Polite as F*ck” t-shirt in a recent promo pic — doesn’t take himself too seriously. But his casual attitude belies a laser focus when it comes to food.

On Fat Pasha’s gleefully irreverent menu (“Show some love to the chefs, buy the kitchen a round, $16”, it goads): Updated classics like flanken ($24), gribenes ($12), latkes with pastrami salmon ($22), and schmaltz-fried rice ($14); Middle Eastern favorites like fattoush ($16), labneh ($5), couscous ($14), and spicy carrot salad (part of a huge $22 platter); and a few crowd-pleasers, like whole grilled fish (market price) and Cornish hen ($25). And when was the last time you saw halvah at a sit-down restaurant?

“We love Israeli and Middle Eastern food, but it’s foreign. Throw in the Ashkenazi stuff and it makes sense to me — it’s familiar,” Rose says. “We saw what Ottolenghi and Zahav were doing, and we thought ‘Let’s do that, and just dumb it down.’”

But it’s hard to take that statement seriously with carefully executed entrees like flanken with sweet peas, mint, dill, labneh, and pomegranate ($24) and a decadent Sammie’s Roumanian-inspired chopped liver ($16) with schmaltz, gribenes, onions, radish, and egg, served with pillowy challah from Toronto’s Grateful Bread.

“When I lived on the Lower East Side, I went to Sammy’s quite a bit,” says Rose, who cooked at New York hotspot Alias and for a short stint. “We tried to make the chopped liver as close as possible to Sammy’s, which has possibly even less decorum than we do. We use as many chicken bits as possible, and mix it table-side with schmaltz.”

Rose grew up in the heavily Jewish North York suburbs of Toronto, where his grandmother would cook the dishes whose reincarnations make up much of Fat Pasha’s menu. “It was fantastic — chopped liver, brisket, flanken,” he says. “My mother’s an amazing cook, too.”

His own favorite from Fat Pasha’s menu is a dish he didn’t grow up with: Schmaltz-fried rice with lentils, pistachios, and vermicelli ($14) that’s “a hearty mix of textures,” Rose says.

“I think it was really a ripe time for this to happen,” Rose says of his Hebraic hotspot. “There’s not a lot of this food downtown, other than falafel and shawarma places. We’re having fun and making it appealing to everyone. Especially to Israelis. There’s very little decorum there. We’re fun, a little rude, and a little obnoxious.” And what about that name?

“Pasha is a Turkish word that has very little to do with what we’re doing,” Rose laughs. “My brother-in-law came up with it. We loved it. And that was it.”

Photos courtesy of Fat Pasha


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Fat pasha, Anthony Rose

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!
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • “You will stomp us into the dirt,” is how her mother responded to Anya Ulinich’s new tragicomic graphic novel. Paul Berger has a more open view of ‘Lena Finkle’s Magic Barrel." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • 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.