Kutsher’s Tribeca patrons who pay close attention to their credit card bills might have noticed that they were being charged for a whole lot more than upscale gefilte fish and matzo ball soup. That’s because one of the restaurant’s waiters was allegedly stealing their information and using it to go on a $126,000 spending spree.
The waiter, Jaiquan Ibraheem, who has not been employed at Kutsher’s since last spring, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with multiple counts of grand larceny and scheme to defraud. The accused allegedly used a skimming device to steal the credit and debit card numbers of 120 Kutsher’s guests between February 1 and April 30, 2012. Accounts at a variety of banks and credit card companies were involved, but the vast majority were Chase credit card accounts.
All this must be hard for Kutsher’s to digest. The restaurant’s publicist explained that Kutsher’s waiters are instructed to take patrons credit cards directly to the terminal for payment, and then directly back to the table, and that the restaurant has never run into any problems with this — until now. An official statement from Kutsher’s emphasizes its cooperation with the NYPD on the case.
If you’re reading this before dinner, beware: The hot-off-the-presses Time Out list of the 100 best dishes and drinks in New York will have your stomach rumbling. We at the Jew and the Carrot were kvelling over some of our favorite Jewish-inspired culinary picks that made the list. Shelskey’s Smoked Fish’s Clementine and Ginger Rugelach, for example, a tangy answer to the original, was one of our favorites. Another one was the caviar knish at Torrisi Italian Specialties, a chi-chi update on the Old World classic. Nor could we wait to sink our spoons into the Deli Ramen at Dassara, a Japanese noodle dish spiced up with matzo balls and strips of smoked meat.
Another mouth-watering entry was the breakfast burger at Mile End Sandwich, which Jay Cheshes says “puts [the McMuffin] to shame.” We would have also voted for the delectable smoked meat hash, the perfect Saturday morning staple. And there was the old standby: Marlow & Sons’ smoked whitefish on a bagel. Rounding out the list was the spicy carrot horseradish from Gefilteria, a ”fiery, flavor-packed chutney” that writer Leah Koenig recommends in a Bloody Mary. Was there anything that Koenig wished that Time Out didn’t leave out? Lagman soup from Cheburechnaya in Rego Park, Queens, a stew thick with beef and noodles. There are probably a few others we’d wish they’d have considered (the Deli Charcuterie Platter at Kutsher’s Tribeca and Kasha Varnishes with lamb meatballs at ABC Kitchen to name two), but we’re too distracted by visions of dancing rugelach to bother.
What’s your all-time favorite Jewish food?
Whether the thought of cooking another kugel drives you insane or you’re just too far away to go home for the holidays, these restaurants have your back in the tastiest of ways. While some chefs have opted to go the more traditional route by doing their best to recreate one of grandma’s meals, others use the holiday as an opportunity to strut their stuff and put their own gourmet twists on old favorites. If you’re having trouble deciding where to eat, look out for our “Critic’s Picks”
Artisanal Formagerie and Bistro Critic’s Pick!
Gouda matzo balls anyone? For an entire week, Artisanal Formagerie and Bistro will offer a French-influenced cheese-centric holiday menu that can be ordered à la carte, as a prix fixe, or to take home. Entrees include a seven-hour brisket with carrot kugel and cold poached salmon served with latkes and horseradish sour cream. Desserts like challah pain perdu and an apple tarte with cheddar cheese crust are sure to ring in a sweet and cheesy new year.
Details: September 16-23. 3-course prix fixe $47 pp, 4-course prix fixe with cheese flight $58 pp. 2 Park Avenue. (212) 725-8585.
Kutsher’s Tribeca might “knishify” the Upper West and East Sides of Manhattan. The team is talking expansion. [Grub Street]
David Lebovitz finishes he tour of Israel in Tel Aviv. Food porn ahead. [David Lebovitz]
Daryl Schembeck, the UN chef, cooks for people from 193 nations. That’s a lot of palates to please. [NY Daily News
25 of the best things to eat in Israel [Serious Eats]
A knife slides seductively down a slender stalk of celery. A plump loaf of rye splits to reveal a seductive sprinkling of seeds. Tender slices of brisket fall on a cutting board as a voice-over moans “you’re driving me meshuggeneh” before dissolving into a breathy series of “oys.”
Sound like a bizarre fetish video better left to the dark corners of the Internet? Actually, this awkwardly literal foray into food porn is meant for public consumption. It’s a promotion for Kutsher’s Tribeca, which calls itself a “modern Jewish American bistro” in New York that wants to make Jewish food “sexy.”
But does Jewish food need sexing up? Implying it does is shorthand for saying it’s gone stale. But as anyone who’s partaken of American Jewish cuisine, be it a piled-high pastrami or a humble hamentashen, can tell you it’s delicious. And these days, there’s no shortage of chefs eager to tap into tradition and turn out posh matzo brei and borscht-inspired beet salad for brunchers — not that there’s anything wrong with that. Jewish food is still fresh.
Mile End Sandwich, the newest deli shop from Mile End Deli, a Montreal-style deli in New York, has opened its doors and it’s serving smoked meat and breakfast sandwiches. [Grub Street]
Russ and Daughters, the iconic New York appetizing shop, shares their recipe for chopped liver with caramelized onions. [Serious Eats
The New York Times announces the winner of their Essay for Ethical Meat Eating Contest. Tell us why you think eating or not eating meat is an ethical decision. [New York Times]
If you want to skip the cooking this year, and leave the seders up to the professionals, we really can’t blame you. Here are 19 restaurants across the country offering seder dinners. You don’t have to do much, just make a reservation (in most cases), show up and be treated to a tasty meal.
Another perk, you won’t be limited to your aunt’s matzo ball soup or dry brisket. Here, the dishes even cross cultures — Passover tacos, anyone?
Come November 15, New Yorkers need not pile into the upstate-circa-1950s-bound DeLorean to experience the hospitality and family atmosphere of Kutsher’s Hotel & Country Club — a classic of the Borscht Belt. With the opening date of Kutsher’s Tribeca fast approaching, the buzz is mounting, and it’s grabbing the attention of city dwellers that hold fond memories of vacationing in the Catskills. Though Jewish delis and appetizing shops like Mile End and Shelsky’s, and even the quickly flopped Octavia’s Porch have helped put Jewish food back on the New York foodie map, members of the Borscht Belt golden era seem to bare the most excitement for this new American Jewish bistro.
In a recent talk and tasting event at New York City’s Tenement Museum, former Kutsher’s employees, vacationers and even a few who stayed down the road — at the Concord and Grossinger’s — gathered to learn about the new restaurant and sample the menu. “We’d say, ‘We’re going to the mountains,’ and everyone knew where you were going.” recalled Rosalie Reinhardt, now 83, of the Borscht Belt’s heydays. Another guest at the event, Vivian Gornik, a waitress at Kutsher’s in 1958, spoke of how that era came to a slow in the 1960s when families had enough money to fly to Florida or Puerto Rico, “The last incarnation was when men came to get laid and the women came to get married!” Gornik said with a laugh.
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