After three years of slinging their creative takes on Israeli schnitzel at Brooklyn food fair Smorgasburg, SchnitzNYC has finally gone brick and mortar. The owners and siblings Donna and Yoni Erlich, are offering new twists on the classic scnitzel at their new spot in the East Village.
Their Israeli schnitzel, which is slightly thicker than its Austrian counterpart, will continue to be showcased in original hits like the Bamberg sandwich (chicken schnitzel with pickled veggies and caramelized onion dijon) and the Sweet Onion sandwich (chicken schnitzel with roasted beet tzatziki). New comers that weren’t practical for their Smorgasburg location will also be making their debut. Ingredients like shrimp that takes days to make and pork belly that has to be cured for three days were developed specially for the storefront with culinary consultant Stephanie Alleyne. Pork and shrimp, you read those right— so while it’s not a Kosher eatery, vegetarians have the option of a butternut squash and corn schnitzel that’s topped off with honey-sriracha mayo. They’re also currently working on recipes for schnitzel and waffles, a fish schnitzel, a cheese schnitzel, and an apple crisp dessert schnitzel.
The schnitzel loving trio and first time restaurant owners had a relatively smooth opening. “There are always going to be bumps, but I’m mostly surprised with how few there were… I don’t remember ever being in a panic mode, and that’s what comes with Smorgasburg and the years of organization,” said Donna, who helped open Mark Burger in 2009 and is currently working there as the general manager in addition to working at Schnitz. “[At Smorgasburg] we all had time to practice and get to know our customers and work out the kinks,” she added. The team will continue to with their Smorgasburg locations this season.
One of the signatures of modern Israeli cuisine is fresh, flavorful food made with fruits and vegetables that grow almost year round in the country’s temperate Mediterranean climate. So, it might be a bit surprising to learn that Israeli kids are eating school lunches that are as lacking in freshness and good nutrition as some of the worst American school lunches.
Armed with examples of fixes for the problem, like First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative and British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution campaign, Jerusalem City Councilmember Rachel Azaria is leading the fight for healthier school lunches in her city and throughout Israel.
Vibrant Tel Aviv manages to pack in the energy of New York, the leisurely pace of Florence, and a Mediterranean climate to boot. While the political and religious soul of Israel may lie in Jerusalem, the youth and vigor can be found in rowdy yet cultured Tel Aviv. The city is home to numerous galleries and museums, hosts countless dance and music performances, and boasts a culture of culinary innovation with chefs who are on the forefront of Israeli cuisine.
Still, while Tel Aviv may be a foodie city in Israel, a kosher paradise it is not. Meat is mixed with milk, shrimp is served with bacon, pork chops are common, and places don’t like to close on Shabbat. Most chefs who are pushing the envelope are doing it secular style in order to compete with their peers around the world. Still, there are more kosher options than your average American city and the quality far surpasses that of your typical kosher restaurant.