This blog post is cross-posted from What Is Your Food Worth.
Ask anyone who’s the biggest macher on Philadelphia’s Jewish restaurant scene, and the answer is invariably the same: Chef Michael Solomonov.
Chef Solomonov is best known for Zahav, his shrine to modern Israeli cooking. But in recent years, he’s added Percy Street Barbecue and the Federal Donuts chicken-and-doughnut joints to his growing restaurant empire.
In early November, Chef Solomonov threw the doors open on his newest venture, the Main Line glatt kosher restaurant and catering company Citron and Rose. He’s re-imagining some kosher classics (chopped liver paired with sour cherry, chocolate and pumpernickel; cholent with crispy duck breast standing in for the classic beef or chicken) and even serving a few kosher cocktails (the Lower East Side, made with gin, cucumber and dill; the Reb Roy, with Manischewitz replacing the Rob Roy’s vermouth). Here’s a look at the complete dinner menu.
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.
Owners of soon-to-open kosher restaurant Jezebel in SoHo hope to turn the idea of kosher cuisine on it’s head. [Wall Street Journal]
10 suggestions for how to add bacon’s smoky flavor to dishes with vegetarian ingredients. [The Kitchn]
YouTube is set to launch Hungry, a channel dedicated to food, July 2 and plans to have 12 shows by the end of summer. [Eater]
Chef Michael Solomonov has been busy this week trying to get a new passport — and he’ll need it. In a few days he will travel to Budapest and Paris for a week long trip of “More eating than you could possibly understand,” as he describes it, with his business partner Steve Cook and sous chef Yehuda Sichel. This trip — which will include visits to the cities’ Jewish quarters — isn’t a glutton’s vacation. It’s research for their new kosher restaurant Citron and Rose, set to open in Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia, this summer.
Solomonov and Cook already own four restaurants in Philadelphia, including the highly praised upscale Israeli restaurant Zahav. But the food they will offer at the sleek new 75-seat place, Citron and Rose will be the “Other side of what we do at Zahav,” said Solomonov. Instead of concentrating on Middle Eastern and Sephardic flavors, the team will turn their attention to Europe. “You think of pierogies and stuffed cabbage — they’re not so sexy, but there’s great European, Eastern European and Central European food that just needs a platform,” he said. The restaurant will focus on meat, but offer numerous vegetables options as well. Meals will be accompanied by small plates in hopes of giving diners a broad taste of these cuisines and dishes. “We want it to be an experience. We want to showcase as much as we can,” he added.
If you’ve always dreamed of having dinner with the president, this is your chance. CBS reports that Obama’s campaign is raffling off four tickets to have dinner and talk policy with the Pres. Any donation of $5 or more enters you to win.
The seltzer deliver business may be dwindling but a fountain soda drink with ice cream is just as refreshing as ever during the summer months. Check out Food 52’s contest for the best recipe.
It’s no surprise to anyone that many of America’s fruits and vegetables are all too often laden with pesticides. So what are the cleanest and dirties options at your grocery store? Marion Nestle tells the Atlantic.
Plans for the Soho restaurant off shoot of Kutcher’s — a 3000 sq foot hip kosher restaurant — are on track, says Fork in the Road. Check back on JCarrot for more on their upcoming plans and pre-paid Shabbat dinners.
This past Sunday, Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” featured Israeli-born chef Michael Solomonov, of Philadelphia’s Zahav Restaurant. Solomonov battled Iron Chef Jose Garces in a head to head culinary competition. The pressure was on for both chefs who had just 60 minutes to create a world-class meal featuring passion fruit, the secret competition ingredient, which was revealed only moments before cooking began.
Solomonov, staying true to his personal and culinary roots, fried up fresh chickpea falafel with passion fruit and amba and served tuna carpaccio stuffed with tabboule. He wowed the judges with his passion fruit infused malabi custard for dessert. Iron Chef veteran Garces, impressed the judges with a “tour of the Islands,” cooking dishes from Cuba and Majorca including an opah ceviche with passion fruit sorbet. In the end, as with so many Iron Chef episodes, the challenger — Solomonov — was defeated.
Following the battle, Jew and the Carrot caught up with Solomonov to discuss his influences and what it’s really like to cook on ‘Iron Chef’.
If you spent time in the Middle East, then there is a good chance you’ve had the pleasure (or horror, depending on your taste buds) of experiencing arak. The intense anise spirit shares a flavor profile with Greek ouzo, French pastis, Turkish raki and Italian sambucco, which are all produced according to a similar method, but with slightly different flavorings.
Once relegated to the older generation, arak is seeing a resurgence amongst the younger Israeli crowd. At its most basic incarnation, arak is a popular chaser to accompany a beer. But it is also popping up as an ingredient in the refined, modern cocktails that are slowly beginning to take off in Tel Aviv. At chef Omer Miller’s restaurant The Dining Hall, arak shows up in a number of drinks including the house cocktail where it is mixed with grapefruit, muddled sage and sugar, then shaken with ice and sour mix. The play between savory and sweet makes it Israeli food authority Janna Gur’s favorite cocktail for good reason.
I have always thought that there could be no better farm-to-table experience than a dinner hosted by Outstanding in the Field, an organization that brings chefs and farmers around the country together to experience the connection to the land via local and sustainable produce and artisan food-makers. The image of the long rectangular table stretched out across an open field has always represented to me the most fitting way to celebrate the fruit of the earth.
That is, until I attended Chef Michael Solomonov’s Sukkot Harvest Supper: A Celebration of Nature’s Bounty in support of Hazon, the largest Jewish environmental organization in the world, this past Sunday. In the middle of a field at Judy and Mark Dornstreich’s Branch Creek Farm in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, under a giant herb- and flower-filled sukkah, approximately 150 folks gathered to bless wine and challah. They were of course also there to enjoy the bounty of the farm’s harvest in a five-course meal designed to highlight the best local produce, Hazon’s local CSAs, and organic sustainable gourmet products from the Negev desert.