Kosher Food Goes SoHo Chic
The owners of Jezebel, a new restaurant in Manhattan, try to give kosher cuisine a trendy home downtown
The owners’ hope is that such a combination will draw an unusual cross-section of diners: Orthodox patrons looking for a different kind of restaurant, downtown scenesters checking out the newest hot place, foodies eager to see what the chef comes up with next, and those who simply want to see and be seen downtown. For a downtown restaurant, the crowd is essential, and Jezebel seems to be doing well on that front already. Russell Simmons helped affix the restaurant’s mezuzah and has been back multiple times. Baron Davis, the New York Knick, was there one night, and one imagines it won’t be too long before other names start popping up in New York Post’s Page Six.
On a recent weeknight, the packed restaurant drew a diverse mix: In one corner sat Israel’s consul-general, while, in the opposite corner legendary hair stylist Joel Warren of Warren-Tricomi hosted a large table of models and fashionistas. Between the two sat women wearing high-fashion sheitls, men with gold Jewish stars hanging out of their unbuttoned shirts, and a diverse mix of Manhattan’s Jewish and gentile intelligentsia. Stimler and Senderowicz moved effortlessly throughout the tables, tending to the VIPs and making sure that all guests felt welcomed in their kosher wonderland.
High-end restaurants are New York’s last bastions of luxury where moneyed Orthodox Jews are unable to partake because of their lack of kosher certification. Jezebel aims to fill that gap by cultivating an elite restaurant with kosher food on the table and the upper class in the seats. That night, despite the hiccups, you could see the beginning of that dream’s fruition.
“I’d be happy to have the title of the best kosher restaurant in New York, obviously,” Stimler told me.
“But,” said Senderowicz, finishing Stimler’s sentence, “that’s never been our mission.”
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