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Kosher Food Goes SoHo Chic

The owners of Jezebel, a new restaurant in Manhattan, try to give kosher cuisine a trendy home downtown

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Menachem Senderowicz (left) and Henry Stimler (right) in the dining room at Jezebel, a glatt kosher restaurant in SoHo. (All photos Aaron P. Kohn)

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.

shofar chandlier at Jezebel

A shofar chandelier.

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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The restaurant is open on Shabbos which means that no reliable Orhodox hashgacha will supervise the place. So that means the only “orthodox” Jews who can go there will be ones who are ignorant of this situaton or don’t care about kashrut – which I assume is an ignorant minority.

Who are Senderowicz and Stimler trying to kid?

Open on Shabbat? This I didn’t know. And what kind of a name for a Jewish restaurant is Jezebel?

To be fair, it’s prepaid Friday night dinners – more details on some kosher questions here: http://www.vosizneias.com/106245/2012/05/13/soho-new-kosher-restaurant-will-serve-prepaid-shabbat-dinners-and-nonmevushal-wines/

daized79 says:

Being open on shabat can be worked around — I have heard the hahsgakha is good. Obviously this place isn’t for khasidim or even kharedim. But yeah, what’s with the name? It’s so extremely offensive. Like naming your place Hitler. I won’t go just for that. There are a zillion combinations of letters in the English alphabet to communicate hipness. Naming after an evil anti-Semitic mass-murderer wouldn’t be at the top of my list. How about Shade or Lilith if you must go for Jewish “evil.” I’m not saying I’m good at naming restaurants. Just not, you know, Turnus Rufus.

Bob, thanks for reading! Jezebel is certified by Rabbi Aaron Mehlman, who holds a reliable hechsher: http://www.hechshers.info/kashauth/296.htm

I know of at least Prime KO serving food on Shabbat.

disqus_tTnWbpiIc9 says:

We went today for a nice Sunday brunch. Interesting food, great decor, service tying very hard and so loud we could barely hear each other – and they would not turn the music down at all. But I wish them all the luck with the place so I can go back and enjoy a night out with friends ( if we can hear each other).

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Kosher Food Goes SoHo Chic

The owners of Jezebel, a new restaurant in Manhattan, try to give kosher cuisine a trendy home downtown

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