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The Cholent Trail, Part I

Looking for our heritage, one glop at a time

Stephanie Butnick, Adam Chandler, and Liel Leibovitz
November 25, 2013
(Town Maps USA)
(Town Maps USA)

Let us begin with an uncontroversial, incontrovertible statement: cholent is the greatest food on earth. It is delicious and resilient and affordable, which is all that food—not the aerated, sous-vided, emasculated creations concocted solely to amuse bored palates but the hearty stuff you can toss on the hot plate on Thursday night and turn to come Saturday afternoon for a sustaining meal—should be. We’re proud of it. We’re obsessed with it. And because we live in New York, there is no shortage of great cholent joints all around us.

Here, then, is the first installment in an occasional series, highlighting some of the most noteworthy cholent joints in the Tri-State area. We begin with the glories of Monsey, N.Y.; if you think we missed something or committed some unforgivable offense by selecting one institution and not another, let us know in the comments. Here, then, and lovingly inspired by that other famous food finding bible, is our guide to Monsey’s finest cholent
halls—plus a customized map should you want to seek them out for yourselves:

Mechel’s Takeout (421 Route 59): This local staple is “a cabernet sauvignon, not a pinot,” with a good meat-to-non-meat ratio and a “velvety mouth feel.” Each individual ingredient gets “its turn on the tongue,” and the kishka is “just as it should be.” The three-color kugel is “the perfect side dish, if you still need a side dish after a pint of this stuff.”

The Getty Gas Station, right by the bathroom (165 Route 59): “Silky and smooth,” this vegeterian cholent “has its own luster” but feels “too much like peanut butter” on the roof of the mouth. With “notes of vinegar on the finish,” it has “a pleasant umami vibe,” but is too salty and “makes it hard to taste the individual ingredients.”

Monsey Glatt (190 Route 59): There’s so much meat in this supermarket serving that you’ll be “confused whether you’re eating cholent or a brisket in gravy.” The tenderness of the beef “doesn’t overwhelm the potatoes or the beans,” but the dish is “too meaty” to have “any real mouthfeel.”

Nussy’s Cuisine (41 Main Street): “Heavenly” “harmony” makes this the best cholent we’ve tasted. We’ve no clever descriptors—the seamless way the meat, the beans, the potatoes, the millet, and the kishka came together reduced us to contented grunts and sent us each to buy a pint to take home. A masterpiece.