Support Our Culinary Community
Support Our Culinary Community
During these trying times, the Jewish Food Society is finding comfort and strength in our community one of the best ways we know how: at the table and in the kitchen.
Over the years, JFS has gathered stories and recipes for our archive from chefs, bakers, and food artisans who share our commitment to preserving Jewish culinary heritage; you can find them in this guide. We hope you will join in supporting them by stopping by and ordering a pastrami sandwich at Katz’s, the doro wat at Tsion Cafe, or matzo ball ramen at Shalom Japan. If you prefer to cook, try Holy Tshili’s chili crisp with everything bagel seasoning or New York Shuk’s harissa.
Do you have a favorite Jewish restaurant or food artisan? We’d love to hear about it.
Jeremy Salamon’s Prospect Heights spot is the type of counter we wish every neighborhood had. It serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and pastries with a Jewish and Eastern European bent. There are Hungarian crepes called palacsinta inspired by the ones his grandmother made, a rye Caesar made with radicchio and dill, schmaltz potatoes, and nokedli or little dumplings swimming in chicken soup.
Read Jeremy’s story: “Preserving a Grandmother’s Hungary”
Named for the Yiddish term for a perfect housewife, chef and comedian Einat Admony’s West Village restaurant nods to her Yemenite, Persian, and Israeli heritage with dishes like Yemenite soup dumplings and tahdig rice with pistachios and cranberries. Don’t miss her fried olives over labneh.
Elyssa Heller has grown her pandemic-era bagel pop-up named for her great aunt Edith into a sandwich counter in Williamsburg and more recently a holiday season pop-up at Nordstrom’s in Midtown. Be sure to order one of the shop’s iced café slushies — made with cold brew, tahini, and oat milk — to go with your bagel sandwich.
Read Elyssa’s story: “Noodles With Cottage Cheese Is Elyssa Heller’s Midnight Meal”
Mexican Jewish pastry chef Fany Gerson and her team turn out some of the best doughnuts in New York at Fan-Fan Doughnuts on the border of Clinton Hill and Bed-Stuy. Look out for fruity flavors like la donna (black currant-raspberry), Mexican cinnamon sugar, and her sufganiyot around Hanukkah.
Read Fany’s story: “Fany Gerson’s Family Dessert Recipe Has Traveled 9,000 Miles”
Katz’s has been a fixture of the Lower East Side for 125 years. It famously shipped salamis to boys in the army and is where Meg Ryan showed us just how good a deli sandwich can be. It’s also where owner Jake Dell decided to trade in his plans of becoming a doctor to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps as a deli man. The pastrami or corned beef on rye are classic choices at Katz’s, but don’t skip on the chicken soup.
Listen to Jake’s Schmaltzy episode: “From MCATs to Katz’s Deli with Jake Dell”
Chef and cookbook author Michael Solomonov’s spot in The Hoxton Hotel in Williamsburg serves apple caramel babka and almond pumpkin challah danishes, bourekas, and the Yemenite Shabbat bread kubaneh during the day. At night, there’s a take on the North African Shabbat dish chraime made with cod and brick chicken with apricot amba and cabbage.
Read Michael’s story: “Chef Michael Solomonov’s Brisket Recipe Has Evolved With Each Generation”
On most afternoons, Amir Nathan and Jordan Anderson’s Pita Shop takes up residence at their Lower East Side wine bar Sami & Susu. As you might imagine from the name, most of the menu — like sabich and cauliflower with ras el hanout and the Yemenite hot sauce zhoug — comes in pillowy pitas, but there’s also a “big salad” and a 15-hour roasted lamb neck over rice.
Read Amir’s story: “The Bourekas That Survived a Customs Officer Inspection”
Husband and wife duo Aaron Israel and Sawako Okochi explore their respective Jewish and Japanese heritage at their Williamsburg restaurant Shalom Japan where they serve dishes like matzo ball ramen, a lox bowl with ikura, and a wagyu pastrami sandwich.
Read Aaron and Sawako’s story: "The Couple Behind Shalom Japan and the Dish That Started It All"
At Eyal Shani's Greenwich Village restaurant, which was recently awarded a Michelin star, you never know precisely what will be on the out of the box menu. Chef Nadav Greenberg, who helms the kitchen, and his team change it daily and it's organized into categories like Earth creatures and ocean creatures. You might find what the team calls sabich 3.0, white grouper in chraime sauce, or chicken soup with kreplach that are filled with liver. Chef Nir Feller, who is one of the restaurant group's head chefs, shared his chraime recipe with us.
Read Nir's story: "The North African Fish Recipe That Makes Chef Nir Feller Feel at Home."
Just south of Union Square sits the casual Middle Eastern and Mediterranean spot Taboonette owned by Ayala and Danny Hodak. Here, their team tucks lamb kebabs, taboon-roasted cauliflower, sabich, and shakshuka into freshly baked pitas.
Read Ayala’s story: “Four Women, Three Countries, One Yom Kippur Recipe”
Chef Beejhy Barhany’s Tsion Cafe in Harlem serves a blend of Ethiopian, Israeli, and New York flavors with dishes like shakshuka and doro wat, a well spiced stew traditionally served in Ethiopian Jewish homes on Shabbat. Beejhy is also the founder of the Beta Israel of North America Cultural Foundation (BINA), a non-profit that promotes Ethiopian Jewish culture.
Listen to Beejhy on Schmaltzy: "Yearning for Zion with Restaurateur Beejhy Barhany"
OUTSIDE OF NEW YORK
Since opening their Middle Eastern restaurant Honey & Co. in the Fitzrovia neighborhood of London in 2012, Sarit Packer and husband Itamar Srulovich have become staples of the city’s food scene, cookbook authors, and podcast hosts. Today, they operate grill spot Honey & Smoke, the deli Honey & Spice, and have relocated the original Honey & Co to Bloomsbury.
Read Itamar and Sarit’s story: “From Egypt to Israel to London, Honey & Co.'s Beloved Breakfast Tradition”
For five years, Mexico City natives Tamar Fasja Unikel and Elena Vasquez Felgueres sold Mexican and Jewish inflected baked goods like cinnamon churro babka inspired by their heritage. While their Chicago bakery operations are currently paused, the duo is still offering baking classes.
Read Tamar’s story: “In This Family, Syrian Kibbeh Is Served with Mexican Salsa”
The Bay Area’s beloved deli and bagel mini-chain Wise Sons was co-founded by brothers Evan and Ari Bloom and Leo Beckerman in 2010. The rye and bagels are baked by the team daily and the pastrami is smoked over hickory for seven hours.
Read Evan’s story: “A New Generation of Pastrami Rises”
AT HOME IN NYC
Chef Jasmine (Jazzie) Einalhori and event producer Rachel Fuchs cater events and create private dining experiences including handling the floral arrangements and bar. They also operate Good Shabbos, a kosher division of their company, which offers challah, schnitzel sandwiches, and lots more for delivery and pickup.
Read Jazzie’s story: “From Shiraz to Los Angeles and Israel, Shami Is This Family’s Friday Snack”
Chef Nir Sarig hosts pop-ups of his Middle Eastern restaurant concept ETI in New York City and is also available for private chef opportunities. He has a particular interest in exploring his Moroccan Jewish heritage.
Read Nir’s story: “A Matbucha Recipe From a Secretive Aunt.”
Beverage consultant and America’s Bartender of the Year finalist, Pamela Wiznitzer is also bookable for events.
Read Pamela’s story: “A Cocktail That Tells the Story of One Grandmother’s Life”
PROVISIONS AVAILABLE NATIONALLY
Born in the home of creative director Sasha Shor during COVID, Holy Tshili combines everything bagel seasoning with Chinese chili crisp and Japanese furikake to make sauces and seasonings that taste of New York City. They brighten everything from eggs to dumplings, soup, and cucumber salads. You can find them online and in small food shops around the country.
Read Sasha’s story: “The Russian Picnic Tradition a Family Smuggled Out of the USSR”
Lior Lev Sercarz is a master of spices who has created blends for chefs like Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud, and Michael Solomonov. He also sells blends like the shabazi (cilantro, chili, garlic, and lemon) and one called Marrakech through his shop on 11th Avenue in Manhattan, his website, and artisan food shops.
Inspired by their Moroccan, Lebanese, and Turkish culinary heritage, husband and wife duo Ron and Leetal Arazi created New York Shuk, which makes some of our favorite Middle Eastern and North African pantry items like harissa and preserved lemon paste. Look for their products at Whole Foods, Sprouts, and many other shops around the country.
Read Ron and Leetal’s story: “Sukkah Dining: Moroccan Fava Bean Soup with Harissa”
Tucked into New York’s always bustling Chelsea Market is the Seed + Mill counter, which sells tahini, several types of halva, and a standout soft serve with a tahini drizzle and halva crumbled on top. Co-founder and CEO Rachel Simons has grown the business into a national brand available at places like Sprout’s and smaller food stores.
Read Rachel’s story: “A Schnitzel Recipe That’s Traveled to Hong Kong, London, New York, and Beyond”