Eating kosher-chic at Jezebel in SoHo
Several upscale restaurants have opened in the last couple of years, looking to modernize and update kosher dining (Pardes in Brooklyn and Prime KO on the Upper West Side among them) -- but a new entrant into the upscale kosher world has set up shop in SoHo, and is looking to compete with its uber-trendy neighbors.
"The idea of Jezebel came about because we were lamenting the fact that when we would take our friends, clients, and entertain, we would stare at the menu and only be able to order one or two things," says Menachem Sendorwicz, who opened the restaurant with friend Henry Stimler.
Located in a 118-year-old two-story carriage house, the first floor of Jezebel is reserved as a bar-lounge area (where a bar menu is available), while the second floor is a formal dining room.
The decor feels antique/SoHo chic, but there's also a definite sense of humor to the place -- including a depiction of the Last Supper that features Woody Allen as Jesus, and a painting of Mark Zuckerberg as Benjamin Franklin.
"We didn't just want a pretty restaurant, but rather a visual feast for the eyes that would also portray our inherent Jewish pride," says Stimler.
The restaurant's cocktail menu was designed by mixologist Nick Mautone, formerly of Gramercy Tavern. Since some cocktail mixers are not kosher, many are being made from scratch.
We had -- and liked -- the Singapore sling, made with gin and Cherry Heering ($18) and the Brazilian bikini, cucumber and mint muddled with sugarcane syrup, veev acai liqueur and fresh lime juice ($18).
Culinary director Bradford Thompson is a James Beard Award-winning chef, formerly of Cafe Boulud.
The best of the entrees we tried was the grilled Cornish game hen served with a warm bread salad ($32), and we really enjoyed the rich and decadent marrow appetizer.
Though we opted to eat in the formal dining room, we're also intrigued by the bar menu, which is less expensive, lighter and more fun fare -- like a grilled lamb burger ($28) and a daily deli plate ($20), the kosher alternative to charcuterie.
Another standout was on the dessert menu: the warm olive oil cake ($12).