September 5, 2012

A Tale of Four Cities

It isn’t often that in a span of less than two weeks, I get to visit four cities and  to experience five different kosher restaurants that in a way represent what kosher is all about in 2012. So this is by no means a restaurant review article, but more of a look at some of the fascinating nuances of kosher nowadays. 

A visit to Solo was a respite from a steamy early August day in New York. Located in the Sony Building on Madison Avenue, the Asian accented Mediterranean theme is a reflection of the high-end restaurant and catering group that Prime Hospitality, headed by Joey Allahan is all about. In Miami Beach, Baruch Sandhaus recently moved his upscale steakhouse to the very spacious Tower 41 space, which had in recent years been a revolving door of restaurant owners. Sandhaus immediately put his imprint on the space with his excellent food and bar service.

In Key West, the romantic Southern tip of the US was preparing for Hurricane Isaac, but people in Key West appeared to take it in stride, a reflection of the slow-paced easy-going lifestyle in the resort area. Some 100 Israelis man some of the tourist shops and booths in Key West, but when they or some of the kosher-eating tourists who visit the resort town crave for some homemade Israeli-style food, they head to a bungalow-type structure, known as Mam’s (the owner is lovingly referred to as Mom) Kosher Restaurant, certified kosher by the local Chabad organizations. I particularly enjoyed eating outdoors with a fan blowing and even saying hello to an occasional rooster that happened to pass by.

Then it was on to Chicago, where Shallott’s in Skokie represents the new age of upscale kosher. The Dijon-mustard chicken I enjoyed was creative and tasty and was even more appetizing as a result of the presentation. No wonder that some consider it one of the best kosher restaurants in the world. And for Chicagoans who wish to enjoy a tasty but gourmet lunch in the Downtown area, there is Metro Klub in the Chicago Loop inside the beautiful Crowne Plaza Hotel. I certainly enjoyed the hospitality and good food of Simon Fink.