December 30, 2013

Are You Sure this Place is Kosher?

It is one of the new upscale kosher eateries here in New York and perhaps a novelty because it is located at 40 Broad Street, in the heart of financial district and not in Midtown Manhattan. Reserve Cut is the brainchild of Albert Allaham, a master butcher and the owner of the high-end meat market The Prime Cut in Brooklyn, which serves top quality meats to customers throughout the New York area. He descends from a long line of expert butchers dating back over 200 years to Damascus in Syria, where his family ran one of the country’s most respected butcher shops. The decor is magnificent with a beautiful background of mirrored walls and wine bottles. The steaks were absolutely sumptuous and at least on this mid-week evening, every table seemed to be full.

As we waited for our coats, there was another group of about six people about to leave. Only one of the four men wore a yarmulke; the others obviously not Jewish. Suddenly one of the gentlemen turned to the yarmulke friend: “Joe, are you sure this place is kosher?” Joe responded: “Of course it is, I wouldn’t eat here if it wasn’t, but why do you ask?” The answer didn’t shock me: “Well, you know I didn’t realize that there were such classy kosher restaurants.” Oh well, there went another stereotype. I realized that convincing people that kosher is no longer chopped liver is a process and still has a long way to go, but if this evening taught me anything it is that we are making steady progress, albeit painstakingly slow.