Chutzpah! That’s what it takes to marry what is arguably the world’s heaviest cuisine (so-called Jewish food) with the world’s lightest (Japanese cuisine). The concept came about through a collaboration of two young chefs—Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel (and no, I’m not making those names up)—each of whom worked their way up the ladder in some of the most prestigious kitchens in NYC before starting this restaurant together. The food is, in a word, revelatory. After eating here, you’ll realize that ramen soup should always have matzoh balls in it and lox is meant to be sided, not by bagels, but by sushi rice, pickled daikon, and seasoned seaweed. Other exquisite creations on the menu include the “spring Jewish egg” (a soft-boiled egg, deep-fried inside of falafel and plated atop a gingery pea sauce); and Japanese pancakes with takoyaki sauce (it’s a bit like a ketchupy Worcestershire), corned tongue, and sauerkraut. Next step for this little wonder restaurant: Create decor that’s as quirky as the food (right now the brick-walled decor is a tad too generic for a concept this outrageous).
- Pauline Frommer