There’s a new kid on the block, and by kid I mean restaurant and by block I mean neighborhood. Tribeca welcomed Kutsher’s with open arms, almost at the same time Demi pushed him out. But, there’s no actual relation here. Kutsher’s Tribeca is the new restaurant brought to you by the Kutsher Family, as in the Kutsher family who owns Kutsher’s Country Club in the Catskills.
The century old resort is infamous, well infamous to Jewish families in the tri-state area. It’s been a second home to hardworking families, focusing on community, tradition, and of course, good food. Just like its upstate predecessor, Kutsher’s Tribeca has the same goals of creating good food, which is exactly what it does.
Kutsher’s is reinventing what it means to be a JAB – Jewish American Bistro. The menu is filled with nostalgic dishes that have a modern twist. Chef Mark Spangenthal is turning old classics into new favorites.
One of my old favorites dates back to my camping days. Kutsher’s put its spin on Bug Juice, to make an adult friendly drink for the kid inside of us. Although it’s normally made with Vodka, I ordered mine the Bite-Sized way, with tequila instead. Tequila, home-made fruit punch and grapefruit bitters. But the most noteworthy part of this cocktail are the punch ice cubes. As the cubes melt, the juice dissolves so the drink doesn’t get watered down. Now that mixologist is a real mench!
We started with the Wild Halibut Gefilte Fish, which was plated with beet and horseradish tartare and garnished with a micro arugula and parsley vinaigrette. Beet and horseradish tartare might just be a fancy way of saying horseradish, but there was nothing snooty about this dish. The wild halibut is mild which gives the gefilte fish a subtle flavor, unlike the jarred stuff you might be used to.
I couldn’t pass up Milton’s Short Rib & Brisket Meatballs with caramelized onions and creamy horseradish sauce and can you blame me? Such a whimsical spin on an old classic cannot be ignored! My hopes were high for this dish, and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. The meatballs were tender and intensely flavorful. They were totally reminiscent of mom’s brisket.
You know how much I love latkes, so of course I also ordered the Crispy Potato Latkes at Kutsher’s. Well, really I asked for two orders of them, one with apple sauce and sour cream and one with caviar, in true Bite-Sized fashion. They were crispy and dense, which made them the perfect vehicle for sweet apple sauce and salty caviar.
I have a hard time turning down Challah, so when I saw that the Country Club Chopped Salad had challah croutons, I decided it also had to be ordered. Chickpeas, apples, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, walnuts and challah croutons were mixed together on top of a bed of butter lettuce. Tossed in a lemon honey vinaigrette, this salad was a delight, emphasis on the light.
We also ordered the Crispy Artichokes alla Judea. The artichokes were lightly seasoned with lemon, garlic, parsley and paired with a salad of greens and shaved parmesan cheese. The crisp greens balanced the salty artichokes and creamy cheese. This small dish with big flavor was one of my favorite appetizers.
The Grilled Romanian Steak was intensely flavorful. Caramelized onions and a well developed glaze made this steak unusually robust. Each bite was better than the last. It was served with a roasted garlic and mushroom knish that was less than stellar, but the steak was so delicious the knish was quickly forgotten.
Some girls might run at the first sign of schmaltz, but not this Bite-Sized Blonde. A little rendered fat never hurt anyone. Okay, it might hurt someone. Schmaltz and Svelte are not exactly words that go together. But in the case of Schmaltz verse Svelte, Schmaltz always wins. So, I ordered the Duck Schmaltz Fries. They were perfectly crunchy on the outside but light and airy on the inside, the way all good fries should taste.
I ordered the Brussels Sprouts, because let’s face it, after the schmaltz, I needed a little green. The Brussels Sprouts were roasted with rosemary and olive oil for an earthy taste. Simple sprouts, simply good.
Dinner isn’t over until the fat lady sings, or I get dessert, but after this meal, I was quickly on my way to becoming the fat lady. Good thing I don’t sing.
We started with the cookie plate, and yes I just said started. You didn’t think that’s where dessert was going to begin and end did you? This was no ordinary cookie plate though. Hamentashen, rugelach and macaroons filled this plate. Another whimsical item on the menu that was so cleverly delicious!
The Rainbow Cookie Hot Fudge Sundae was calling my name, and I don’t even like rainbow cookies. Well, I don’t love rainbow cookies. You know how I feel about cookies. Covered in vanilla ice cream and marshmallow fluff, these rainbow cookies transformed into heavenly sweetness.
But, the star of the dessert menu was the Chocolate Babka Bread Pudding. It was creamy and seriously decadent. I would say this was one of the best things I ordered all night, but the truth is, everything I ate was one of the best dishes I ordered all night. Forget two thumbs up, Kutsher’s gets a Bite-Sized Chai Five.
186 Franklin Street
New York, NY