Kosher eating has taken many steps ahead through the years. To start with, even having a spot to eat outdoors your kosher kitchen was an accomplishment. After that, a proliferation of delis and bagel locations cemented the concept of Jewish Meals into the American palate. Then we found pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza?
From there, the primary Israeli eating places began popping up, adopted by Chinese language meals (nicely, our model of it anyway). Then got here the primary steakhouses and extra varieties of ethnic delicacies (we are able to’t dwell with out our sushi). The latest degree is eating places including actual ambiance and the upper finish locations transferring nearer to their non-kosher counterparts.
And but, kosher eating places are nonetheless pretty acquainted should you sit down and take a look at a menu. That’s, till you sit down at REN.
Because the waiter explains the menu (don’t fear, it’s not an extended one), you’ll discover that you just most likely don’t acknowledge a lot of it. On the very least, you probably have by no means had something like a lot of the choices. However in contrast to many different kosher eating places, this isn’t a scenario the place the chef is making use of new strategies to dishes you’ve had at different locations. It’s not even a case of a chef making one thing kosher that hasn’t been made kosher earlier than.
At REN, Chef Ronen Morad has curated an expertise the place he’s invented lots of the dishes himself. Coming from a number of Michelin-starred eating places in France and Italy, Morad additionally labored at a few of his native Israel’s most interesting institutions together with Rooftop on the Mamilla Resort.
The menu at REN is an accomplishment that many kosher diners gained’t be capable to admire. However the identical could be true of a non-kosher patron as nicely. The distinction is that those that don’t preserve kosher have lengthy had the chance to go to a restaurant like REN and most select to not. For the kosher shopper, REN is the primary doorway into one other sort of eating. Whereas usually there is likely to be a giant rush to attempt the most recent factor, potential friends ought to be conscious that not all the pieces is for everybody.
Once I was invited to REN and confronted with the menu, it was onerous to decide on what to start out with. If it’s a real chef invention you’re on the lookout for, attempt the Yafa Kalvana. These are dumplings made from kohlrabi, stuffed with almond cheese and pistachio, topped with white winter truffle and fennel seeds, and served with a smoked kohlrabi discount with drops of chive infused oil. Utilizing the kohlrabi as each the wrapper and the sauce is good and the filling being made from a number of the finest imitation cheese I’ve ever had mixed with the slight crunch from the pistachio establishes an ideal texture.
There’s one other appetizer that’s merely referred to as “Tomato.” The primary plate features a multi-color tomato and strawberry salad served overtop a tomato consomme gel. The dressing is made from herbs, chili, pickled lemon, basil infused vinegar, and fish sauce. It comes with a cigar stuffed with sundried tomato, tabasco, yuzu, and crispy rice and dusted on the skin with powdered cherry tomato. Final however not least is a clarified tomato iced tea that’s extraordinarily potent and takes three days to attain. The salad is gentle and has an excellent stability of acid and sweetness and the cigar is crunchy and spicy and pairs properly with the tea. Consuming one thing like because of this you go to REN.
The Lamb Bolognese Raviolo is far more easy, but simply as tasty. The big single piece of pasta rests in a inventory made from morel mushrooms whereas a couple of complete specimens of the unique fungi additionally populate the bowl. On the within, lamb is combined with celery cream to mimic that dairy/meat mixture that’s a torah taboo. As any person who loves mushrooms, attending to style this use of the well-known breed that grows totally on scorched earth was actually one thing. The depth of taste within the inventory, in addition to the feel of the mushroom itself made this dish value it.
Beef Tataki might be discovered on menus within the kosher world, however REN’s model is extraordinary. The skinny slices of beef are wrapped round a mound of tomato, shallot, and parsley. This plate is a paradise for individuals who love variable textures. Not solely is it topped with garlic chips and pita crunch, however it’s accompanied by a dried piece of uncooked black tapioca plant. Get all the pieces on one scoop for a very balanced chunk. The meat is completely torched on the skin and is further flavorful on account of being marinated in oil, thyme, and rosemary for 45 hours prior.
The entrees is likely to be much less on the market, however they nonetheless characteristic some actual care and craft. The Aged Duck Lengthy Island is slices of skin-on duck breast served with a confit of apple and pickled mustard seeds and complete child bok choy. Whereas nearly all duck utilized in eating places is frozen (as suppliers solely do two runs per 12 months), REN has their very own provider which permits them to age the meat after receiving it contemporary. Between the ageing course of and never eradicating the pores and skin, the feel and taste make this the very best duck I’ve ever had. The apple and bok choy are an excellent pairing for sweetness and crunch, even when the duck is the actual star of the present.
If duck isn’t your favourite, attempt the Rack of Lamb. Utilizing a sous vide makes the lamb style barely much less gamey than different strategies, and every of the items additionally develops an excellent mouthfeel that you just’ll get pleasure from when you style the oyster mushroom discount that comes as a type of gravy. An ingenious addition to the plate is what appears to be some multi-colored carrots. In actual fact, the orange occupants are carrots whereas the extra yellow ones are literally carrot fennel puree that’s delicately laid within the form of a carrot. This can be a nice instance of the chef utilizing the plate as a canvas and using the meals as a technique to shock and delight the eater.
REN is a tremendous expertise, a good looking environment, and in contrast to something the kosher restaurant world has seen earlier than. If it feels like one thing you must see and style for your self, make your approach there. If not, that’s advantageous too. There are many different locations on the market. One of many luxuries of kosher eating places at present is that there are selections.
REN is likely to be the one alternative in its class. However possibly that’s simply because it’s the primary.
Ren is positioned at 1471 McDonald Ave, Brooklyn, New York. It’s kosher-certified by Chizuk Hadas Kashrus – Rav Dovid Gornish.
Ren is open Sunday-Thursday 5pm – 10:30pm.
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