Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Israeli "home-style" restaurant in New York City

I got my first surprise when I asked what was the soup of the day.

"Kreplack soup?! I would hardly have expected such an Ashkenazi dish in an Israeli restaurant."

The guy behind the counter just smiled.

My second surprise came when the soup didn't.

"What happened to my soup?"

"You'll have to be patient. It'll take about five minutes."

This restaurant may look like a fast-food restaurant, but apparently, they don't believe in making food fast.

A further surprise awaited me when I bit into my first krepl (wonton/meat ravioli/meat perogi/dumpling/whatever): It had pepper in it! My Russian-American grandmother's kreplach never had pepper in them!

Yep, these were Israeli kreplach, all right!

As a general rule, neither my tongue nor my tummy has a particularly high tolerance for pepper. Fortunately, the kreplach and equally-peppery soup barely snuck in under my tolerance limit, or my husband would have ended up eating two bowls of soup! Equally fortunately, neither my baby-chicken shwarma--much less fatty than red-meat shwarma, which is usually too greasy for me to eat--nor the smidge of my husband's beef kofta kabab that I snitched had any pepper in or on them, and were delicious.

But more surprises were in store.

Two guys, both bareheaded, walked into the restaurant. One of them touched the mezuzah with his hand, then kissed his hand. I haven't seen that manoeuver from a bareheaded man since I left my bareheaded father's house.

The pièce de résistance, though, was the Chassidic man seated at a table with a teenage girl and boy, both in denim pants. Glatt for him, jeans for them. That was a delightful picture of family love and loyalty overcoming differences of haskafah/religious perspective.


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