two new Kosher eateries in Los Angels - a review



two new Kosher eateries in Los Angels - a review

Cholent Fresser | | Dec 29, 2006 04:52 PM

Here you go I got this again:

You know the expression, “when it rains it pours”. It certainly
applies to
the kosher restaurant situation here in LA. Since the 2 new fish grill
opened, we have been getting a slew of new places including of course
s and finally Prime Grill. My sources tell me there are more places
set to
open in the near future and they sound very exciting.

My piece today is about 2 new lunch type places that recently opened,
Schwartz’s Circa and Berri Good.

A few months ago Schwartz’s moved from their old, cramped, dump of a
location to a beautifully renovated space that used to house the center
portion of Kotlar’s and later Kol Tuv markets. They placed the
bakery along
one side of the space with nice modern showcases and have set up a
on the other side. For those who don’t know, “Circa NY” is a
place in New York that specializes in healthy lunch fare such as the
make-your-own-salad concept and soups. They also do customized
pizzas and gourmet sandwiches. The Hecht brothers figured the concept
in New York so why not LA. My initial thought is that they have a
major hit
on their hands although it needs some work. I’ve been there twice
and the
salad concept, while amazingly simple, is fantastic. They charge $5.75
a bowl of lettuce (romaine or mixed greens) that includes 3 additions
from a
vast array of vegis and proteins. For 50 cents more you can keep
things - and trust me you will add things - and you end up with a
albeit pricey salad made to your exact specs. What makes this concept
good (and hard to knock off I think) is the dressings that they offer.
9 choices are delicious. The only thing lacking on the dressing side
was a
low-fat choice and I assume that they’ll remedy that. I particularly
their balsamic and creamy garlic selections. Their soups are somewhat
unoriginal and not as good as the ones from the bagel factory but they
good. I ordered the onion but they also had vegetable, mushroom barley
a few others. The onion soup was too peppery the second time I had it
they put Parmesan cheese in instead of mozzarella. This is BAD and I
they change it. I get that it’s cheaper but ground Parmesan does not
in my onion soup.

They are set to expand to a full menu that will include omelets,
pizzas, etc. I’m a bit fearful that this will seriously drag down
service, which is not silky smooth to begin with but at least guys will
able to eat there without having to check their manhood. In closing I
a few recommendations for the Hecht brothers who have been very open to
suggestions from their clientele.

1) As mentioned, stop putting Parmesan cheese in the onion soup, step
up and
use mozzarella
2) Include a roll, bagel, olive stick or some sort of bread item along
a soup. The bagel factory does this and you should too, g-d knows you
should be able to get them at a decent price J
3) Make a buy-up to include a small soup with your salad kind of like a
combo deal at a burger joint. I am not satisfied with only a salad but
don’t necessarily want a large soup to go with it. Get the small
sized cup
(again check the bagel factory) and offer it for an extra few bucks.
4) Stay humble and don’t take things personally. I had a friend that
a bakery café a while back who would take any criticism of the
restaurant as
a personal attack. You’re new at this so you’re going to screw up
but that’
s all part of the business and most of us want you to succeed.

If the last one sounds a bit personal, it is. The Hechts are young
guys in
our community and I hope this experiment works out. I think it will,
that all our wives will be eating there all the time and their very
successful bakery already covers a good portion of the overhead.
We’ll do
improvement suggestions for Schwartz’s bakery another time.

Berri Good
Berri Good is a new chalav yisrael, frozen yogurt place on Robertson
that is
run by 2 nice Israeli guys. They seem to have modeled themselves after
non-kosher asian yogurt chain called “Pink Berry”. Their fro-yo is
not what
you would be accustomed to if you ever ate at Toppers or TCBY (I have
been to either of those places, I’ve only heard...). Rather then
taste like
soft serve ice cream, this stuff actually tastes like yogurt that is
slightly sweet and has a hint of lemon flavor. They have a slew of
including many fresh fruit ones such as pomegranate seeds, blueberries,
pineapple, strawberries, etc. It is a healthy, refreshing treat that
be appreciated by women or others who like yogurt. Regardless of what
Israeli will tell you, it is not for kids. They will throw it on the
and start screaming for Carvel. Personally, I’ll take the fat free,
chemical loaded (how else does it get so creamy???) vanilla soft serve
Carvel. My wife will be going to Berri Good.

They also offer a make-your-own-salad concept like Circa and a
make-your-own-sandwich like... I don’t know. Skip it. Go to Circa
and come
here for desert if you want. Their salad choices are weak, the bottled
dressings are bottled dressings (someone needs to tell them that Walden
Farms Blue Cheese dressing is NOT chalav yisrael) and the sandwich idea
guy gave me - mozzarella, avocado, hard boiled egg and tuna, toasted
style just sounded gross. Their whole-wheat baguettes are good but
about it.

Back to top

More posts from Cholent Fresser