So many of you devoted ChowHounds have sent me E-mail requesting that I share my newspaper column reviews with you in this forum. I wasn't sure if I was able to "reprint" anything that the paper had run, but my tres cool editor told me it was a-ok. So here goes. They've run 10 of my columns thus far, if you want anything sent to you please e-mail me at the above address. Other reviews include: Nick's Pizza, Pier 25A, PJ Horgans Fish and Chips, Richard's Place, Manducatis, Delhi Palace and a couple more that I can't remember.
This is my fifth column:
Ive always been a Peter Lugers, Old Homestead, Mortons sort of girl. On the infrequent occasions that my predaceous pinings have had to be quelled, Ive visited the aforementioned establishments and shortly after sunk my teeth into a succulent piece of
beef. To be quite frank, Id never associated steak with Jewish food. Potato latkes, pastrami andwiches, the ever-popular matzoh ball soup, yes. Prime Rib, no.
My dear friend and fellow food-enthusiast, Janice, quickly dispelled this myth. A former resident of Israel and an expert on Jewish history and culture who patiently answers all of my Judaism-related questions, she is no stranger to the delicacies of the kosher kitchen and suggested that we dine at one of her favorite local restaurants-- the Glatt Kosher steak house, Hapisgah, in Kew Gardens Hills. Translated from Hebrew, Hapisgah means peak or summit and each of the dishes that we sampled was testimony to this definition.
It was a belated birthday celebration in my honor and after a long day of lecturing about the unsightliness of hickeys to my hormonal seventh graders (sadly enough this is what us teachers have to tackle when both the weather and students start getting steamy) I was feeling both exhausted and famished, as were my elementary school colleagues. A feast was in order and we were not going to curtail our hedonistic urges.
To supplement the complimentary pickled vegetables and warm, fluffy pitas that were placed in front of us upon seating, we chose a melange of appetizers: a smooth and velvety mashed avocado salad plate, a lemon-accented diced cucumber and tomato
combination known as Israeli Vegetable Salad, matbucha-- a piquant, jalapeno-laced, crushed tomato dip, and the most celestial humus ever-- thick and creamy with the perfect amount of tahini and then showered with warm, sautéed whole
mushrooms in a light, savory sauce. As we scooped up each of our starters with hunks of pliant, fresh pita we discussed how satisfying and enjoyable it was to eat with ones hands.
Our entrees followed shortly after. The hunks of beef that studded the metal kebob stick on the shish-kabab platter were both lean and tender. Health conscious friends had always praised the quality of kosher meats, but with the exception of chicken, Id never partook. How right they were. The special of the day, stuffed potatoes with meat, were
hollowed-out boiled potatoes filled with spiced meat and then baked in an aromatic, tomato-tinged sauce. Jewish comfort food. The prime rib, a generous slab of meat, was soft on the mouth and the mushrooms and onions with which it was grilled were particularly flavorful. Yellow rice and white beans that had been cooked in a tomato broth were both first-rate accompaniments.
The menu at Hapisgah is an eclectic one whose influences showcase the various cultures
to which both the Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews have acclimated themselves throughout
the centuries-- goulash, schniztel, couscous, falafel, Yemenite meat soup, Persian shish kabab, and Iraqui kibbeh soup are just a few of the diverse offerings that meld the East and West. Go with a large party and enjoy a multicultural smorgasbord of treats from the summit.
147-25 Union Turnpike
Kew Gardens Hills, NY