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Best Jewish Restaurants in NY
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Where to Dine During the Jewish High Holidays

meatAutumn is an especially holy season for the Jewish people, beginning with Rosh Hashanah on September 24th (the start of the New Year), extending through Sukkot (a celebration of the harvest), and concluding with Yom Kippur, the holiday of atonement, on October 4th. But if you know anything about the Jewish faith (and its awesome people), significant events invariably revolve around, or at least incorporate, lots and lots of food.  So here’s where (and what) to eat during the upcoming Jewish High Holidays, from honey-dipped Challah at Breads Bakery in Union Square to an elegant, Eastern European-style feast at The Russian Tea Room.

Russ and Daughters Café

Russ and Daughters Café
127 Orchard St
Lower East Side,New York 10002
(212) 475-4881

This 100-year-old Lower East Side appetizing shop opened a full-fledged restaurant last May, so now you can enjoy a multi-course, sit-down meal with your family, instead of assembling a smoked fish spread to-go at their storefront.  Start with an assortment of noshes, such as Knishes with caramelized onion or Latkes with salmon roe and crème fraiche, followed by a bowl of Borscht or Matzo Ball Soup, a platter of cured delicacies, including Whitefish, Sable, Kippers and Gravlax, and Babka French Toast, raisin-studded Noodle Kugel, or Halvah Ice Cream for dessert, strewn with sesame seeds and drizzled with salted caramel.

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Bar Bolonat

Bar Bolonat
611 Hudson Street
West Village,New York 10014

Chef and owner Einat Admony regularly hosts Rosh Hashanah dinners at her Nolita favorite, Balaboosta, but why not reserve a table at her newest venture, Bar Bolonat, this year?  Her Sephardic-style cooking (influenced by North Africa and the Middle East), draws on a sweet-savory combination of flavors that are integral to the Jewish holidays, exemplified in Baby Artichokes cloaked in pistachio yogurt, Short Rib Tagine, thick with couscous, almonds and herbs, and a whole, golden-skinned Roasted Chicken, served with crispy rice and potatoes, and flavored with walnuts and pomegranate.

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Black Seed Bagels

Black Seed Bagels
170 Elizabeth St
Nolita,New York 10012
(212) 730-1950

Lox and Bagels are a sacred weekend tradition for Jewish New Yorkers (or New Yorkers in general, really), and this new spot from Mile End’s Noah Bernamoff has made the brunch/breakfast staple especially chic. Order your hand-rolled, wood-fired, Montreal-style bagels schmeared with housemade cream cheese, herbed tofu or tobiko caviar spread, and layered with gossamer, oily slices of rainbow trout, cold-smoked salmon, sable or beet-cured lox, as well as crunchy, colorful wheels of watermelon radish, or a briny handful of tender capers.

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Breads Bakery

Breads Bakery
18 E 16th St
Union Square,New York 10003
(212) 633-2253

Opened last year by Israel-born baker, Uri Scheft (his original, famous outpost of Breads is in Tel Aviv), this sweet-smelling shop specializes in a line of pastries that will be familiar to anyone of Jewish descent. And in addition to their regular offerings, such as Dark Chocolate Babka (interspersed with ribbons of Nutella), and flaky Rugelach, Breads has baked up a line of holiday sweets, such as a number of special Challahs (braided with marzipan, crusted with pumpkin, sunflower and nigella seeds, or fitted around ceramic dipping bowls, meant to be filled with sticky honey), and a variety of apple-based desserts, including cakes, galettes, pies and tarts.

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Zucker Bakery

Zucker Bakery
433 E 9th Street
East Village,New York 10009
(646) 559-8425

This East Village shop drew widespread attention for their clever, Thanksgivikkuh donuts last year, but for the most part, their treats are traditional and homey, not trendy and headline grabbing.  Inspired by her Israeli background, as well as the baking traditions of Europe and Morocco, Chef and owner Zohar Zohar (an alum of Daniel and Bouley) is known for her dense Chocolate Babka, date and clove-laden Rugelach, Spiced Honey Cookies, powdered sugar-dusted Honey Almond Fingers, tall, golden-domed Challahs, and slabs of thinly-sliced Love Loaf, a beloved pastry recipe from her mother, thick with dried fruit and nuts.

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Joe and Misses Doe

Joe and Misses Doe
45 E 1st Street
East Village,New York 10003
(212) 780-0262

Joe and Jill Dobias recently consolidated their two businesses (a sandwich shop and restaurant) into this one comfort food-centric establishment, which frequently draws cheeky inspiration from Joe’s Jewish roots.  And Members of the Tribe are sure to get a kick out of their four-course, Rosh Hashanah prix fixe, where $70 buys housemade Challah for the table, Stuffed Cabbage with salmon stuffing and dill sauce, Lacquered Brisket with potato kreplach and caviar sauce, Honey Cake with red grape sorbet, and glasses of Holy Punch… a mix of red and white wine infused with orange peel and honey.

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The Russian Tea Room

The Russian Tea Room
150 W 57th Street
Midtown West,New York 10019
(212) 581-7100

A bastion of old New York, the sumptuous, red and gold Tea Room is largely considered to be a special occasion-only spot, so when better to treat yourself than during the Jewish High Holidays?  Their a la carte Rosh Hashanah menu includes all manner of hearty, Eastern European dishes, including scarlet-colored Beef Borscht, Gefilte Fish with horseradish, Chicken Liver Pate on toast, Pan Fried Trout with candied lemon and chestnuts, Stuffed Veal served over fondant potatoes with carrot and apple tzimmes, and Warm Apple or Sweet Kugel for dessert; a noodle pudding made with mixed, dried fruit.

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Toloache

Toloache
251 W 50th Street
Midtown West,New York 10019
(212) 581-1818

You don’t often associate Mexican flavors with Jewish cuisine.  But chef Julian Medina, who grew up Catholic in Mexico City, converted to Judaism when he married his wife of 10-years, a good Jewish girl from the Upper East Side.  That means, Mexican-inflected Rosh Hashanah meals are commonplace at his restaurant, Toloache, and this year is no exception.  Enjoy an assortment of Jewish-inspired dishes with decided Latin flavor, such as Guacamole with house smoked whitefish, Braised Brisket Tacos with tomatillo-chipotle salsa, Salmon Pastrami Quesadillas with red onion-jalapeño cream cheese, and an Apple Tart with honeycomb and dulce de leche-cinnamon sauce for dessert.

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