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« The Lunch Belle's 2011 Holiday Gifting Guide | Main | Rubbing elbows & snagging recipes at the Soho House, courtesy of Grey Goose »
Monday
Dec122011

What do Camp Anawanna and potato latkes have in common?

*NOTE: This restaurant has since closed.*

  • Restaurant  Kutsher's Tribeca
  • Cuisine  modern Jewish
  • Location  186 Franklin Street (between Hudson & Greenwich Streets), Manhattan 
  • Phone  212-431-0606
  • Directions  Hopstop
  • Atmosphere  sexy, sleek, modern, spacious
  • Attire  smart casual
  • Ideal for  small and large groups, 1x1, bar scene
  • Price  moderate

I have not been more excited about a restaurant opening than I was for Kutsher's Tribeca (let's make this easy and call it "KT").  And, who better to join me for an abundant, modern Jewish feast than my hometown girl and fellow Jewess, Brette?

Located in a surprisingly sleek, sexy, and haute space, KT is situated just around the corner from long-standing neighborhood fixture, Nobu.

Photo: found on allthingsnewyork.blogspot.comBeing the perennial early bird, I arrived about 15-minutes shy of our 7:30pm reservation.  Upon entering, I made eyes with one of the bar tenders/mixologists who, without even having to utter a word, commandeered me to his post.  I plopped myself down on to a stool and sought his expert advice on which cocktail I should choose to begin my evening.  Side note:  the original Kutsher's is a resort in the Catskills that, some say, was the inspiration for the film, Dirty Dancing! 

All of the cocktail names have mountain resort-y undertones:  Bug Juice, The Deep End, The Anawana, to name a few.  That's right, children of the 80's, I said Anawana.  As in the television show, Salute Your Shorts (only, on the show, the camp was spelled "Anawanna."  Note the 2 n's in Anawanna.).  And, yes, there WAS such thing called "Camp Anawana" outside of TV land...it was a children's camp on the Kutsher Resort grounds!

For my poison of choice, the bartender suggested I try the Bungalow Bunny, a gin-based concoction muddled with lime and mint, and finished with blueberry-lime cordial and smoked bitters.  While I would have preferred it to be a pinch sweeter, my 'Bunny was nothing short of refreshing, quenching, and flavorful.  Thanks, Joe!

Within seconds of her arrival, Brette and I were promptly whisked to our table, but not before being warmly greeted by Zach Kutsher, himself (grandson of the resort owners and KT restaurant partner).  We were seated next to two young ladies who took an interest in the fact that I was snapping a few photos.  After I told them that I had a food blog, we began discussing which cocktail they thought that Brette should order.  The girls also mentioned that they knew the Kutsher family because they used to attend Camp Anawana as children!

While the menu at KT isn't large, per se, it is still chock full of options.  Do you go the various snacks route, or stay true to ordering an entree?  In the heat of our menu perusal, Brette and I were delightfully surprised when a platter of homemade challah slices (white and wheat) and butter appeared before our eyes.

Ultimately, Brette and I decided to go the snacks route.  There were simply too many items that we wanted to taste and, with the upcoming holidays acting as a potential road block, who knew if we'd be able to get back to KT before the New Year!

Charoset Chopped Salad

How gorgeous are those colors, especially that bright green, courtesy of the butter lettuce?  Now, I don't know about you, but when I think of charoset, I think "sweet."  And, perhaps that is what got me in to trouble with this rather savory preparation.  The salad was composed of chickpeas, apples, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, walnuts, challah croutons, herbs, and finished with a lemon-honey vinaigrette.  And, while that all sounds lovely, I found that it didn't taste all that great.  In fact, there was nothing "sweet" about it.

Crispy Artichokes Alla Judea

You could fry a shoe and I'd probably still eat it.  Do I think that everything tastes better fried?  Yes, I do.  However, do I think that all fried things are delicious.  No, I do not. 

Served over a bed of greens that were tossed in what the menu claimed to be lemon, garlic, and parsley but, in actuality, tasted more like an overly dressed Caesar salad, was a sparse amount of perfectly fried artichoke quarters and shaved parmesan ribbons. 

Bottom line:  If KT had doubled the portion of 'chokes and 86'd the greens, this dish would have been top notch.

Milton's Short Rib & Brisket Meatballs

These delightful little morsels were the perfect size - even for me, a self-professed meatball fanatic.  Voluptuous and round, yet not overwhelmingly large, these 'balls packed a moist, meaty, and playful punch.  The creamy horseradish dollop brought about a tangy, peppery kick. 

Crispy Potato Latkes

The latkes, hands down, were the "belle of the ball."  Shredded potato and minced onion mounds were fried to a perfectly golden crisp and served alongside chilled sour cream and homemade apple sauce.  Don't tell my mom, but these potato pancakes blow hers - my former favorite - out of the water!  

Stuffed Potato & Leek Knish

A knish is a potato dumpling, of sorts, that can be filled with any variety of ingredients.  KT's version comes two to an order:  one is topped with melted emmentaler cheese and house-cured pastrami (that rivals Katz's), and the other with spinach, mushrooms, and gooey fontina.

 

Conclusion

Brette and I really enjoyed our experience at KT.  Since the restaurant is still in its infancy, I think that, like wine, it will only get better with each passing day.  I look forward to returning, especially for latkes, pastrami, and a house-made beverage or two!

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

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