Friday, March 9, 2012

They're kosher, but are they any good?

Kosher McDonalds restaurant in Ashqelon, Israel
In a kosher restaurant, no dish mixes meat and dairy.

After another good breakfast at The Golden Grill in Teaneck, I took a stroll and discovered a neighborhood of ethnic restaurants with a surprising diversity.

Most of the restaurants in the township's West Englewood section are found on Queen Anne Road and West Englewood Avenue -- all within several blocks.

And most are kosher, catering to a large number of Orthodox Jews and offering barbecue, pizza, sushi and Iranian or Mediterranean fare. They are supplemented by a kosher bagel shop, delicatessens and cafes.

Non-kosher places

But you'll also find non-kosher Chinese and soul-food takeout places, and the Golden Grill, which serves breakfast and lunch. 

And Patisserie St. Michele, a French bakery on Queen Anne Road, is not to be missed.

Restaurant row

Arrayed along one side of West Englewood Avenue are Chopstix Glatt Kosher Chinese Takeout, Dougie's BBQ, Rabica Mediterranean Cafe, Royal Grill (Mediterranean & Persian Cuisine) and Sushi Metsuyan.

Dougie's serves pasture-fed Black Angus beef raised without antibiotics and growth hormones. Rabica's menu lists salads, pasta and fish, with an appetizer and entree costing $20 to $30.

The newest place on Queen Anne Road is Schnitzel+, a restaurant with a bright, modern orange-and-white interior that specializes in Israeli-style breaded chicken cutlets.

$16 family pizza

Sammy's New York Pizzeria has family-size pies starting at $16, and offers  gluten-free dough. 

Non-kosher options include Zen Kitchen, the Chinese takeout shop we've been using for more than five years, and Mom & Pop's Southern Kitchen on State Street.

At The Golden Grill, a breakfast of two eggs, fried whiting or a large fishcake made from canned salmon, home fries and a small glass of juice is $6.50.

Kosher dos and donts

If you plan to visit a kosher restaurant, keep in mind they usually are more expensive than their non-kosher counterparts. They also close on Friday afternoons or evenings, in observance of the Jewish Sabbath, and reopen on Saturday nights.

They also close the night before Jewish holidays.

If you love seafood, don't expect to find lobster or other shellfish, squid or shrimp, all of which are not "kosher."

And you cannot bring a bottle to a kosher BYO unless the wine is kosher.

Are they any good?

When I still ate meat, I might have tried the naturally raised beef at Dougie's BBQ, but now I have no interest in paying more for kosher food that is about the same quality as non-kosher food, especially because I couldn't find a wide range of seafood when dining out.

Please use Google for addresses and phone numbers.

Here are a few Web sites: 


Chinese, Japanese and Thai food 

Home of the 24-ounce burger 

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