Published On: Mon, Jan 11th, 2016

Where the lines of Kosher and Culinary Exceptionalism Become One


reserve cut restaurant


When you are kosher and travel often enough, you learn to appreciate New York even more when you get hungry.  Even in this great city, where there are many kosher places, it can be hard to find an excellent one. Working for a busy public relations firm, I entertain clients often, and it can be hard to eat well when you are trying to impress.  If you are strict about kashrut, there is very little to nothing in many of the cities around the country, and if you eat fish and dairy out, you grow tired of the salmon and seared tuna in popular franchises.

In Manhattan, there are good places, and a sufficient supply of average places to eat, but relative few really terrific places to choose from.

I am not referring only to the food, because many of the kosher restaurants here in New York prepare a decent meal.  If its shwarma, schnitzel, burgers, sushi, pizza and pasta, there are always options.  However, when you have had the pleasure to dine at some of the world’s best eateries right here in New York, like Daniel, Nobu, Milos, and others, as I have been with clients, it is hard to imagine what a kosher place like those might look like.  To find the upscale equivalent in kosher food, with decor, ambiance and class, the number of places goes down to maybe a handful.

Recently I dined at the beautiful Setai Hotel on Wall Street at a fairly new contemporary kosher restaurant, Reserve Cut.  Created by Albert Allaham, who also owns the premiere Brooklyn butcher shop, The Prime Cut, Reserve Cut pulls from the Asian influence of the hotel it sits in.  It brandishes an Eastern décor and sets an elegant tone.  When it opened, Executive Chef Hok Chin, who was recently awarded with the creative culinary award by the China America Trade and Culture Association,  debuted an amazing menu featuring his celebrated French/Asian fusion panache.  He brought a kosher flare to his style of cooking.

What a hit – Reserve Cut’s menu features impeccable meats sourced from Allaham’s butcher shop, and dry aged in Reserve’s own aging locker.  The setting is serene, classy; we sat in a beautiful room with modern fountains, candles, and amazing acoustics.  To get to my table, we walked through a glass wine cellar lit with candles; and the kitchen is surrounded by glass, giving patrons a show; a glimpse into the workings of a fine dining establishment.

I could speak of the short rib tacos and Waygu rib appetizers, which were awesome.  You can compare the selections such as the glazed veal sweetbreads, the salt baked Branzino and the Colorado rack of lamb to the often interesting items on some of the top chef’s menus.  There is also the sushi menu, with the full line of the quality fish you would expect to find at Koi. Sashimi, sushi, volcano rolls with spicy tuna and Asian pear, and then there is the Bahn Mi sandwich; kosher Vietnamese with beef, duck breast and vegetables, with an authentic flavor I have never had before.

When you live in New York, you can get easily spoiled.  The food selections are vast and there are too many to possibly try in one lifetime.  For kosher clientele, and for the ones who would likely not sit in one of the finer non-kosher establishments for personal reasons, Reserve Cut makes you feel as if you are not missing out.  It holds its own next to the very best, and I would bet that those who are not bound by kashrut, would feel as if they too had just experienced one of the very best.


By Juda Engelmayer




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