We've seen just about every iteration of comfort food go upscale—burgers with foie gras, macaroni and cheese with white truffles, barbecue served with (gasp) white napkins. But Jewish comfort food, that of latkes, gefilte fish, and Friday night roast chicken, is a whole new territory.
Kutsher's in Tribeca is stepping up to put a modern spin on bubbe-influenced cuisine. Named after the storied Catskill's summer resort, Zach Kutsher is hoping to pay homage to the "Borsht-belt" institution run by his father and grandfather (the family's tenure ended in 2007).
"This is in honor to them both," Kutsher told us, gesturing around the airy restaurant, as his waitstaff enjoyed a family meal and celebrated a birthday with loud laughter and applause.
The space manages to evoke the lodge-type feel of the Catskills in their mid-Century heyday (is that Baby I see in the corner?) with high ceilings, golden blond wood, and half moon booths flanked by subtly space-age lighting. You'll see no Cadillac-style bombast, but you'll get a hint of its spirit.
And as for the food? Kutsher, working with China Grill's Jefferey Chodorow, and chef Marc Spangenthal, has crafted a menu that has the belly-warming familiarity of the most comforting Jewish staples, but with more attention to ingredients and presentation. Latkes taste like latkes, but are served with a trio of salty, briny caviars. Gefilte fish has the salty-sweet flavor of memory, but banishes the goo of the jarred version to supermarket shelves. Cocktails playfully evoke the spirit of the summer camp or the soda fountain; you can drink boozy bug juice, or enjoy a rum-spiked cherry lime Ricky.
Kutsher's is open for dinner, and will eventually be open for lunch and brunch as well. Check out some of the food and drink offerings in the slide show above.