On Monday begins the observance of Passover, at which time Jews across the city will contemplate their liberation from slavery and eschew leavened bread products for a week. But it's not all about abstaining; it's also about enjoying delicious food and sharing company with family and friends. If you haven't been stocking up on matzah—or know you'll get sick of snacking straight out of the box—you may find yourself in the lurch after day three sans bread. Below, some suggestions to get you out of the Machos rut.
"Traditional" Seders: If you haven't already been invited to a seder there are a few spots offering the special meal on Monday and Tuesday. Fairway'sUpper West Side location hosts its third annual Passover Seder inside the Fairway Market Cafe on Monday, April 14th and Tuesday, April 15th. Choices for the three-course meal include Mitchel's Chopped Liver, Braised Brisket, Roasted Chicken and Coconut Macarons, among others, plus sides of Tzimmes (sweet carrot stew) or potato pancakes. The meal also includes a Haggadah and seder plate. The family style serving is $45 per person and $25 for kids 12 and under. For reservations, call (212) 994-9555.
For a different approach to the traditional meal, check chefs Einat Admony and Missy Robbins's special Passover meal at Balaboosta, where they'll be offering a family-style menu with dishes influenced by Persia, Israel, Italy and Yemen. Dishes on offer are Pesce in Saor (marinated mackerel with onion, pine nuts and raisins); Chicken Vegetable Soup with artichoke-scallion matzo balls; and Brasato, or braised short ribs with walnuts, sweet garlic, anchovy and dates. Readings from the Haggadah, live music, and an afikoman "hunt" also unfold over the evening. The meal takes place the second night of Passover, Tuesday, April 15th; call 212-966-7366 to make your $125 per person reservation.
Passover In Mexico: All three of Rosa Mexicano's NYC locations are cooking up what they're calling Mexican Passover: "blending Jewish tradition with current culinary trends in Mexico City." Matzo Ball Pozole Soup with chipotle-marrow matzo balls; Banana Leaf-Wrapped BBQ Beef Brisket with tzimmes; and Braised Lamb Shank with dates, onions and Passover rice with saffron and red chilis are just a few of the fusion dishes on offer. The entire menu will be available starting April 14th through the 22nd a la carte or as a $48 prix fixe.
Chef Julian Medina's upscale Mexican restaurants Toloache are throwing a "Mexover" party, so to speak, with a hybrid Mexican-Jewish menu for passover. Nosh on Braised Beef short ribs with a matzo ball potato croquette, chile ancho salsa and pickled vegetables or Chipotle Braised Brisket Tacos with matzo tortillas, avocado, red onion and chipotle salsa. Since the restaurant already supplies Passover-friendly matzo tortillas, perhaps an order of one of the three housemade guacamoles wouldn't be out of order either. The restaurant offers the special menu April 14th - 22nd, along with a selection of kosher for Passover wines.
Passover In Japan: Carroll Gardens's Dassara blew the lid off ramen when they debuted their "Deli Ramen" with matzo balls, smoked meat and a soft poached egg, among other inventive offerings. They're keeping that theme with their Passover Seder with Pop-Up Shabbat on April 21st, where they'll offer a four-course menu of Jewish cuisine flecked with influences from the far East. Dill Tsukemono (preserved vegetables) are served alongside Chopped Liver and Duck Rillette with scallion matzoh; Potato Okonomiyaki alongside Lamb Shank Chashu with seasonal vegetables. There's Maniscehwitz on the menu, naturally, in the form of a sweet granita, plus wine pairings David Rosengarten. There are seatings at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m.; tickets $50 per person.
Catered For Your Pleasure: If your observant relatives surprised you with a last-minute visit during Passover or you just felt like throwing a fancy party, sustainable catering company Neuman's Kitchen has a no muss solution for your seder. Their passover meal includes all the requisite holiday components plus appetizers like gefilte fish with horseradish, a choice of brisket, short ribs, stuffed chicken and more plus sides like roasted potatoes, onion compote and steamed veggies. The meals cater to a minimum of 8 people ($90 for adults, $60 for kids) and include all the appetizers, two entrees, four sides and three desserts. Call (212) 228-2444 for more info and to place an order.
Sweet Treats: As a seder guest, bringing a gift is a no-brainer, and if it's not a special bottle of wine maybe it should be some decadent desserts instead. Francois Payard has created some special macaron, petit fours and flowerless versions of his cookies and cakes. The Passover Macaron Collection ($29-120) are made with matzo meal and salted carmel ganache; large Flourless Chocolate Walnut Cookies ($39 for a box of 9 cookies) are fudgy and filled with organic walnuts; and classic Coconut Macaroons ($30) are bound together with egg whites and sugar. Check out the full selection then either order online or call NYC locations for availability.