Melting Pot of Passover Dinners Offered by SoHo Restaurants

By Danielle Tcholakian on April 7, 2014 8:54am 

 The Mexican-Jewish Passover menu at Toloache Thompson features a matzo brie tres leches cake.
The Mexican-Jewish Passover menu at Toloache Thompson features a matzo brie tres leches cake.
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Courtesy of Toloache Thompson

GREENWICH VILLAGE — Matzo, meet Mexican.

As Passover approaches, eateries in the Village and SoHo are cooking up unique twists on the traditional dishes, with influences from Mexico, Syria, Italy and Iran.

Upper East Sider Julian Medina, the chef and owner of Toloache Thompson at 205 Thompson St., has planned a Mexican-Jewish Seder menu, featuring brisket tacos made with matzo and a matzo brie tres leches cake for dessert.

"I wanted to combine traditional Passover foods with Mexican offerings and create a hybrid menu that highlights all the delicious customary foods both Mexicans and Jewish people love," said Medina, who converted to Judaism years ago when he married his wife Annie, who is Jewish.

Medina has been serving a Passover menu at his other restaurants — he owns seven across the city — for 10 years. He said his favorite dish is the smoked whitefish guacamole.

"It's delicious and perfectly highlights two customary foods for Mexicans and for the Jewish people," Medina said.

Toloache Thompson's special Passover menu will be offered from April 14 through April 22, along with a selection of wines that are kosher for Passover.

Over in Nolita at 70 Prince St., Back Forty West is hosting a four-course Syrian Seder on April 14, as first reported by SoHo Strut. The menu will be served family-style with communal seating, following a service led by Back Forty chef and owner Peter Hoffman.

Dishes include beef stuffed with onions baked in tamarind sauce and matzo spinach pie.

Attendees must purchase advance tickets, which are $113.37 and include wine pairings, tax and tip, and are available online.

Down the block at 38 Prince St. between Mott and Mulberry streets, City Grit is hosting a Persian Passover event with Louisa Shafia, who crafted the menu at the recently opened Cafe Nadery on Eighth Street in the Village. The meal will feature stews, rices and braised meat dishes.

Tickets to City Grit's April 16 Seder are $85 per person, and $135 for two people, and include a copy of Shafia's cookbook, "The New Persian Kitchen."

 Toloache Thompson's seder includes brisket tacos, with taco shells made from matzo.
Toloache Thompson's seder includes brisket tacos, with taco shells made from matzo.
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Courtesy of Toloache Thompson

And around the corner, Balaboosta at 214 Mulberry St. is offering an Italian-influenced Seder on April 15. The four-course menu includes a matzo ball soup made with artichoke-scallion matzo balls.

The Balaboosta Seder will be family-style with communal seating, and tickets are available online for $125 per person, including a wine pairing.

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