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Kutsher's Tribeca Puts Modern Twist on Jewish Classics

By Julie Shapiro | November 22, 2011 12:54pm
Kutsher's potato latkes are served with three varieties of caviar, along with the traditional sour cream.
Kutsher's potato latkes are served with three varieties of caviar, along with the traditional sour cream.
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Kutsher's Tribeca

TRIBECA — This isn't your bubbie's gefilte fish.

At Kutsher's Tribeca, a new Jewish-American bistro on Franklin Street, the $12 gefilte fish appetizer features ground wild halibut, playfully topped with beet and horseradish tartare, along with a sprinkling of arugula and dollops of parsley vinaigrette.

In both ingredients and presentation, it's a far cry from the traditional hunks of jarred whitefish many people remember from their childhoods.

"I've had people tell me — who have never ordered gefilte fish before — 'This is delicious!'" said Zach Kutsher, co-owner of Kutsher's Tribeca, as he sat by the bar Monday, the restaurant's opening night. 

"I'm excited about having the ability to craft and redefine what Jewish-American cuisine can really be."

The menu, by executive chef Mark Spangenthal, offers many modern twists on classic dishes, including potato latkes topped with three varieties of caviar, and brisket meatballs with caramelized onions and creamy horseradish sauce.

The drink list also features some nostalgic favorites, including a $12 "Bug Juice" cocktail of vodka, house-made fruit punch, grapefruit bitters and soda.

Kutsher, 37, who lives near Union Square, sees the restaurant as a tribute to his family's Kutsher's Hotel and Country Club in the Catskills, which was founded in 1907 and became a popular resort among the city's Jewish set.

Kutsher's goal in opening the 140-seat TriBeCa eatery is to replicate the resort's focus on hospitality, but with more imaginative food and a relaxed Downtown vibe. Partners include well-known restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow.

"It's fun, and we don't take ourselves too seriously," Kutsher added.

He picked TriBeCa to launch the restaurant because it already has a well-established food scene and can draw office workers during the day along with a local crowd at night.

"You really can't get any good pastrami south of 14th Street," Kutsher said, "unless you go to Katz's, but that's all the way on the East Side."

Kutsher's Tribeca, 186 Franklin St., is now open for dinner starting at 5:30 p.m. seven days a week. The restaurant will begin serving brunch and lunch in about a month.