Passover began last night, and if you’ve ignored the holiday until now, there’s still plenty of time for redemption; lucky for all of us, this city is filled with great Passover options for every level of religious commitment, whether you’re a by-the-book kosher zealot, a “cultural” identifier with a Jewish grandmother somewhere down the family line, or a curious bystander who’d like to have a lesson in tradition.
Here, we offer 10 ways to celebrate the gift of freedom, some kosher, some kosher…in spirit.
Balaboosta, 214 Mulberry Street, 212-966-7366
With the opening of Bar Bolonat, we’ve been seeing Einat Admony’s name just about everywhere of late. But the chef still found time for this most important of high holidays, and is hosting a special dinner tonight with A Voce alum Missy Robbins. The communally sat family-style meal costs $125, and dishes, which are sure to be excellent, include chicken vegetable soup with artichoke-scallion matzo balls and braised short ribs with walnuts, anchovy, and dates, all served with readings from the Haggadah, live music, and a “hunt” for the Afikoman.
Rosa Mexicano, multiple locations
Eating unleavened bread seems like a great justification for tacos, and Rosa Mexicano is celebrating the holiday with Passover specials; feast your Judeo-Mexican heart on chipotle bone marrow matzo ball soup, south of the border brisket wrapped in banana leaf, and matzo-breaded chicken with arugula jicama salad.
Prime Grill, 25 West 56th Street, 212-692-9292
Sit down for a proper Seder tonight at 8:45. $150 ($85 for children) gets you a seven-course all-kosher meal with four cups of wine and dishes like smoked-salmon wrapped sea bass gefilte fish quenelles, potato-crusted wild salmon with quinoa, dates and fennel, prime rib and seared herb-marinated breast of chicken, flourless chocolate roulade, and frangipane pear tart with vanilla ice creamskipping the family meal may not seem so bad after all.
BLT Steak & BLT Prime, multiple locations
For the first time ever, BLT is rolling out a special Passover feast with dressed-up versions of classic dishes. Here, find chicken matzo ball soup with black truffle, braised grassfed brisket with dried fruit compote and horseradish salt, and a pike “gefilte fish” with pickled chanterelles and pea velouté. All this aside, the restaurants are perhaps saving the best for last with a passionfruit souffle and chocolate-dipped macaroons.
Marlow & Daughters, 95 Broadway, Brooklyn, (718) 388-5700
Just a reminder, Brooklyn’s favorite butcher and provisions shop makes brisket in-house from only the best grassfed, local-as-possible beef.
Toloache, multiple locations
Again, tacos. Because you can never have too many…And aside from the chipotle braised brisket tacos in matzo tortillas that have our mouths watering, chef Julian Medina will be serving a veggie-rich matzo ball chicken consommé spiked with the scent of jalapeño, guacamole-style spicy avocado smoked whitefish salad, beef short ribs with matzo-potato croquette and pickled vegetables, and a matzo custard tres leches with lemon meringue.
Good Enough to Eat, 520 Columbus Avenue, 212-496-0163
This UWS slice of home is taking a new tack on matzo over three courses, starting with creamed tomato soup, which it’s floating with matzo grilled cheese croutons. That’s followed by Swedish chicken-matzo meatballs and a s’mores matzo sundae with house-made vanilla ice cream. If that’s too out there for you, you’ll also find more traditional Passover dishes.
Francois Payard Bakery, multiple locations
For a sweet pastry fix, head to any of Payard’s bakeries for special Passover treats, including macarons made with matzo meal and salted caramel ganache, classic coconut macaroons, dark chocolate caramelized matzo with slivered almonds and fleur de sel, and a variety of flourless chocolate cakes and cookies.
Kutsher’s Tribeca, 186 Franklin Street, 212-431-0606
Catch the last of two special Passover meals at this Tribeca kosher favorite tonight; start with family-style appetizers of chopped chicken and duck liver with matzo, pickled vegetables, and sweet onion butter, then move on to coursed options, which include, yes, matzo ball soup, crispy artichokes with parmesan and lemon, lamb brisket, pan-roasted trout with roasted vegetables and meyer lemon confit, and macaroons or flourless cake for dessert. They even provide the Haggadah, so you needn’t bring your own.
And, finally, if you’re dining with family, consider this: Drambuie, that spicy whiskey libation old men like on the rocks, which is available at every liquor store known to man, is 100 percent kosher.