Reinventing Jewish Food: 6 Dishes Across the U.S.

By Kelly Dobkin  |  April 16, 2014

Jewish cuisine is having a moment - and it's not happening in delis. Chefs around the country are drawing influence from the flavors of classic deli fare (pastrami, matzo-ball soup, bagels) and integrating it into their menus in creative ways. Below, we've rounded up a few must-try dishes in line with the trend - let us know if we've missed any of your favorites in the comments. 

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Pastrami Toast, Vernick Food & Drink, Philadelphia, PA

    The pastrami trend and the toast trend (hot in SF) unite at Vernick in Philadelphia, where former Jean-Georges chef Greg Vernick channels his Jewish roots at this American eatery by serving up shaved pastrami on grilled sourdough with rhubarb mustard and pastrami jus. The toast is grilled lightly over hot lava rocks to get it perfectly charred and is finished with a drizzle of olive oil.

  • Credit: Ashley Shears

    Lox and Burrata, Empire Diner, NYC

    The newly revamped Empire Diner got a menu makeover by Chopped chef Amanda Freitag, who incorporated a few Jewish-inspired dishes onto the gussied-up diner menu. Among them, her lox and burrata with house-cured salmon and everything-bagel spice integrates Jewish flavors with a creamy Italian burrata.

  • Pastrami Egg Roll, Red Farm, NYC

    This West Village Chinese-food specialist pays homage to Jewish cuisine with these twice-fried crunchy egg rolls, which are filled with pastrami from Katz's Delicatessen and served with a side of Chinese mustard.

  • Duck Reuben, Zentan, Washington, DC

    This trendy DC Asian spot channels its inner Jew with this cuisine-melding duck Reuben. Chef Jennifer Nguyen whips up an Asian-ified Thousand Island dressing - made with Thai chiles, cayenne, dried orange, dried ginger, nori and mayo. The roasted duck is topped with melted Gruyère, kimchi, mizuna greens and sandwiched in between slices of rye bread.

  • Credit: David L. Reamer

    Northwest Gefilte Fish, Lincoln, Portland, OR

    Star chef Jenn Louis pays homage to both her Jewish heritage and PDX at her American bistro bar with her “Northwest Gefilte Fish,” served as an occasional special. Instead of the more traditional whitefish, Jenn uses a combination of salmon and halibut ground up and mixes in egg, matzo meal, lemon zest and fennel and then poaches the oblong-shaped fish patties in a court bouillon.

  • Credit: Steve Hill

    Blue Ribbon Sandwich, Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, NYC

    A Southern staple, fried chicken, goes Jewish with a matzo crust at this trendy NYC hot spot. Chicken breast is coated in matzo meal for an extra-crisp crust before being topped with lettuce, tomato, quick-pickled cucumbers and Blue Ribbon Special Sauce.