Kutshers was essentially a Jewish country club/holiday destination that was built in the early 1900s. Located in the Catskills where women would take their children there for endless vacations and their husbands would take the train up at the end of the week. Everything would be included from sports activities to food. The staff would live in the small bungalows on the property most of them who were the age of a camp counselor. Musicians and sports figures of each era would teach there. It was an incredible place and Kutshers made a serious mark in history. Referred to as the Borscht Belt it is part of a world that no longer exists.
I had read that Kutshers was opening in Tribeca. Zach Kutsher, the fourth generation of the Kutsher family teamed together with Alan Wilzig, Richard Kirshenbaum and Jeffrey Chodorow to create a Jewish American bistro that would carry on the tradition of hospitality and community in Tribeca.
I got an email the day the restaurant opened from someone in the organization asking me if I was interested in any other information. In fact I was…a reservation. This past Friday night, we went two other people to have dinner at Kutshers. The restaurant has a nice vibe. Big bar in the front room with two long communal tables and then a dining room in the back. Soft colors and great mellow lighting. How could I not love a place that serves pigs in a blanket as a bar snack and a cocktail called bug juice. For all of you who didn't go to camp that was what the name of the liquid we drank for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
We started with a mixture of appetizers. Gefilte fish. I love gefilte fish. Wild halibut white fish made into gefilte fish then chopped and molded into a round shape over a parsley vinaigrette. One of the molds are a mix of beets and horseradish that goes perfect with the fish. Never seen gefilte fish displayed so nice.
Small crispy artichokes served over frisee coated with a really tasty lemon vinaigrette and shaved Parmesan cheese over the top. Excellent salad.
Latkes are one of those things that people get really emotional about because latke recipes get handed down from generation to generation. Kutshers has perfected this. The right sized latkes that was crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. Topped with a dollop of sour cream and three different toppings, salmon roe, caviar and a hint of wasabe.
A trio of cured salmon. Nova, pastrami and grave lox. This is served with a chive cream cheese spread and small slices of pumpernickel bread. Every one of these salmons were delicious but the plain Nova was my favorite. I like my salmon simple and this was pretty much perfect.
Roast chicken for two. Super crispy skin that just sparkled. They serve the chicken cut up for you over served with a bread stuffing mixed with black trumpet mushrooms. Perfectly cooked. White meat was juicy and the dark meat was even juicier.
Grilled duck breast with a cholent braised leg. Cholent is a stew that cooks all day and is generally served on the sabbath because you aren't suppose to use any electricity that day. The cholent goes in the oven the night before at a low heat and cooks about 12 hours for a late Sabbath lunch or dinner. Crispy skin on the breast served over fava beans, swiss chard and Israeli couscous mixed in a rich brown sauce. I'd like to see a little more of that mixture on the plate. The duck could have been cooked just a tad more but considering they just opened 8 days ago, the dish was delicious.
Simple brussel sprouts served in a tiny iron pot. Yum.
Desserts were not my favorite. The large seven layer devils food cake was certainly calling our name. It reminded me a bit of diners in Long Island. I'd like to see more cake and less frosting.
Chocolate babka bread pudding. A really beautiful presentation but I'd love to see this a little more down and dirty like a bread pudding I'd make at home. A large scoop of chopped babka that had baked with an egg mixture sitting on the plate with the pear brandy caramel sauce dribbled over the top. That is just my own personal vision.
Both of the ice creams were good. This was a simple scoop of caramel salted ice cream we got on the side.
To be completely transparent about our experience they were so nice to me (us), maybe my reputation proceeded our arrival which is certainly a first. Zack would not let me pay for our meal. Regardless, I always call it as I see it and I loved this place. I have been talking about it since we went. BTW, kids menu too. I can hardly wait to go back and taste the deli platter and of course a few pigs in a blanket.
I spent a lot of time at Gibbers in the Borscht belt with my grandfather who worked as a tailor in the garment district during the week.Great memories.BTW…If you haven’t seen the movie, Walk on the Moon, which takes place in a Jewish Bungalow colony the weekend of Woodstock, you might take a look.
i have seen it. a world that no longer exists.
Kutshers received a nice write-up in last week’s New York Magazine. The backing of Chodorow is legit.
Yes it is. Good way of putting it
WOW. That place was a big part of my childhood. Can’t wait to visit this new place.Sure is new– right now it’s not in Yelp, and there’s no mayor for it on 4sq.
Run. You can be the mayor
“Noboby puts baby in a corner.”Catskills+1 😉
Was a great appetizer, as usual. Thanks
Sounds excellent – Jewish cuisine is really under-served (at least outside of NYC), I think it’s going to be a trend – comfort food v2.
Pigs in a blanket is just the ultimate in comfort food and if course the roast chicken
OMG – why can’t more restaurants serve simple yummy food like this? Can’t wait to try.
last year i spent the weekend at Kutscher’s for the All Tomorrows Parties music festival. it was the most beautifully dilapidated setting. on the last night i discovered what was once an indoor skating rink. i walked in hearing the sound of old music blaring from a tape deck that still worked! there was a couple dancing around the warped wooden rink wearing the pieced together remains of skate costumes. utterly surreal.
that sounds totally surreal. wish you had a camera. i remember you told me that you went there. the original family sold in 2007 (i think).
this elite restaurant and the way our food is served and shown is wrong period – its a sell out to something else
we are definitely moving into a much more relaxed world of restaurants and what is on the menu. hence, the revolution of burger bars.
All I can say is that I’m practically in shock reading this review! While I do not doubt any of hour food reviews, the reason is that my family stayed at Kutshers about five years ago when picking up our daughter from camp. It was the worst hotel experience we’ve ever had. The place was still living in the early 60’s, truly filfthy, on and on. They practically refunded our entire bill. I’m glad that the restaurant sounds so great because I never would’ve had the courage to try it. An amazing turnaround or rebirth of a tattered brand.
the next generation…he fixed it.