Kosher Style, Like Back in the Day…

For all of you folks in NYC who prefer your Jewish to be cultural, then you should definitely check out Mo Pitkin’s House of Satisfaction.
Started by Phil and Jesse Hartman, the downtown joint serves a fusion of Jewish and Latin food, in an ode to the original flavor of the LES. The restaurant itself is named after a distant cousin of the Hartmans around whom they have created a hysterical mythology. Some info about Mo from the menu:

Soon, he was on the run again, this time not stopping ‘til he got to Havana, where he tracked down his former nurse, Sadie, and became a competitive Samba dancer during the Latino dance craze in the ‘50’s. It was through his bi-weekly pinochle game with Hyman Roth (and Castro’s half-brother Mendel Hernandez), the Mo and Sadie we able to escape in ’59 and, on the run again, finally make it to the Lower East Side.

In all honestly, I’ve only been to the place three times (one of those times being the greatest break fast I’ve ever had in my life) and all I wanna do is go back. Given the gorgeous design of the place, I feel like I finally know what it would have been like to have been in the Catskills back in the day. The place looks great, the food is delicious if you’re not afraid to “take a walk on the treyf side” to paraphrase Mr. Lou Reed. Otherwise, the latkes and the borscht (yes, borscht) salad are more than worth it. Not only that, but everyone involved in the place is tremendously friendly and they make ya feel right at home. And there are some great shows in the lounge upstairs.
So not exactly a d’var Torah here, I do want to ask you readers a question. I read a letter in response to a profile of the place in The Jewish Week not too long ago, lamenting the fact that the restaurant isn’t certified Kosher, and how this keeps away many potential customers. So I keep wondering: Is it possible for a restaurant in NYC to draw in Kosher crowd, if you will, and appeal to the larger public? I mean, Dougie’s doesn’t exactly pull it off, do they?

9 thoughts on “Kosher Style, Like Back in the Day…

  1. That’s funny, I was about to leave the same post. And I’m not even from NY.
    In Boston, where I’m from, Milk St. Cafe has a loyal following of Jews and non-Jews alike. All the people working in the business district eat there everyday. Plus, they cater. Tell the folks at Mo’s to grow a pair and get certified.

  2. I don’t really think it’s a matter of growing a pair, per se, since the business is thriving. To yo, you’re totally right, and I was thinking about those plaves when I wrote this, but we’re also talking about a Lower East Side hipster joint, which definitely has a different type of flavor and appeal than those places, even though they attempt to appeal to all ages. The question of crowd affects atmosphere affects overall feel of the place, and demography and all of that nonsense is more what i was thinking about.
    Just to be clear, there’s a big difference between a business district and the neighborhood where you find mo’s. Location plays a role, there’s no doubt. To be honest, I don’t even know if the matter of becoming kosher necessarily entered the owner’s minds, since this place is, like i said, more about the cultural connection.
    That being said, if they were certified, etc…..would the certifiers be ok with them having a drag king perform upstairs?

  3. same issue with jewish singles cruises. in order to get a strict enough mashgiach (kosher supervisor) to go on the cruise, there would need to be strict rules on the ship for same-sex rooms, separated dancing, shabbat observance, etc.
    check out this press release about the jerusalem rabbinate cancelling the kosher certification of a youth hostel run by the conservative movement:
    as per the story in the news lately about the fake kosher caterer, the new slogan is: 99% kosher is 100% treyf

  4. chickpea on st. m arks. how’re they doing? all the big vegan/vegetarian macro places throughout the city are hectured.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.