Joan Nathan would never cater her Passover seder. The famed cookbook writer known for her Jewish-American recipes usually cooks everything for the holiday, which starts on Monday, March 25. She even hosts a gefilte fish-making party for a few friends at her home in Washington, D.C. "If I didn't have a tradition of making my own, maybe I'd go out and get it," she tells Fork in the Road. "It's so much fun to go to a kosher store and see what's going on for Passover. Every year it gets better and better." While wandering in the West Village recently, she passed by rosemary matzo in a bakery window, a reminder that New York City is the American center of traditional and not-so-traditional Jewish cooking. "All those places now cater to the New York market," says Nathan. "In New York, you can even find a reasonable gefilte fish.
That's a relief. Home cooks may aspire to Joan Nathan's heights at the holidays, but even the most ambitious may draw the line at making their own gefilte fish. It already takes long enough to get through a seder; it makes sense to call in reinforcements to get the meal on the table. Whether you're hosting a meal for four or 40, or bringing a dish to someone else's home, some of the city's Jewish-inspired eateries are here to help you out.
Shank Bone: Dickson's Farmstead Meats
Pick up a lamb shank bone from Dickson's in Chelsea Market. Here, all the meat comes from local farms and most of the cuts are organic. The bones are no different and cost $12 a pound (bones average about a pound and a third). 75 Ninth Ave.
Charoset: 2nd Avenue Deli
Known for its cold cuts and potato pancakes, 2nd Avenue Deli sells charoset -- the mixture of chopped apples, wine, nuts, and cinnamon meant to represent the mortar with which Jewish slaves built pyramids in Egypt -- all year round. The recipe is traditional and homey, and the result is a light spread to be eaten with matzo or by itself. Buy it by the quart ($17.90) or the pint ($8.95) for take-out or delivery. 162 E. 33rd St.
Streit's Matzo Factory is one of the last remaining relics of Jewish heritage on the Lower East Side. Although it's now an international company, a visit to the original matzo-making operation can be a Passover ritual in itself. Watch machines churn out the flat matzo and then buy a box at the factory, in most grocery stores, or online where the company also sells dozens of other kosher-for-Passover products like chow mein noodles, potato chips, and pesto sauce. 148-154 Rivington St.
The Brooklyn-based start-up was founded by one of Joan Nathan's former assistants and sells gefilte fish and horseradish at various gourmet carriers and pop-ups. Dip your fish in sweet beet horseradish and carrot-citrus-flavored varieties. A single jar runs for $6.50 online or at one of these retailers around the city. Various Locations
Gefilte Fish: Zabar's
Gefilte fish is perhaps the most polarizing traditional Jewish dish, but Zabar's has been known to convert even the most petrified eaters. The Upper West Side landmark store makes each fish loaf by hand from pike and carp. Orders can be placed online in quantities of two ($7.98) to 12 ($39.98) or in store for the same prices. 2245 Broadway
Chopped Liver: Mile End Deli
For Hanukkah, Mile End Deli topped its latkes with chopped liver, a rendition made with onion relish, egg, and pumpernickel. It's rich and creamy, a special holiday treat. The chopped liver returns as part of the Mile End Passover catering menu, and the deli will offer enough to serve four to six for $15. But orders must be placed by Friday, March 22 to firstname.lastname@example.org. 97A Hoyt St., Brooklyn or 53 Bond St.
Brisket: Grow and Behold
Small farmers supply pastured meat to this strictly kosher start-up, and though the company's not certified organic, Grow and Behold ensures that its meat is "free-range organic." In addition to kosher-for-Passover briskets and roasts, they also carry hot dogs, chorizo, turkey, and chicken that can be delivered to your door. Orders must be placed online at growandbehold.com before Thursday, March 21 to ensure delivery by March 25. The same meat can also be found at Pardes Restaurant near Atlantic Terminal and on Long Island. Various Locations
Matzo Balls: Artie's
Artie's may not be the most famous deli in New York, and its matzo ball soup is often overlooked when recounting the greats. But the fluffy softball-size matzo balls are present on many Upper West Side tables. Order the (not kosher) chicken-based soup with noodles for $11 a quart, and extra matzo balls for $1.50 each. 2290 Broadway
Potato Pancakes: Ben's Deli
All year round, the latkes at Ben's Deli, crispy with just a hint of grease, are the size of small saucers. But come Passover, the kosher chain serves miniature versions for $10.80 a dozen. Pick them up in the Midtown store or order online. 209 W. 38th St.
Macaroons: William Greenberg Jr. Desserts
Not to be confused with French macarons, these Jewish coconut-based cookies usually come as palm-size hand-made sweet gut-bombs. William Greenberg on the Upper East Side has perfected the Passover desserts. The bakery sells vanilla macaroons dipped in chocolate for $32 a pound, as well as plain chocolate or vanilla, both for $30 a pound. Call to reserve a box; Monday morning, lines will be out the door. 1100 Madison Ave.