Jewish Food

The Five People You’ll See at Jezebel, SoHo’s Trendy New Kosher Restaurant

The upscale glatt kosher eatery draws Jews, obviously, but here’s who else Read More

By / July 26, 2012

The Manhattan restaurant scene is fickle and ever-changing, though there is one constant: it’s the people and the atmosphere that often make the high prices worth it for diners. This is perhaps never more true than at Jezebel, the SoHo chic kosher restaurant I profiled yesterday in Tablet Magazine. The food was good, but not $88 steak good, and what made it exciting—at least in the new restaurant sense—were the people there.

Here are the five types of people you’ll likely run into while dining at Jezebel:

1. Jews! We all knew that was coming, so it’s just as well to put it right there, upfront: this is a place where you will see Jews. “It’s true we don’t want to be associated or compared with anyone else,” Henry Stimler, one of the restaurant’s two founders, told me, “but at the helm of it, we are a kosher restaurant.” It turns out if you build a kosher restaurant in Manhattan, they (the Jews) will, in fact, come. It’s a fun place—new and shiny, and glatt kosher. But part of why I think we, the Jews, come, is to share ambient surroundings with the rest of the people on this list, most of whom you would never catch dead at the majority of New York’s kosher eateries. Like…

2. Supermodels! I’m not saying that they were supermodels per se, but all I’m saying is that when I was at Jezebel, there were tall, shiny women who radiated ethereal beauty across the restaurant. That’s good enough for me, but maybe not for…

3. Celebrities! When I say celebrity, I mean Manhattan celebrity (with the exceptions of Russell Simmons and the New York Knicks’ Baron Davis). And when I say Manhattan celebrity, I don’t mean Jerry Seinfeld (he’s everyone’s celebrity), I mean the type of people who would only be recognized and gawked at by the type of people who would go to a SoHo restaurant and pay $18 for a cocktail while waiting more than an hour to be seated in a loud dining room where the food is just as overpriced but not as restorative. Like Joel Warren (I had to look him up too). Of course, there is a type of diner who would pretend to not care if Oprah herself walked through Jezebel’s mezuzah-clad door, and they are the…

4. Foodies! Perhaps this category is better called ‘Hipster Foodies,’ because there’s nothing quite as ironic as ordering a kosher cornish hen for $48 when just earlier that day, at the city’s latest hiptastic gastropub, you ate more bacon than the Epic Meal Time guys could even dream of. But do you know what is perhaps the greatest irony of all? That everyone on this list, including the hipster foodies, are…

5. People Who Want to be Seen! The art of Manhattan dining is the impressive, difficult feat of being seen while simultaneously doing your best to seem like you don’t want to be seen. Why else would you spend $100 plus on a night at the newest ‘it’ place in town, if not to get there and feign practiced indifference while discretely skimming the crowd to see who might recognize you?

And that’s the beauty of eating in Manhattan: though deep down everyone is just as narcissistic as in any other town, New Yorkers have enough panache to hide it. This means that you can go to a restaurant like Jezebel and make the night about anything you want it to be (except maybe inexpensive dining). I’m glad that Orthodox Jews (see: number one) can finally partake in this hallowed New York tradition. Thanks, Jezebel.