Sundown April 14 marks the first night of Passover.
For Jewish people around the world, this eight-day holiday remembers their exodus from Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. Freed from slavery, our ancestors are said to have fled into the desert and could not bake their bread, which turned out hard and flat. For that reason, matzoh is eaten during Passover.
Of course, every holiday has its own food customs. The first two nights of Passover, many families gather at the dinner table for Seder, where the story of Passover is retold and a giant feast is served.
Although many kosher restaurants close during Passover, many restaurants offer more secular interpretations of Passover favorites. Meals featuring slow-cooked brisket, gefilte fish, and cakes made with matzoh meal can be enjoyed by all. Here are some restaurants offering Passover dinners this week. Reservations are suggested, and gratuities are generally not included.
Blue Collar's Passover Corben
Blue Collar is making a special edition of its Corben sandwich by resting the tender brisket meat on matzo instead of the usual Portuguese muffin. Potato latkes and au jus are served alongside ($19).
BLT Steak's Passover Blackboard Dinner Menu
If you're on the beach and dying for a little matzoh ball soup, head to BLT at the Betsy for chef Daniel Ganem's Passover blackboard specials, served every evening from April 14 through 22.
We bet your bubbe didn't make her matzoh ball soup with black truffles ($12) or her gefilte fish with English pea velouté ($35). Other specials include a prime dry-aged brisket with dried fruit compote and horseradish sauce ($35), kugel gratin ($11), and deviled hen eggs ($12). For dessert, there's flourless chocolate cake with Frangelico ice cream ($11) or passionfruit soufflé with chocolate-dipped macaroons ($11).
The menu is also available as a three-course dinner from $60.
Passover Goes South of the Border at Rosa Mexicano
Who says Passover means having to eat boxed matzoh for eight days? For the 12th year in a row, Rosa Mexicano takes classic favorite dishes and ramps them up with some Mexican flavors.
Dishes include braised lamb shank with dates, baby onions, whole garlic, tangerines, and Passover rice with saffron and red chilis ($23); matzoh-breaded chicken breast with arugula, tomato, and jícama salad with tamarind vinaigrette and salsa verde ($19); matzoh ball pozole soup ($8); and banana leaf-wrapped barbecue brisket with dried fruit tsimmes and glazed baby carrots ($24). For dessert, there's copa de mango ($7), and instead of straight Manischewitz, there's sangria haroset, made with Herradura blanco tequila, honey, cinnamon, lemon, cold-pressed apple, and Manischewitz reduction ($12).
Passover dinner is served nightly from April 14 through 22. You can choose to dine à la carte or have the prix fixe for $42.
Epicure Gourmet Market's Instant Passover
Epicure Gourmet Market has all the fixings for a Passover dinner for 20 people or if you simply feel like having a little matzoh ball soup ($11.95). Each Epicure stocks homemade gefilte fish, boxes of matzoh, horseradish, bitter herbs for Seder ($5.95), and jars of soup.