Nothing like a new concept to freshen up an already fabulous area. The Upper West Side plays host to a myriad of small to medium restaurants with unique themes, great food and drink and more, and Mexikosher is no exception. From the brain child of current Top Chef contestant Katsuji Tanabe, Mexikosher is destined to be one of the next big concepts in the Manhattan foodie culture after our experience this past Thursday night. Here’s why.
I was already a big fan of Katsuji from Top Chef, as he is currently bringing his unique personality and culinary chops to the “Charleston” season and doing it fantastically. When i found out about Mexikosher, I had to see what all the fuss was about as this was a concept I didn’t really know existed. Essentially it reads as Chipotle but done in a Kosher was. Similar set up, with great results!
Here’s a little more of a background on Katsuji and Mexikosher:
Chef Katsuji Tanabe was born and raised in Mexico City, the son of a Japanese father and Mexican Mother. He has worked inside LA’s most acclaimed kitchens, from the four-star Bastide Restaurant to Maestro’s Steakhouse, before being recruited to lead the kitchen at LA’s top Kosher Steakhouse, Shilo’s. After competing on Top Chef, Katsuji opened the first authentic Kosher Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles, and arguably in the USA, Mexikosher. Now Katsuji is tackling New York and this is the first of many he is opening in the city.
The fifteen-seat Mexikosher pays homage to Katsuji’s Mexican heritage, and also has the added benefit of a completely Kosher operation. Mexikosher has the unique opportunity to give many who keep Kosher, their first taste of Mexican food, and many who don’t, their first Kosher meal.
I took my friend there late last week to sample some of the dishes and was thoroughly impressed by so many of them. The oddest part was that it didn’t leave us feeling overtly full, which Mexican food has the tendency to do sometimes.
As previously discussed, it is set up as a “fast casual” dining experience, that has you go left to right when building your flavor profiles. You have the option of enjoying your meal in five different ways: burrito, taco, rice bowl, salad bowl, or nachos. Being the lover of all things burritos, I decided to stick with that and chose Carne Asada marinated in fresh herbs and garlic as my meat option. Also topped with their yummy yellow rice, you have the option to include garnishes and salsa that are vast in tastes and execution. I chose to their pico de gallo and fresh seasonal vegetables on top, with a Chipotle-style dressing to finish it off. The overall result was mouthwaterningly delicious and made for an outstanding burrito with how well the Carne Asada was cooked and all of its supporting characters inside.
For an appetizer, we really enjoyed their Hot Wings which were breaded chipotle ones. The best part about it was that it didn’t need a dipping sauce, which wings generally do. The taste exploded in your mouth but did not burn and was incredibly satisfying to try. This can also act as a great meal on the go if you aren’t looking for something a little bit heavier with a taco or burrito.
Overall, I believe that Katsuji is onto something quite superb here with Mexikosher and I can easily see multiple locations being opened in every area of Manhattan as there is a definite audience for this. I would highly recommend heading there this week as the quality of the food we were presented with is too good to pass up!
For more information, check out their official site.