at the J
By Ilene Schneider
Kosher Cuisine at its Best
When the great minds who conjured up the Merage Jewish Community
Center brought the project to fruition, they spared no detail –
including a first-class, Glatt Kosher restaurant on the premises. The
people who run the Café at the J spare no detail, either –
from the purchase of the food, to the preparation and presentation, to
the service. It’s a far cry from the kind of Kosher restaurant your
grandparents frequented, and it’s a great place to have anything
from a bite to a Bar Mitzvah.
Under strict rabbinic supervision, Café at the J uses high-quality
ingredients delivered weekly. “But it’s more than just the
food,” explained Elana Samson, catering manager. “It’s
a top catering facility, a top chef, and the ambiance of a brand-new Jewish
Open to members and guests of the JCC from 8 to 8 Monday
through Thursday and 8 to 5 on Friday and Sunday, Café at the J
serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as Starbucks coffee and snacks.
Diners can enjoy the atmosphere and the view or obtain meals to go. Passover
meals to eat at the café or take out are available, too.
Catering for events – from small parties to Bar/Bat
Mitzvah and wedding celebrations up to 250 people – is also available.
Rosemarie Kuritsky, Elana’s assistant, added that the staff is available
to plan catering for business meetings, lectures, teen functions, and
“anything that hotels can do, except sleepovers – and it’s
Chef Aniceto Lopez has worked at the Ritz Carlton, St. Regis,
and Hyatt hotels. He currently offers dairy and vegetarian daily specials,
including soups, salads, and a variety of entrees, many low-fat and all
Kosher. There are 10 salads and three kids of pizza daily, a soup du jour,
sushi, salmon, bourekas, burritos, pasta, cheese, fruit, lox, bagels,
and muffins. Besides the coffee, diners can choose from flavored tea,
creamy smoothies, juice, soda, milk, and water.
Mario Ramirez, who Samson described as “the face of
the café,” proved how friendly the service is. He kept a
constant eye on my piece of pizza, warming it to just the right temperature.
While probably not the best thing for my waistline, the roasted vegetable
pizza was divine. It consisted of roasted eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers,
garlic, and caramelized onion with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese.
I’d be happy to break another diet with it anytime.
Check out the sample menus, and check out the Café
at the J. B’tei avon!
Soup of the Day $4.00
California Roll (6pcs) $4.95
Roasted Vegetable Provencal Wrap $6.50
Roasted mushrooms, sweet peppers, eggplant and goat cheese with
fresh basil, avocado and alfalfa sprouts, served with an olive tapenade
in whole-wheat tortilla
Lox in a Box $7.95
Cured Nova Scotia salmon with vine ripened tomatoes, Bermuda onion,
capers, chopped egg and cream cheese served with a fresh bagel.
Tuna Sandwich $6.50
White albacore tuna salad
with lettuce and tomato on rye bread
Egg Salad Sandwich
Fresh Egg salad served on rye bread
Portobello Mushroom Panini $7.00
Braised Portobello mushrooms with julienned sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized
onions and fresh mozzarella cheese, served on rosemary flat bread
with basil mayonnaise.
(In addition, there’s pizza, soup, salads,
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