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July 8, 2011 2:23 am

Milk, Meat and Parve All at the Same Eatery

avatar by Maxine Dovere

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Boston's Mark and Beth Epstein's New York branch of Milk Street Cafe brings kosher fook and culinary flair to Wall Street. Photo: Maxine Dovere.

The New York “outpost” of Boston’s well known Milk Street Café has opened on Wall Street.  (The Boston location actually is on ‘Milk Street.”) In the world of food, the Manhattan Milk Street Cafe is a grand statement. Its space is impressive – 23,000 square feet on Wall Street. Its menu is immense, offering enough choices to offer a dedicated foodie a unique selection for weeks. Whether it’s a sweet potato brioche or a serving of braised short ribs, a cold, sweet, smoothie or your personally designed Chef’s Salad, the kashrut of everything you choose is under the strict supervision of the Orthodox Union. The menu is guided by Executive Chef Steven Mettle, who formerly held a similar position with AIG.

Dairy? Meat? Parve, too?  In a single restaurant? How this can be, one might ask. “Ah Ha”, says owner Mark Epstein. “We have three kitchens!”  The Epsteins, Mark and Beth, are a husband and wife team with 30 years of food industry experience. In the Milk Street Café they have created a “strictly kosher restaurant for the real world.” Located in the space once occupied by Mange! in Donald Trump’s 40 Wall Street signature building, the restaurant can meet (almost) every culinary challenge. The elephant in the room (or, in this case, it might be said, the cow) is the ubiquitous hamburger. It is not listed on the Milk Street Café menu. “Most people” said Beth, “want a cheeseburger.  Not possible here!”

Open less than a month, Milk serves breakfast, is “mobbed” at lunch, and is actively developing the dinner, after hours, and corporate catering aspects of its business. “Teaching our employees about kashrut has been a unique experience,” says Beth Epstein.  To gain understanding, each one has had to take an intensive study course given under the OU supervision. Uniforms, kitchens and packaging are differentiated not only by food type, but also by design.  Says Beth Epstein, we taught everyone “if you don’t know, don’t guess. It’s the absolute directive.”

“It’s great food that happens to be kosher,” says Epstein.

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