A Bite in the Apple: Sinful Sandwiches | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

A Bite in the Apple: Sinful Sandwiches

Bacon Cheeseburgers and a Doughnut Fried Chicken Sandwich Provide Kosher Diners a Taste of the Forbidden

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Being kosher means you can’t eat bacon or have a cheeseburger. But one restaurant owner in Brooklyn has added an item to his menu he hopes will turn heads.

“You want to taste the forbidden, but here’s it’s allowed,” said Yuda Holtzberg, owner of Main House Kosher Bar and Restaurant in Mill Basin. “I like to be innovative and surprise people.”

The ten ounce burger is topped with two ounces of in house-made beef fry, a special sauce, Daiya imitation cheese (which is pareve), lettuce, tomato, and pickled jalapenos on a toasted pretzel bun.

Main House Kosher Bar and Restaurant Has Added a Bacon Cheeseburger To Its Menu. Courtesy of Main House Kosher Bar and Restaurant

“It was months in the making,” he said. “There was a lot of trial and error. We had to get the right melt and the beef fry is cured to taste like bacon.”

At $32, it’s not cheap, but Holtzberg said customers have been impressed.

Elan Kornblum, president and publisher of Great Kosher Restaurants Media Group, recently tried the new menu item.

“It tasted good,” Kornblum said. “Definitely better than the reverse, of plant based (burger) and real cheese. It had the feel of a dressing like egg yolk or aioli."

Kornblum predicted that more kosher burger places will have the pareve cheese as a topping while many already have “bacon.”

It’s rare to find a kosher bacon cheeseburger. Some places that do serve it are Mocha Burger on the Upper East Side and in the Village, Mr. Broadway in midtown Manhattan, Streats Food and Drink in Cedarhurst, and PSY Street Kitchen in Los Angeles. Talia’s Steakhouse on the Upper West Side is believed to be the first kosher restaurant in New York to offer a kosher cheeseburger a few years ago but it is no longer on their menu.

Holtzberg said he is working on a new item of a meat pizza, also featuring pareve cheese.

Another high calorie item people may want to get their hands on is a fried chicken sandwich with glazed doughnuts instead of buns. Kentucky Fried Chicken recently announced it will be serving it in Virginia and Pennsylvania. A kosher version will soon be on the menu at Izzy’s Fried Chicken in Crown Heights. This is Sruli “Izzy" Edelman’s third restaurant after opening Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse and Izzy’s Taqueria. He won the NYC Brisket King title in 2017 and isn’t shy about trying new things. He said he is experimenting with the sandwich which has a pareve doughnut. “It’s a yeast-based doughnut and it’s definitely a gimmick,” he said. “When we put it on the menu, we will see what people think.”

Izzy's Fried Chicken will soon offer a fried chicken sandwich with glazed donuts instead of buns. Photo by Jerry Richter

Jerry Richter, a friend of the owner, got to try one with a special sauce and coleslaw because it was his birthday.

“It was a party in my mouth,” said Richter, who turned 59. “It was sweet and savory and exactly what you’d expect.  A lot of people would go crazy for it and some people might think it’s disgusting. It’s not for everybody but it’s for me.”

The Long Island resident said that the sandwich is a sign that the kosher world is catching up to the non-kosher world.

Dani Klein, founder of yeahthatskosher.com, said he could see the fried chicken-donut combo being a hit and lauded the restaurant owner.

“First he (Izzy) created the best kosher BBQ joint on the planet,” Klein said. “Then he excelled with authentic Mexican cuisine. There’s no reason to think that his Southern food won’t also blow us away.”

Gabriel Boxer, known as the “Kosher Guru,” said he is a big fan of the bacon cheeseburger at PSY Street Kitchen. He isn't surprised kosher restaurants are imitating non-kosher eateries. “People will see that non-kosher chefs are doing something then challenge kosher chefs to see if they can do it,” Boxer said.

What’s next? Great fake shrimp?

“They have it but it never caught on,” Boxer said. “People want food that tastes amazing. I think with shrimp, they just weren’t able to do it.”  

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