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What the %#*^ is Happening to Kosher Restaurants in Brooklyn?

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time in Brooklyn and I’ve been noticing some odd and some disturbing things. Here are 3 things I’ve recently experienced, 2 last night, and one Purim night.

    On Purim night after the megillah, and after my son finally fell asleep, my wife and I decided to go out for dinner and we decided on the always yummy T for 2 Lite on Nostrand Ave. in Midwood. When we arrived, it was close to 10:30 / 11pm and the place was more than half empty. We ordered a sushi special, which included 3 specialty rolls. Typically when we order such specials they are made from scratch and can take up to 20+ minutes to prepare. Needless to say, we waited over an hour for our food!

    For a place that was not busy, they were not able to churn out a non-cooked dish out in a normal span of time. The waiter informed us about 30-40 minutes after we had ordered our food that the sushi chef was preparing a large catering order, and has not yet started making our sushi. Common sense tells me that if this were the case, we should have been notified in a proper amount of time about this, and be given the option to order something not on the sushi menu. For hungry Jews, a proper amount of time is probably 5-10 minutes, max. (To my gentile readers, never get in the way of Jews and their food).

    Our food eventually arrived and was tasty. However, T for 2 Lite has the audacity to include gratuity on their bill. You can call me cheap, or whatever you want, but in my opinion, a tip or gratuity, must be earned. By including this on ALL bills, you are in essence charging a tax to your customers, AND you do not need to provide good service, as you will make your tips either way. I find this practice a bit distasteful, maybe borderline unethical, but I don’t consider myself an ethicist. I told the waiter/manager (apparently no manager was on staff and the waiter presumed to be the manager) that he was wrong in how they treated us (and the table next to us that also ordered sushi) and they are wrong in charging an automatic tip. Thankfully, he was wise enough to remove the gratuity from our bill, and I have no qualms telling you that I did not leave him a tip. I should have walked out before my food was served, but it was late, and I was hungry.

    Now to last night. I get off the Q train at Ave J, and I keep passing this new-ish place on the corner of E16th & Ave J, across the street from the Yeshivah of Flatbush and Touro College. It’s called Café 16, and it has a mug with steam as it’s logo on it’s awning. I walked in just to check it out. It has a cafeteria style ambiance, and around 8:30pm, the place was completely empty. When you walk in there’s a counter with baked goods, candy/nosh, and a salad bar. Then I started to look more closely. Items were listed on the wall, hand-written, and they were Deli sandwiches. I asked for a menu, grabbed one, and saw a picture of a hoagie/deli sandwich on it, with a Glatt Kosher hashgacha.

    I was and still am beyond confused.

    Who calls a deli a café and uses a mug as their logo? This place needs to decide if it wants to serve breakfast or serve a meat lunch/dinner. No one wants a pareve coffee or danish, even if you’re lactose intolerant. Needless to say, I did not try the food. If you have, please comment below and let us know how it is.

    To end the night, as I was approaching my destination for the evening, I noticed this large van parked half in the driveway nextdoor – half in the street. A pizza delivery van, from J2 Pizza. Not J2 Pizza on Ave M in Brooklyn. Not J2 Pizza on Broadway in Midtown. J2 Pizza from Woodbourne. That’s right, the Catskills. “We Deliver”. Are there not enough kosher pizza options in Brooklyn, that we need to import pizza from Woodbourne?


~Dani Klein

About the author

Dani Klein

Dani Klein founded YeahThatsKosher in 2008 as a global kosher restaurant & travel resource for the Jewish community.

He is passionate about traveling the world, good kosher food / restaurants, social media & the web, technology, hiking, strategy games, and spending time with his friends & family.