West LA: Getting Kosher at Ditmas Kitchen & Cocktails
Ditmas Kitchen and Cocktails has now been open on Pico for a little over a year now. Chef Alex Reznik (Top Chef, La Seine) wanted to open a high end kosher restaurant where people could eat things they were seeing on TV and social media. I admit I almost had considered kosher food a cuisine, like I do with vegan or vegetarian restaurants. I even had a crawl on Pico Boulevard hitting up the Jewish delis and bakeries. I equated kosher food to be Jewish food – pastrami and the like. But what if you can eat kosher sushi (Chef Alex has been there and done that) or more?
It’s time to rethink kosher. And Ditmas must be working because now Chef Alex is opening a kosher eatery in Flushing, Queens called Bedford Kitchen. Chef Alex calls Ditmas a steakhouse. But I like to think of it as so much more. There’s some influence from all corners of the globe in his cooking and Pico Boulevard is more interesting for it.
If you’re enjoying the bar, a couple great snacks to try are the fried garbanzo beans and pretzel.
The pretzel is gigantic and easily shared with a group or at least one other.
“Most wine is naturally kosher” says Chef Alex and by extension, some spirits. There’s a full bar menu and if you’re lucky during lunch, maybe the rabbi will make you a drink. Let’s explore more than Manischewitz.
I enjoyed my first drink, the Macho Barracho, even though we joked it’d put hair on my chest. It’s actually very well balanced. Look, tequila at a kosher restaurant!
Macho Borracho – Casamingos tequila, mint, lime, agave, grapefruit spritz
Moving over to dinner, we had the shishito peppers. These were perfectly blistered and I swear every one of them was spicy.
As you can imagine there’s no pork at a kosher restaurant. There’s a lot of lamb instead. The lamb baco and persimmon salad was an instant hit.
I’m getting more tequila guys, let’s go for a margarita. Most of us think of margaritas as a good thing to start with but it’s a punch-style drink so it actually is great with dessert too. Maybe next time I’ll get another margarita at the end- to go with cake!
Poke from Hawaii is all the rage these days. Ditmas has a version as well.
We gobbled up the lamb flatbread. We were starting to really get a taste for lamb.
There are some pretty drinks at Ditmas including My Boy Blue and the 6th Borough — ask for that and prepare to ask and receive the answer to where it is– Miami! No wonder why it’s so gorgeous and colorful.
6th Borough – vodka, blood orange, muddled Fresno chili, prosecco float
My Boy Blue – vodka, lemon, lavender, blueberry, agave
Initially Chef Alex didn’t want to do a baked potato at his steakhouse. He came up with the dirty Russian potato which is stuffed with beef. These cute potato bites beat boring stuffed potato any day.
Despite its odd name, Trafficking was my favorite drink at Ditmas. The Scotch drink had an intriguing mix of saffron, pineapple and mint.
Trafficking – Chivas 12 scotch, saffron, pineapple, mint
As part of the parade of openers, we also enjoyed the butternut squash soup and corned beef tongue with tiny fried quail egg. It was a great way to start the meal.
There goes that lamb again. Chef Alex told us a funny story of how he acquired this “ancient” pasta machine but it’s a workhorse… and it turned out lovely noodles. We had the lamb carbonara that also got topped with a fried egg. Make sure to mix in that yolk for extra creamy noodles.
It’s always fun to eat with a Chef who also knows your spirit of choice. Chef Alex proclaimed I needed the Whiskey Magnificent. It’s a citrus-y bourbon drink with plenty of cucumber and mint.
Whiskey Magnificent – Four Roses bourbon, cucumber, lime, mint
For our fish course, we had the golden spotted bass which was deboned at our table. It was almost Latin in flavor profile with a pico de gallo — chopped tomatoes and cilantro with onion.
The winning moment came next with the meat playground. The Cote de Boeuf (double ribeye) was first shown to our table then taken back to the kitchen to be sliced and plated. And there were onion rings because yes, this is a steakhouse! I also really loved the mushrooms and spinach with this steak. When we were going for the last bites, I was lucky enough to get the fattier pieces. Oh, the juice! Divine.
We couldn’t leave without a little sampling of the desserts. In order to keep kosher, butter is not used so the pastry chef had to learn to love alternative options like coconut oil.
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