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Secret Restaurant Recipes

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How many times have you been in a restaurant, savoring the last bites of your dish, quietly wishing, “If only I could make this at home!” You don’t have to wish anymore; now you can turn to Secret Restaurant Recipes by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek.

After writing four popular cookbooks—by home cooks and for home cooks—Schapira and Dwek turned to an area of cooking that has always been inaccessible to most of us: professional restaurant kitchens. Professional chefs don’t cook the same way that home cooks do, and in Secret Restaurant Recipes, Schapira and Dwek set out to unlock their secrets.

Featuring dishes from more than 70 top kosher restaurants from all over the world, Secret Restaurant Recipes isn’t just a book full of recipes; it’s full of tips, techniques, and flavor pairings from today’s best kosher chefs. Within these pages, you’ll learn how to cook like a pro. As with their previous cookbooks, the Made Easy cookbook series, the authors fill the pages with their unique voices, their signature tips, and their friendly kitchen guidance. Go behind the scenes into the kitchens of the world’s top kosher restaurants, and then join Leah and Victoria as they make it easy for you to recreate these dishes at home.

Secret Restaurant Recipes features elegant dishes from acclaimed restaurants such as Reserve Cut and Prime Grill in New York City and Tierra Sur and La Gondola in LA, as well as from celebrity chefs such as Jeff Nathan of Abigael’s in NYC, Chopped Champion Chef Katsuji Tanabe, and one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs, Karen Nicolas. It also boasts family-friendly, everyday recipes such as Chicken Fingers with Dipping Sauce and Shallots’ Beer-Battered Onion Rings, and classic American-style Chinese food such as Sesame Chicken, Eggplant Chicken with Garlic Sauce, and Mongolian Beef. You’ll discover the background of the featured restaurants and your mouth will water as you read about their specialty dishes. No matter what your favorite kosher restaurants are, you’re likely to find one of their menu items in this book.

Secret Restaurant Recipes is a completely one-of-a-kind cookbook, featuring secret techniques and cooking tips direct from the chefs; beautiful, full-color photos for every dish; simple, family friendly recipes for every day and sophisticated suggestions for special occasions; the perfect guide for kosher restaurant aficionados who want to learn more about their favorite dining spots; and complete menu suggestions for meals, from an elegant dinner party to a cozy winter dinner. This oversized 9×9-inch hardcover cookbook makes an excellent gift.

Sea Bass Spring Rolls

Naftali Abenaim, Owner, Mocha Bleu. Teaneck, NJ

“ … The rest of the menu has great variety and creativity, including the tempting selection of pizzas … which emerge from Mocha Bleu’s cherry wood-burning oven. There are also gluten-free pizza and pasta alternatives. With glass-tiled walls and Lucite seating, the modern Mocha Bleu ambiance is very striking …”

Yield: 14 spring rolls

Category: Pareve


½ lb. Chilean sea bass, cut into ¼-inch cubes

1 lb. kani (imitation crab), shredded

3 Tbsp. mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

½ tsp. mirin

½ tsp kosher salt

14 sheets feuille de brick or spring roll wrappers

oil, for frying


In a medium bowl, combine sea bass, kani, mayonnaise, sesame oil, mirin, and salt.

Spread filling over the bottom-center of each wrapper. Fold in sides; roll up tightly.

Heat oil in a saucepan or deep fryer. Add spring rolls, a few at a time, and fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.

“Mirin is a Japanese rice wine, a staple in Japanese cuisine. It’s the ingredient that’s traditionally used to flavor sushi rice. It has a very low alcohol content and a strong, sweet flavor, so you only need a little bit.”

At Mocha Bleu, these spring rolls are served alongside sweet ginger sauce for dipping. To make your own, whisk together: 6 tablespoons sweet chili sauce, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger, and 1 minced garlic clove.

Eggplant Chicken
In Garlic Sauce

Daniel Gilkarov, Owner, Segal’s Oasis Grill, Phoenix, Arizona

“ … Like many out-of-town restaurants, Segal’s is a casual spot that serves some American, some Chinese, and some Middle Eastern food. There’s a sushi menu and a deli menu. But the difference is that it’s all really, really good. My husband has returned to Phoenix on business and Segal’s remains the nightly stop …”

Yield: 2 servings

Category: meat


1 lb. eggplant, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

kosher salt, for sprinkling

1 lb. skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

3 Tbsp. cornstarch, for dredging

3 Tbsp. chopped garlic

1/4 tsp. chili pepper flakes

1/3 cup shredded carrots

canola or vegetable oil, for frying

Dark Sauce:

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1 tsp. cornstarch


Sprinkle eggplant chunks with salt; allow to rest for 20-30 minutes (this process will prevent eggplant from soaking up too much oil during frying). Rinse salt from eggplant and drain well.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, black pepper, and cornstarch. Set aside.

Prepare the chicken: Place cornstarch into a shallow dish; toss the chicken in cornstarch to coat very well.

Heat 3 inches of oil in a wok or 1 inch of oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add chicken to hot oil and pan-fry until golden, 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from oil and set aside.

Add the eggplant to the same pan and fry until light golden, 2-3 minutes. Remove from oil and set aside. Discard oil, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the wok or pan.

Add garlic and chili pepper flakes and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Return chicken and eggplant to the pan.

Add carrots and sauce and stir-fry for 2 minutes, coating all the ingredients well with the sauce.

“Of all the rules of the kitchen that I have learned and followed over the years, I feel the most important one is if you enjoy cooking, then you do it right. Try not to cook if in a foul mood. And just have fun.”

Recipes from Secret Restaurant Recipes by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek. Reprinted with permission from the copyright holders: ArtScroll Mesorah Publications


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Posted by on January 22, 2015. Filed under In This Week's Edition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.