Everything old is new again in the Jewish food world, and one Boston chef is taking that to heart. Jarred Randall of bookstore/tapas bar Tres Gatos is planning to modernize Jewish cuisine, “providing Jewish flavors and delivering them in an unexpected form” for one night in a new pop-up restaurant. Fatboy Secrets will serve a six-course dinner menu on February 25.
The meal is full of Jewish classics: helzel, beitza, “gefilte shrimp,” krupnik, cholent, and cheesecake. But each dish is anything but traditional; Randall does not keep kosher.
Helzel, normally made with chicken innards and flour in chicken skin, is here made with foie gras. Beitza is usually seen as a hardboiled egg on the seder plate, but at Fatboy will be served with a brown butter yolk and Brussels sprouts. Gefilte is typically made with fish, not shrimp. Krupnik could refer to a honey-spiced vodka, but here probably means barley soup. Cholent is a Sabbath stew cooked overnight (due to work prohibitions); Randall’s inclusion of the sausage “kishke” is traditional, but using gnocchi instead of potatoes or dumplings is a delicious updated twist. Finally, goat cheese will add an interesting note to the dessert cheesecake.
Randall is part of a new generation of chefs updating traditional Jewish flavors. Recent years have seen a major revival of Jewish delis with establishments like Mile End and Caplansky’s, while smaller producers are revamping everything from gefilte fish to halva.