Bermanoff and his partner Matt Kliegman later opened Black Seed Bagel, which now has five locations (including one in Brooklyn), a James Beard nomination for its head chef/baker Dianna Daoheung and inspired a whole new set of would-be bagelmakers in NYC and beyond including Baz and the sit-down concept Sadelle’s, from Major Food Group which specializes in artisanal bagels and featured cured and smoked fish from a top-notch purveyor.
Around the country, trendy spots like Washington, DC’s Call Your Mother markets to millennials with neon purple graffiti and sandwiches with names like the Rihanna-Flex and The Efron. Half Sour in Chicago plays with fusion in dishes like pastrami chili and smoked salmon dip. Daughter’s Deli in West Hollywood is the 2.0 version of Trisha Langer’s namesake family restaurant.
Over the past couple of years, things have gone a few steps further — far beyond just bagels and deli fare. Freedman’s, which opened in 2018 in LA’s Silver Lake neighborhood, serves kasha-laced tartare, pastrami plates, and sweetbread schnitzel inside what feels like a hipster bubby’s house (think retro light fixtures and vintage print wallpaper). “For me and so many others, it was food that felt like home and like comfort,” says co-owner Jonah Freedman on why he was drawn to Jewish food as the focus of Freedman’s. “It was food wrapped in memory, nostalgia, and family. ...We wanted to look at the roots and history of Jewish American and Ashkenazi cooking and try to reinvigorate and reinterpret it.” The restaurant secured a James Beard nomination shortly after opening in fall 2017 for its former chef, Liz Johnson, and graced Bon Appétit’s 10 Hot issue cover in 2018, widely considered one of the hottest restaurant openings of the year.
In San Francisco, chef David Nayfield, opened the critically acclaimed Che Fico in 2018 as well, which was heavily inspired by the Cucina Ebraica, the Jewish cuisine of Rome. While waiting to immigrate to the US, Nayfield’s parents, originally from Belarus, spent six months in Rome, and were finally able to purchase food items they desired, without having to ration. “The flavors spoke to me in a familiar way,” Nayfield tells us. “They were a marriage of so many childhood memories and my newfound passion for everything Italian.“ Dishes like grilled chopped duck liver and supplì fried rice balls are examples of Nayfield’s interpretation of Cucina Ebraica, alongside plates of more classically Italian items like Neapolitan pizza and pasta pomodoro.