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EST. 2011 BY LIZ RUEVEN
LOX & Lots More at this Museum Cafe

LOX & Lots More at this Museum Cafe

When I visited LOX, an unassuming cafe at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, NYC, I had an all star group of noshers with me. I was sure I could count on this crew, all food writers and chefs, to savor a selection of newly inspired old world Jewish favorites, even if it took hours, which it did  (no fault of the service and only cause we couldn’t stop shmoozing). My crew included a CT transplant to Austin, an Aussie and a native Washingtonian, both living in NY now.*

L-R: Melinda Strauss, Naomi Nachman, Amy Kritzer, Chef David Teyf, moi
L-R: Melinda Strauss, Naomi Nachman, Amy Kritzer, Chef David Teyf, moi

This group of bloggers is game to eat for hours, analyzing subtle flavors and exclaiming with gusto when some bite is particularly thrilling. We are not shy about moving tables and chairs around to catch perfect light for photos. We are unabashedly confident when we over-order. Our words are brutally honest and unhibited, except when we ask our server if we’ve ordered too much. Which we always do.

 I am proud to nosh with this crew anytime.

sculptor andy goldsworthy garden of stones
Andy Goldsworthy, Garden of Stones

We found LOX on the second floor of the museum, in a sunny but unadorned space (they had only opened 2 months prior), with magnificent Hudson River views. Stroll out onto the terrace and take a few steps down to a permanent sculpture exhibit of large boulders, seemingly scattered into a pocket park by artist Andy Goldsworthy (click here for more on Garden of Stones).

There is much to contemplate there.

freedom tower nyc
Freedom Tower, NYC

Walk to the end of this slice of a sculpture garden and look over the glistening expanse of river to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. As you turn back to re-enter the cafe, the triumphant Freedom Tower rises above the museum, framing it between past, present and future. This is a lot  like the frame the museum establishes to tell the story of Jewish history throughout the museum’s three floors.

Everyone's favorite lady
Everyone’s favorite lady

The cafe is owned by chef David Teyf, caterer at Legendary Affairs in the tri-state area for many years. He was born in Minsk, where his grandfather and great-grandfather were prominent matzah bakers. Teyf’s slight accent was the clue, as was the smattering of Russian inspired dishes on the menu.

While checking out the lox at LOX we had to order the platter of what else? Lox Five Ways.

jewish food lox 5 ways

The side by side tasting was the perfect way to savor the distinctions between the Signature House Lox, infused with dill and vodka, and the Double Smoked Lox, surprisingly mild despite it’s double dose of cold hickory and mesquite smoked cure.

We were wow’ed by the less traditional cures on the platter although we agreed that we would gladly eat all five again. The Grapefruit and Gin Lox, tasted of juniper berries, providing a distinctive and pleasant freshness. We voted the Sake Ginger Lox, infused with ginger, sake and soy and dotted with sharp wasabi, as our favorite.

whitefish salad

We had to taste the White Fish Salad Sandwich and were glad to find chunks of fish with just the slightest amount of mayo and nothing more to distract from it’s outstanding freshness. This chef shows restraint in his presentation and seasoning, allowing top quality ingredients to shine.

hot smoked kippered salmon jewish food

We learned that Hot Smoked Kippered Salmon means the salmon is actually cooked, while the cold smoked salmon was raw. The kippered salmon was moist with generous chunks of pink fish barely able to be contained by a classic onion roll.

Jewish bento box with vodka shots
Jewish bento box with vodka shots

Jewish Bento Box was served with 3 vodka shots nestled into ice, providing us with a more Russian inspired experience (we imagined). We enjoyed schmaltz, matjes and pickled herring in cream sauce, noticing that each of us had our favorites.

garlicky dilled potatoes
garlicky dilled potatoes

The platter was a full meal served with garlic dill potatoes, country bread, a shot of borscht (great palate cleanser), Borodinsky black bread (traditional sourdough rye), fruit compote and matza babke bites (Teyf’s grandfather’s recipe).

The Bento Box and the Lox Five Ways platters are $36.00 each, an outstanding value.

photo: Naomi Nachman
photo: Naomi Nachman

As we wound our way towards the finish line, the deviled egg lovers in the group insisted on trying them. We were delighted to find four varieties of mushrooms, frizzled and carefully balanced atop creamy blended yolks. We sensed a play on traditional non-kosher toppings and appreciated the subtle reference.

There were many temptations for dessert: signature Russian coffee cake, cheese strudel, rugelach and mini black and whites.

In the end, chocolate babke won out, as it always does. We were rewarded with plenty of  gooey chocolate layered throughout my ideal loaf of goodness. 

IMG_5556

There are many more items to try on this Russian inspired Jewishly classic “appetizing” menu. I would love to go back and focus on all of the Russian items alone like the Minsk Matza babke, Sirniki (traditional cheese filled pancakes), Silotha (herring) in a Fur Coat. YES! I’ll be back just to check out what that could possibly mean.

Notes: These winter items have been added to the menu since I visited: hot borscht, hot-smoked chilean sea bass, lox matzo ball soup, latkes and branzino puff pastry.

Good to know:  All sandwiches are available on gluten-free bread or as salads.

Great news: Delivery throughout NYC is available through Seamless. Shipping is available nationwide.

Kosher: LOX is certified kosher- U.

Where: Museum of Jewish Heritage36 Battery Place in Battery Park City, NYC

LOX is open during Museum hours
Free entry – no Museum admission fee; Members receive a 10% discount.

*Be sure to follow these all star noshers and good friends on their blogs:

Amy Kritzer, What Jew Wanna Eat

Naomi Nachman, The Aussie Gourmet

Melinda Strauss, Kitchen Tested

 

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