Catering Your Seder
Hosting that most recognized of Jewish ritual feasts? Don’t pass over help from these nine caterers.
Even if your grandma taught you the art of fashioning feather-light matzoh balls, you may need a little help with the Passover meal. The following great cooks are there for you with a few flourless desserts or the whole shebang, horseradish to macaroons. Note, though, that most are not kosher kitchens.
Supersol of Westchester and its catering division, The Gourmet Chef (1066 Wilmot Rd, Scarsdale 914-472-2240), are traditional and kosher. For the holiday meal, you might prefer duck, rib roast, or pepper-crusted tuna instead of brisket; they can do that. There’s matzoh ball soup but also potato-leek or carrot soup. Kugels of all kinds—broccoli, spinach, apple, potato—will round out the meal. Seder packages that serve 12 people are priced between $299 and $399.
“Yes, Myong Feiner does Passover,” says her husband and Myong Private Label Gourmet (360 N Bedford Rd, Mount Kisco 914-241-6333) business partner Rob Feiner. “She’s Jewish!”—but, note, not kosher. And Korean. And especially health-conscious; gluten-free eating is a specialty, too. She uses no chicken fat in her chopped chicken liver ($12.95/lb). “But you’d never know the difference,” says Feiner. Myong-style brisket ($27.95/lb) is braised in tomatoes and wine and is decidedly “not your grandma’s brisket.” Matzoh ball soup and charoset are each $12.95/lb.
At The Perennial Chef (25 Depot Plz, Bedford Hills 914-666-6523), Chef Michael Williams insists on making his gefilte fish from scratch (about $20 for 4 pieces). “Once our customers taste the difference, they cannot go back to jarred fish,” he says. His homemade chopped chicken liver is heavenly as well ($11.95/pint). Braised beef brisket with potatoes and carrots au jus ($95 for a pan that serves 8 to 10) or Moroccan lamb tagine ($62 for a pan that serves 6 to 8) are among the entrée suggestions, served with The Perennial Chef’s year-round, bestselling latkes—three different kinds, no less: potato, sweet potato, and zucchini/potato. For dessert, order the traditional coconut macaroons or pastel Parisian macaroons, which come in 12 different flavors and are among the flourless sweets.
Chef Matthew Karp will offer an à la carte Passover-to-Go menu and a full second-night Seder at Plates (121 Myrtle Blvd, Larchmont 914-834-1244). His mom’s gefilte fish ($14/lb) and Grandma Mayers’s recipe for matzoh ball soup ($20/quart) join a Milanese discovery—vegetarian matzoh lasagna ($35/half tray). The noodle kugel, brisket with gravy, and macaroons for dessert are prepared with Karp’s own signature touch.
Rye Country Store (41 Purchase St, Rye 914-967-3450) does a brisk prepared foods business all the time and owner Claire Hassi says orders “run the gamut” on Passover. “From people just buying our chopped liver ($9.95/lb) because they can’t stand making it themselves to customers who buy everything from us.” Homemade applesauce ($4.95/pint) is a big seller, as are the two different briskets ($18.95/lb).
Silver Spoon Catering (200 E Main St, Mount Kisco 914-241-0955) starts at $35 for a prix-fixe Seder meal but can arrange both full-service catering and à la carte ordering. They often have catered synagogue Seders and Chef Craig Pellis likes to add a little style to the traditional dishes. The brisket is grilled and smoked; the gefilte fish can be made with salmon, Cajun-style spicing, or with herbs. Matzoh wraps filled with ratatouille make a unique accompaniment.
At Standing Room Only (1491 Weaver St, Scarsdale 914-472-3002), Chef Jack Tacconi promises that he makes a “dynamite carrot soufflé” for Passover. Other intriguing sides on his list include a broccoli pie made with matzoh meal and eggs and a sweet potato-apple casserole with chopped walnuts (8 servings/$25; 15 servings/$46). Yes, there’s brisket, but consider chicken with olives, apricots, and capers (about $8 a serving). Desserts are scrumptious and flourless: brownies with ground almonds ($21/dozen), chocolate torte ($24), or apricot squares ($18/dozen). Yum.
Chef Taylor Smelser of Taylored Menus (101 Castleton St, #103, Pleasantville 914-741-5410) has mined his Hungarian grandmother’s recipes for Passover. He prepares stuffed cabbage and paprika-tomato brisket ($17/lb), as well as more Mediterranean-influenced dishes, such as chicken stuffed with artichoke, sun-dried tomatoes, and spinach kugel ($17/tray); Moroccan-style root-vegetable salad with cumin and olive oil ($16/tray); or cucumber-tomato salad with basil vinaigrette ($18/tray). The savory potato, zucchini, and spinach ($18/tray) or sweet and creamy apple, raisin, and almond kugel ($21/ tray) are very popular as well. And doesn’t a brown-sugar and sweet-potato pie with a pecan crust sound wonderful for dessert ($19/tray)? Trays serve 8 to 10 guests.
Whole Foods Market (100 Bloomingdale Rd, White Plains 914-288-1300) is a reliable source for traditional dishes for Passover, and vegetarian chopped “liver” and carrot-cherry kugel will please guests looking for more modern options. Brisket, thyme/lemon-roasted turkey breast, matzoh ball soup, and charoset complete the menu. Flourless desserts are available as well. (Prices unavailable at press time).
Judith Hausman is a food writer who lives in South Salem. Her co-authored book, Over the Rainbeau: Living the Dream of Sustainable Farming is available at rainbeauridge.com. For this year’s Seder, she’s going to make a Sephardic charoset with apricots and almonds.