I’m not sure how it happened but Jews love Chinese food. I’m sure there are exceptions, but it seems to be a stereotype that holds true. I’m Jewish. I love Chinese food. Therefore all Jews must love Chinese food. It’s fool proof logic. Actually, it’s strange when you think about it. Pork and shellfish are a staple of Chinese cuisine, yet for some reason, Jewish mothers everywhere chose it as THE meal to order when they didn’t feel like cooking (usually on Sunday nights). Of course the boneless spareribs, and pork fried rice ensured that while Jewish, I would never end up being Kosher. (I wonder if Chinese food had something to do with the rise in the number of reform Jews?)
This doesn’t really have anything to do with today’s review except for the fact that a) it’s a Kosher restaurant, b) I’m pretty sure it used to be home to Kosher Chinese restaurant, and c) what I ordered seemed strikingly similar to Chicken fried rice.
Thanks to the Diamond District, people who keep Kosher are probably psyched to work in Midtown. The pickings are probably slim for those who work in other areas of NYC like Tribeca, the Village, or god forbid Chinatown. (I’m pretty sure the hanging slabs of roast pork alone, make Chinatown a house of horrors for someone who keeps kosher.) Midtown, on the other hand, has tons of Kosher options- and one of the best is Taam Tov… and you don’t even have to keep kosher to enjoy it!
Pictures, what I ate, and the +/- after the jump…
Like most Kosher restaurants in the Diamond District, Taam Tov is on one of the upper floors of a building that houses numerous Jewelry stores. In fact, if you aren’t looking up, most of these places are pretty easy to miss it. Even if you are looking up, Taam Tov is still easy to miss, because the awning that covers it’s patio has the name of the old restaurant- I think it says something like ”Diamond Garden”, which I guess was a Kosher Chinese Restaurant. Once you find it, climb the three flights of stairs and you’ll find one of the best Kosher restaurants in the area. There is a take out window at the top of the stairs, or you can go sit in the dining area. They also have an outdoor patio (beneath the Diamond Garden sign) that is great on a nice day.
Everything I have read about Taam Tov talks about how delicious the lamb kebab is, but I don’t think that is the best part about this place. Quickly, I’ll just say- for $4.50 you get a small kebab, and nothing else. While the meat is tasty, and of better quality then the stuff you would get from a cart on the street- it was a little tough, and could have come with some side dishes! I’d rather spend a little more, and get a full meal… not sure why everything is ala carte.
But that’s ok, because the real jem of the place is the Bakhsh- or as I like to call it “Kosher Green Chicken Fried Rice”. Not the most appetizing name… but is more descriptive than Bakhsh (which I think just means “Green”). Taam Tov features the food of Uzbekistan, and Bakhsh is a Bukharian rice pilaf dish that is sauteed with a ton of herbs- so much, that the dish actually turns sort of green.
I’m not sure what the herb is, but it makes the rice delicious… almost like a forest exploding in your mouth (that’s the best I can do… I’m not a food writer- go try it and you’ll see what I mean). I read somewhere that the herb was cilantro, but I’m not a big fan of cilantro, and I loved this dish- so don’t let the cilantro thing scare you off if you’re not into it. I’m also not positive it’s chicken… it could be a lamb.
Don’t let the old awning, or the Chinese paper lanterns in the hallway fool you, there is no Chinese food in this Glatt Kosher Uzbekistan restaurant (they flirted with the idea of serving Kosher Sushi, but they got rid of it, despite it still being on the menu). But my confusing the Bakhsh with chicken fried rice is no coincidence… It turns out the cuisine of Bukhara (a border town of Uzbekistan) is heavily influenced by Persian food, Indian food (try the samsas), and CHINESE FOOD! You learn something new every day…
- The Bakhsh. It’s Rice. It’s green. It’s good.
- If you’re looking for a sit down Kosher meal, this place is one of the best. It’s also got free delivery for order over $6, and take out window.
- You don’t have to keep Kosher to enjoy it.
- Small Patio to eat outside if it’s a nice day.
- The more people you go with, the more dishes you can sample
- It can be a little expensive. Everything is ala carte, and there are no “meals”, so you have to order everything separately.
- The lamb was not the best the day I had it… the taste was delicious, but it was a little chewy (and it doesn’t come with any side dishes!). Most people rave, so it may have been an off day…
- On the third story, and it’s hard to find. Don’t be fooled by the Diamond Garden Chinese food awning over the third floor patio.
Taam Tov, 41 W. 47th St., 3rd Floor (btw. 5+6th), 212-768-8001