Local Eateries Offer Unique Flavors for Rosh Hashanah


Rosh Hashanah always seems to mark the beginning of fall, with bursting autumnal flavors like apples, of course, and savory briskets perfect to warm you up on a brisk (pun unintended) September night.

This year, however, the holidays are a bit early and weather-wise we can’t seem to escape this pesky heat. The idea of cooking a hot brisket may make you groan instead of salivate.

So instead, try one of these places or items, which offer fun twists on classic holiday foods; and you don’t have to do a thing except call to make an order or reservation.

As far as baked goods, the sky’s the limit with how you can offer up some variety while still delivering the classic tastes of Rosh Hashanah. Just get your orders in as soon as possible.

Tova du Plessis of Essen Bakery was busy baking on a recent Tuesday morning, getting ready for the inevitable holiday rush.

Among the High Holidays offerings are classics like challahs (plain, raisin or seeded) and plenty of cakes, from Jewish apple cake to the chocolate babka the bakery is known for, as well as cinnamon hazelnut babka, cheese babka and chocolate rugelach.

For the third year, she will also offer honey cake with beer and apples.

Hold up. Beer?

“I tell people it’s a very interesting cake,” she acknowledged. “It’s something you’ve got to try because it’s so different from just an ordinary cake, and I describe the flavor as dark and rich, but still so easy to eat a whole slice.”

She uses Guinness to add a darker and richer flavor to the honey and apples.

She’d seen a recipe a few years ago for a honey cake that uses beer and loved it. The beer, she said, adds a more intense flavor to the already rich combination of honey, apples and spices.

Rosh Hashanah offers a chance to be with loved ones and — perhaps most importantly — eat, which is why she likes the holiday so much.

“I love that it’s about eating together with your friends and family,” she said.

Philly bakeries like Roz’s Homemade Goodies will also offer up classic goods from honey cakes to challahs and an assortment of other breads.

Over in Cherry Hill, Classic Cake also posted its pareve and dairy Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur menu, with cheesecakes galore (either chocolate-topped or fruit-topped) plus a Jewish apple cake and assortment of other treats, like a honey loaf or various flavors of rugelach.

But if you’re looking beyond those options, their fall menu is more than enticing. Apple spice bundt cake, caramel topped pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pound cake and wow, does anyone else hear that stomach rumbling noise?

Dinner options abound as well for those not thrilled by the idea of cooking. Again, beware of reservation deadlines, which may have already passed.

But the idea of restaurants around the area offering sit-in dinners for the holidays — especially places you might not typically expect to serve a High Holidays meal — is nothing new. These spots have done it for years, and 5779 is no exception.

London Grill, for instance, will once again offer Rosh Hashanah dinner this year, with a robust menu of brick chicken with roasted quinoa and spinach; horseradish-crusted salmon with Moroccan carrots, couscous and tomato jam; or red wine-braised brisket with noodle kugel, spinach and Michael’s ketchup.

Marco Polo Ristorante and Bar in Elkins Park doesn’t have its special menu available online, but the Italian restaurant will offer Rosh Hashanah dinner on Sunday and Monday nights. Start making reservations (for groups of five or more) if you haven’t already.

Abe Fisher, which may spring to mind more quickly as a place to go for Rosh Hashanah, is infusing a unique and rather summery flavor into its holiday menu this year.

If you’re into peaches, this is the place for you. The CookNSolo venture is offering a menu with some kind of peach flavor in every dish. There’s a peach challah; pastrami kampachi with peach mustard; tomato and peach salad; a wagyu with Manischewitz steak sauce and pickled peaches; poached chicken with peach jus flavoring among others; and an end of summer salad featuring peach granita.

Millions of peaches, peaches for you.

However you choose to celebrate, all places recommend getting your orders in as soon as possible or calling for reservations if they are still available.

Shanah tovah! 

mstern@jewishexponent.com; 215-832-0740


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