Seattle kosher restaurant expand and grow...

By Janis Siegel
Transcript Correspondent

It seems that the Jewish population in King County has let their preferences be known when it comes to food. In response to overwhelming customer demand, kosher eateries have increased and there are now more choices than ever on the menu for a kosher food experience outside of your own kitchen.

Nosh Awya a delicatessen in Renton has expanded to include restaurant dining. Pabla Indian Cuisine Sweet and Spices, located in Renton Fred Myer complex in Renton on Rainier Avenue South, now has a kosher certification from the Va'ad HaRabanim of Seattle. Leah's bakery and Cafe' has opened Cafe' Au Lait next door to it's bakery location and across the street from it's take-out facility. The Panini Grill Café’ has moved to a new N.E 65th and Roosevelt address from it’s previous spot by Leah’s and the Panache’ Gourmet Baking Company, Inc,. has opened a production bakery offering a new, kosher-for-Passover lines of cookies.

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Everyone seems to agree that there is a growing demand for quality kosher food both for everyday consumption and special holiday occasions.

"we sought to change the stigma attached to Passover cookies," said Luloff, president of Panache Gourmet Baking Company and granddaughter of Ruthie Brenner, of Brenner’s Bakery, one of the leaders in Seattle kosher baking community for over 75 years.

Ruthie Brenner was the face behind the counter at the family’s Central District bakery in the 1940’s and 1950’s, when the Jewish community thrived there. Fro the 1960’s through 1980’s, Brenner bakery served the Eastside Jewish 1997, Nadine Lukoff, Ruthie Brenner’s daughter-in-law and Paula’s mother, opened Panache with her My Bubby’s line of cookies and candies as well as a softer line of biscotti.

Panache Gourmet bakery, located near Georgetown neighborhood in South Seattle, sells in quantity to airlines and theme parks. Consumers can find their products locally at Thriftway, Larry’s market and various coffee and espresso outlets around Seattle.

"our new My Bubby’s for Passover Cookies are kosher and flavorful," Lukoff said. "we transfored family recipes into flavorful, non-dairy, kosher-for-Passover cookies."

Traveling south down Rainier Avenue into Renton, there is Nosh Away, a delicatessen-style and traditional Jewish eatery. Nosh Away recently expanded and added 25 seats to accommodate the clamor for good food and good schmooze.

"We felt there were a lot of customers out there who wanted these food and couldn’t get them anyplace else, "said Philip klitzne, owner if Nosh Away. "we have a Jewish American menu with things like overstuffed pastrami sandwiches, stuffed cabbage, barbequed chicken and many kosher grocery items, and we also bake our cookies, cakes and breads fresh daily. We have responded to what our customers want."

Another Southend restaurant that has become one of the newest additions to the kosher lineup is Pabla Indian Cuisine Sweet and Spices. They are a vegetarian establishment that received certification from the Va’ad HaRabanim of Seattle after undergoing a two-year process to convert it’s kitchen and products to kosher status. Serving traditional Indian dishes like navratan korma, a dish of mixed vegetables cooked with nuts, cream and raisins, and mushroom masala, along with strawberry and mango lassis (a fruity drink made with yogurt), owner Harnil Pabla and manager Joy Somanna wre deluged with requests to become kosher from the Jewish community I nearby Seward Park.

"People were calling and calling us," us Somanna said. "the Va’ad finally approached us because they got calls from the community. It’s like opening a new restaurant. We had to buy all new crokery and get our dairy from a kosher supplier. Then we had to close fro two days. But since September, 2001, business has improved very much. The regular customers like it very much."

Pabla /Indian Cuisine also sells spices and sweets from the grocery located in the restaureant. They sell some kosher spices, curries, pickles and mango chutneys.

But there are many people who do not live on dairy, nuts, and vegetables alone. For those who are carnivorous and live in the Northend, there is help on the way. Leah Jaffe’s new moves expand the options.

Jaffe’s new restaureant, Cafe’ Au Lait, which is adjacent to Leah’s Café and Bakery, where the Panini Grill Café used to be, is a sit-down dairy restaurant. Jaffe can now resume catering meat dishes and sandwiches out of the storefront acroos the street, next to Tree of Life Judaica and books.

"Café Au Lait is a dedicated dairy spot." Jaffe said, "and now I can serve meat across the street, at Café au Lait, we serve breakfast and lunch from about 7a.m. to about 2.30p.m. We are going to serve dishes like French toast, matzoth brei, blintzes, cream cheese and lox, crepes and even some Sephardic dishes.

"Now, I can offer meat catering options," Jaffe said, "I was catering meat out of synagogues and my hands were tied. But now, if someone wants meat, we’ll be able to cook anything. We’ll have corned beef, deli platters, boxed lunches, chicken, stuffed cabbages and pastrami. We’ll also hae 12 seats."

Café Au Lait replaces the Panini Grill Café, which ahs kept it’s name and moved closer to the core retail district with a storefront on the street level in the Roosevelt Court Building on Roosevelt Way N.e. and N. 65th St. in Seattle.

Daniel Cohanim, who owned the popular restaurant, has made the move to the more "non-Jewish," centrally located area and has expanded into what he hopes will be a successful pizza and pasta restaurant in Seattle that just happens to be kosher.

"People have been asking me to do this and there hasn’t been a successful pizza place in Seattle, ever, Cohanim sais. "in addition to pizza and pasta, we have beer and wine and we have expanded our soups and salads. We bake all of the pastries, breads and pizza here. Everything is from scratch as much as possible."

The Palini Grill Café is still kosher but is now Cholov Yisroel (dairy), and is a premier retail location for cheeses from Israel, milk yogurt, string cheese, feta cheese and more.

"when I asked the Jewish community what everybody wanted, they all said pizza," Cohanim said. "Now we ave sit-down table service and an expanded menu but I’ve kept the same staff from the other place. It’s important to me that the quality is there for the whole community."

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