Montreal is defined by the three Fs: food and festivals and freaks. If you don’t like “freaks” pick another “f” word that suits (frenglish?). Food of every kind is given its day, weekend, or week in the sun whether poutine or ribs. “Kosher” food gets its party with Kosh Week, starting July 1. I say “kosher” in quotes since most of the participating restaurants are not kosher establishments and therefore, by definition, are not kosher.
Regardless, the spirit of the enterprise has its merits, if only to raise awareness about Jewish culinary traditions, which are about as Montreal as poutine. Jewish immigrants arrived as early as the 1760s in Quebec, and established a Spanish/Portuguese synagogue in 1768 in Montreal. The Main was the main Jewish drag, as any Mordechai Richler lover knows. Jewish cuisine abounded and still abounds in the city.
That said, Kosh Week brings together a group of restaurants offering special Kosh-week dishes that utilize Jewish cooking traditions. Some go the falafel-hummus route. Others go more in for salmon and bagels. Typical of these food weeks, there’s some sort of voting that is supposed to take place on the web page, but this seems to be last year’s event.
Kosh week also has an event to kick off the eating. A food tour of Mile End starts at Hof Kelsten (that awesome bakery just north of Mt. Royal on St. Laurent) led by The Wandering Chew. After the tour, there’s a launch party at Maison Sociale, where the first Kosh week dish will be available for your noshing pleasure. Kosh Week Launch party takes place on July 2. Meet at Hof Kelsten at 6:30 p.m. Maison Sociale launch at 8 p.m. Tickets available from Eventbrite.
The participating restaurants with delish food are:
Art: brgr (408 Guilford) is offering the delicious egg dish of Shakshuka accompanied with tahini, chopped salad, and a pita bread.
Chez Boris (5151 Du Parc) is taking house cured salmon to a new level by putting it on a donut with creme fraiche, capers, dill, and cucumber.
Ernie and Ellie’s Restaurant, Banquet Hall, and Catering Service is a proper kosher restaurant (6900 Decarie). Perhaps you can check out their chicken nuggets with General Tao’s sauce on the side.
Fabergé (25 Fairmount) goes for the Reuben on a bagel. The classic Reuben is made with pastrami, but I suspect this one is all smoked meat, topped with coleslaw and pickles. Fries come on the side.
Les Enfants Terribles (1257 Bernard) has gone for an elegant plate of trout and vegetables, with cucumbers, melon, and bread dusted with zaatar.
Mediterraneo Steak House (1873 Rue St Louis) with The MTL Lover burger. This is a half pound of Canadian beef patty with smoked meat, pickles, lettuce, and tomato on top. Add yellow mustard and you’re set for life.
Monsieur Restaurant and Bar (1102 Bleury) opted for vegetarian kosh with local roasted cauliflower, haloumi cheese, falafel, tahini, pomegranite, and other things atop braised red cabbage. Win!
Poutine Centrale (3971 Hochelaga) took the fried potato goodness that is a latke and threw a poutine on it.
Koshweek still seems on the verge of organizing its restaurants, so check out its facebook page to find out more about how the festival will work. Kosh week runs from July 1-7.