For Israeli cuisine, Zahav in Society Hill has a giant reputation. But if you're looking for strictly kosher food, your choices are limited.
The same people who own Zahav just opened Citron and Rose in Merion, a strictly-kosher restaurant.
Yehuda Sichel is executive chef. He told Action News that the key is finding ingredients.
Kosher dietary laws demand a separati8on of meat and dairy products. Some products are considered neither and may be used at will. But, being a meat-based restaurant, Citron and Rose may not bring anything considered "dairy" into the building.
A product made in a building that has housed something dairy may not come onto the premises, either. But once you accept these requirements, the chef says cooking kosher isn't that much different from any other cuisine.
They all have distinctive rules and ingredients. On our visit, Chef Sichel made sholet, a traditional Sabbath stew he made with a lamb shank.
The result was a dish that would be at home in any finer restaurant, complete with vegetables and a chef-made sauce.
The menu offers food that's mostly European-style...featuring dishes from countries where Jews settled over the centuries.
The chef uses a lot of classic French techniques in the kitchen. Citron & Rose makes a lot of its bar ingredients, because many common products used to make cocktails are either considered dairy or come from factories which provide dairy elements.
The ownership team has developed a number of signature drinks available exclusively at Citron & Rose. While the restaurant's efforts will be appreciated by Jewish diners who keep kosher, the techniques and attention to detail will also appeal to guests who are neither ethnically Jewish nor kosher in practice.
It's good food well-prepared, as you'd expect in any fine restaurant. Citron and Rose also obeys Jewish Sabbath laws. So it's open nightly for dinner Sunday through Thursday.
A Sunday brunch may be added in the future, and a simpler Saturday night dinner menu is also possible.
The restaurant is at 370 Montgomery Avenue in Merion, Pa. For reservations, phone 610-664-4919, or go online to Citron and Rose.