You don't need a kippah to know that kosher cuisine has never had it so good as this cool blue-and-white-tiled room in Merion Station, where the crew behind Zahav has been tasked with creating a fine-dining experience even the strictest rabbinical authorities would approve. They've achieved that ambition and more, with a modern menu inspired by the pastrami spice and schmaltz of the Euro-Jewish experience that should also have wide mainstream appeal. With a little more refinement, especially to some entrees, this project has potential to mature by year's end to a more elite ranking.
Celery root soup with veal kreplach; mushroom knish; smoked duck Lyonnaise salad; salmon pastrami crudo; beef tartare; veal breast schnitzel; lamb sholet; dry-aged rib-eye for two; cinnamon babka; olive oil chocolate mousse. Entrees, $18-$79 (rib-eye for two).
There is an extensive list of mevushal-certified kosher wines, many of them drinkable. But if pasteurized (i.e., boiled) wine isn't for you, there are a handful of good beers (Jever, Dupont, Yard's, Petrus). A surprisingly deep list of Scotch and American whiskies is paired with cleverly themed cocktails with names like the Cosmonaut (vodka, pomegranate, beet sugar), the Lower East Side (gin, cucumber, dill) and the Mensch and the Maidel (brandy, poppy, apple cider).