Passover Planner: Restaurant Seders Around Town
Photo: J. Ritz Evan Kleiman's matzo ball soup at Angeli.
The two nights of Passover seder 5770 fall on Monday, March 29 and Tuesday, March 30. Our local, trusty, sophisticated Passover mavens honor the broad Jewish culinary diaspora while hewing to some familiar traditions as well. Bottom line: for those who don't want to cook and prefer to share the holiday out with family and friends while making new acquaintances, you've got terrific options. And the oft-repeated "drink the next glass of wine" directive in the Haggadah helps move things along socially.
On the first night, starting with guest arrivals at 5:30 and sit-down dinner at 6:00 p.m., Akasha Richmond is planning a short service at Akasha, followed by a sumptuous meal, complete with all the traditional components and extra bells and whistles. Diners will definitely need to recline after eating multiple courses that include Tuscan style chopped liver and Moroccan eggplant & roasted tomato on matzo crostini; Sephardic style gefilte fish with tomato-shallot sauce; matzo ball soup; braised chicken with Kennedy Farms dried plums and apricots; Sephardic potato and leek fritters; lemon pistachio cakes with lemon curd and candied kumquats; chocolate meringues and almond macaroons; chocolate chunk brownies and Pudwill Farms berries; and chocolate covered matzo toffee crunch. The dinner costs $75 per person and $45 for children under 12, exclusive of tax and 20% gratuity, and is also available for take out or in-home catering.
Akasha: 9543 Culver Blvd., Culver City; (310) 845-1700.
Suzanne Tracht opens up the doors at Jar every year to welcome Passover celebrants. The ritual meal will be led by Racelle Rosett, and features Tracht's distinctive touches with English pea purée; chopped liver; cured salmon with crisp potato pancake; matzo ball soup with lemongrass broth and spring vegetables; asparagus and radish salad with hard cooked egg and lemon mustard vinaigrette; choice of Jar's signature pot roast or Alaskan halibut with chanterelles, horseradish mashed potatoes and scallion sauce; and assorted macaroons, chocolate eminence and lemon cheesecake for dessert. Passover at Jar is $120 per adult, $50 for kids 12 and under, inclusive of tax, gratuity, house wine and coffee or tea. FYI, Tracht shares her Passover know-how in this month's Bon Appetit.
Jar: 8225 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles; (323) 655-6566.
"No one will come!" Or so Wolfgang Puck said to his then-wife and Spago co-founder Barbara Lazaroff, when she suggested hosting a seder for their clientele. In the years since, Wolfgang Puck has mastered Passover foods. On the menu for Spago's 26th annual seder on Tuesday, March 30 at 6:00 p.m.: shallot and thyme matzo; gefilte fish of whitefish, pike and carp; chicken and vegetable soup with matzo balls; wild salmon with ginger-almond crust; braised beef short rib "flanken"; and tons of desserts including torte au citron; Passover puffs with chocolate sauce; wild berry sorbet with farmers' market berries; and a "menagerie of macaroons." Wines are from Hagafen Cellars, and Rabbi Arnie Rachlis and Cantor Ruti Braier lead the ceremony. The meal is $175 for adults, $80 for children 9 and under, and benefits Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger.
Spago: 176 N. Cañon Dr., Beverly Hills; (310) 385-0880.
Evan Kleiman will host her annual family style Passover dinner at Angeli one day belatedly according to the Jewish calendar. But that extra night is your gain. On Wednesday, April 1 at 7 p.m., Kleiman will serve long cooked eggs tinted with onion skins; haroset; hummus with ground lamb and pine nuts; leek croquettes; Passover potato fritters; Moroccan fish croquettes in cinnamon scented tomato sauce; pot roast; pollo arrosto; tortino di Azzime; vegetable "mazzagna"; quinoa "salad" with spring veggies; fattoush; and almond berry cream cake. This ridiculously bountiful spread -- all for an incredibly reasonable price of $45 per person -- is a BYOS (Bring Your Own Seder) affair, as it includes meal only, no ceremony.
Angeli Caffe: 7274 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles; (323) 936-9086.