Matzo Fast

At Kutsher's, Jewish comfort food raised to new heights

Many of the best pastrami peddlers in New York are also tourist traps, so we're used to being overcharged for our favorite deli classics.

As a result, the price point at Kutsher's didn't surprise us. The quality of the food, however, was quite a shock.

To wit: The best bowl of matzo-ball soup we've ever spooned was not at the table of a gentle bubbe, but here, on a swanky corner in Tribeca. So delicate and tender–it's a wonder the balls didn't dissolve into the rich broth in which they were buoyed.

This elegant bowl ($11), filled out with fresh vegetables and strands of spaetzle, is the handiwork of chef Mark Spangenthal, a veteran of New York kitchens (he's worked under Tom Valenti, Alfred Portale and Clark Wolf). He was drawn to this project for personal reasons: This is the food he grew up on.

He treats those childhood flavors with his bountiful cooking chops in other dishes as well.

Pickled herring ($11) is a side-by-side old-to-new time line, half treated with a dab of sour cream and red onion, the other half given a turn with yuzu and wasabi. Flanken beef short ribs ($24) come adorned with a schmaltz-laden side of mashed potatoes–it's pot roast in a nicer outfit.

Finally, Jewish food for the locals.

Kutsher's Tribeca, 186 Franklin St. (between Greenwich and Hudson sts.); 212-431-0606 or kutsherstribeca.com