This article was originally printed in the NYT magazine and passed to me by a great friend. It focuses on Basil Pizza and Wine Bar in the becoming-trendier-by-the-minute neighborhood of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. This excerpt gives a good idea of what Basil is:
“[Basil] isn’t just a restaurant. It’s also a cross-cultural experiment, trying to promote better integration of, and communication between, groups in Crown Heights that haven’t always mingled much or seen eye to eye. Although its food and wine are strictly kosher, Basil isn’t located on what is known as the Jewish side of Eastern Parkway, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare and dividing line. It’s on the West Indian side and, with its deliberately diverse staff, courts the black residents there. The trendy menu of individual-size pizzas, raw-fish compositions and dishes is also meant to appeal to them — and to the young, liberal-minded professionals who, in slowly growing numbers, are choosing Crown Heights as a cheaper alternative to the Williamsburg or Prospect Heights sections of Brooklyn. Basil wants everyone under one roof.“
What I really like is the underlying mission of the restaurant – one which I think all kosher establishments should aspire to: To create place which is NOT “a kosher restaurant, but one which serves really good food that just so happens to be kosher.
We need more of those, especially around where I live.