New York — Last Friday night in the Meatpacking District, it wasn’t your Jewish mother’s Shabbat dinner — even if Caroline Aaron, who plays Midge’s mother-in-law Shirley on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” was flipping the latkes. The gefilte fish was served with trout roe and beet puree. Instead of brisket, there was pastrami short ribs with truffle späetzle. The borscht was foamed and served in crystal glasses with labneh ravioli.
In honor of the third season’s release on Dec. 6, Argentinian chef Tomás Kalika hosted a ‘Mrs. Maisel’-themed shabbat experience, the beginning of a month-long series of dinners co-hosted by Amazon Prime, Mishiguene and Intersect by Lexus — the entertainment and culinary venue where Mishiguene resides.
There he pays homage to (and updates) his Jewish grandmother’s Old World recipes. The Jerusalem-trained cook’s mix of Ashkenazi and Sephardi influences — a kind of Jewish diaspora menu — seemed the perfect culinary match for the plot points in Season 3 of “Mrs. Maisel.” After all, in the new season Midge experiences her own “diaspora” of sorts, leaving her hometown of New York City to take her comedy act on the road.
Guests at the special launch day dinner were treated to twists on classic Jewish and Mediterranean foods and drinks including knafeh with goat cheese honey cremeux, a Manischewitz cocktail and toasted challah with chicken liver pâté and truffle herb salad. Even the latkes, which Aaron helped to prepare before joining guests for the Shabbat meal, had a nouvelle spin: sweet potato filling topped with caviar. Tony Shalhoub, who plays Midge’s father, Abe Weissman, was also on hand.
As guests sat down for dinner, the conversation naturally turned to the new season, comparing how many episodes everyone had crammed in since it began streaming only hours before. Jean Lee, an Instagram food influencer, said, “Midge is an outlier. She brings a very unique Jewish perspective, and she has the fashion and the humor!” Lee, though not Jewish, is a native New Yorker, and is convinced that “everyone in New York is partly Jewish.”
Lee and her friend Pauline Tran compared how many Jewish events they had been to, with Tran taking the trophy, triumphantly declaring, “I’ve been to a Bris!”
Bartender Dana Lachenmayer described a typical Friday night at Intersect’s Mishiguene (the residency continues throughout December and will host a special Chanukah series). “There’s a Shabbat-style service with musicians and dancing, and they even blow the shofar.” Sure enough, after dinner, guests were treated to a klezmer band featuring accordion, clarinet, percussion and yes, the so-last-season shofar. When the Shabbat dancing began, even Shalhoub and Aaron weren’t too tired following a week of publicity to join in, as Intersect’s executive chef Nickolas Martinez twirled his latke-making partner around the restaurant.
There was something Mishiguene about it all.
(Intersect and “Mrs. Maisel” will continue their collaboration by celebrating the “8 Marvelous Nights” of Chanukah during December 22-30. Guests will be treated to ‘Maisel’-themed giveaways, cooking demonstrations, The Marvelous Martini and more. More info. and reservations can be found here.)
Julie Levey is a staff writer on Fresh Ink For Teens, The Jewish Week’s teen publication.