Jan 11, 2018
First Kosher Asian Noodle House

Food entrepreneurs Albert Mayzels and Levi Jurkowicz are opening in Crown Heights the first authentic kosher noodle house.

By COLlive reporter

PHO-MEN.

That's the name of a pioneering new restaurant opening in Brooklyn's Crown Heights neighborhood that is presented as the first ever authentic kosher Asian noodle house.

Slated to formally open mid-February on Troy Avenue, it promises to bring authentic, traditional Vietnamese and Japanese cuisine to the kosher world, without the sushi and egg rolls.

The name PHO-MEN is comprised of the names of two of the restaurant's signature dishes: pho and ramen. The menu, previewed by COLlive.com, boasts a variety of authentic noodle-based dishes: Pho, Ramen, Udon, Soba, Nabe and Sukiyaki.

Albert Mayzels, owner of the restaurant together with Levi Jurkowicz, says in taking on this challenging food endeavor he drew heavily on the culinary experiences from his travels in Southeast Asia and the 3 years he spent training and eating his way through Japan.

A self-proclaimed "fanatic of everything Asian,Ē Mayzels, a seasoned food industry professional with 30 years of experience in the food manufacturing and hospitality industries, graduated from culinary school at 17 and apprenticed all over Europe. He ran a restaurant consulting and turnaround business and owned restaurants and manufacturing on the West Coast.

Mayzels enjoys taking on the challenge of bringing authentic inherently non-kosher flavors to "adventurous kosher consumers," he says. His first kosher undertaking was the "Holy Cow! Kosher" company manufacturing Glatt Kosher charcuterie. His previously unheard of products that closely resembled their non-Kosher namesakes took the Glatt Kosher world by storm. With production on hiatus for the last year, while the company's new from the ground up plant in New Jersey is under construction, Mayzels had the opportunity to take on a new challenge.

With this new restaurant, Mayzels is once again entering unexplored territory. Jews have been known to favor sweet Chinese dishes and sushi can be found at many simchas, but "American Asian" is nothing like authentic Asian, he says.

The restaurant will serve a variety of Japanese Ramen, a dish consisting of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, Vietnamese pho soup consisting of broth, rice noodles, herbs, and meat, and many other Asian noodle-based dishes.

"In Japanese cuisine, everything is about the noodle, and whatever is served around it, is there to support the noodle," he told COLlive.com. "With Pho, everything is about the broth, everything else is there to enhance the broth."

Doing something that the Kosher world has never seen before is extremely difficult from an ingredient sourcing perspective, Mayzels says. "There's nothing kosher to start with. Anything beyond the raw ingredient has to be made in-house."

For example, the Vietnamese dish Pho is made of meat and fish sauce, a blend which isn't allowed by kosher standards. They had to create a substitute "fish sauce" with other ingredients. "We are flying in herbs from Los Angeles and wasabi direct from Tokyo so it will be a different flavor, color and texture," he said.

Mayzels said they will be crafting their own ramen, udon, and soba noodles in their own noodle factory to match the right size and texture to every dish they serve.

"The ramen will reflect common varieties from different regions in Japan," he explains. "The noodle has to be able to grab onto the broth and deliver the entire flavor of the dish."

The restaurant's menu, under the supervision of Crown Heights Rabbi Yosef Braun, includes a selection of small bites, dinner salads, meat, fish, vegetarian and vegan dishes. Appetizers range from edamame and fresh summer rolls to more playful dishes such as Japanese sloppy joe slider and Peking duck or wagyu short rib steam buns.

Soba, another unique item, is served cold, with broth served on the side. "It will be a unique, formal experience, similar to English High Tea, including a cast iron tea pot to pour the broth," he explains. They will also offer signature lemonades, Vietnamese iced coffee and complimentary "whole leaf" hot tea.

Jurkowicz agrees that perfecting the dishes is only one challenge.

"We will have to educate the customer on how to eat our food, and what to expect here," he said. "The menu will be as descriptive as possible so that those unfamiliar with Asian cuisine will be able to order dishes to their liking."

"We should have a sign that says 'slurp please, it's allowed here,'" quips Jurkowicz. "We expect everyone to really enjoy their meal here. It's a unique type of experience, a new cultural experience."

Pho-Men on Troy
411 Troy Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11213
(718) 816-0200
Under CHK - Rabbi Braun

Facebook: @phomenontroy
Instagram: @phomenontroy


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Opinions and Comments
1
Yosy
Another restaurant??!!
(1/11/2018 6:30:57 PM)
2
Yum!
Looks good!
(1/11/2018 6:31:48 PM)
3
Canít wait
Canít wait !
(1/11/2018 6:34:47 PM)
4
Joe-Pho
BS"D Seems like there are more restaurants in CH than Shuls
(1/11/2018 6:52:47 PM)
5
Great!!
Wow looks great canít wait!
(1/11/2018 6:53:38 PM)
6
Omg
Iím so excited this looks yum!
(1/11/2018 7:14:03 PM)
7
Looking forward
I heard such amazing things!!!
Can't wait to try it, so unique
(1/11/2018 7:23:58 PM)
8
Finally
Because there us no where to eat around here
(1/11/2018 7:24:00 PM)
9
It's ok
Would have been better off with a non political Hechshet.
(1/11/2018 7:24:14 PM)
10
cultural awareness
pho doesn't rhyme with so. It is more like "fuh'
(1/11/2018 7:38:59 PM)
11
woah!!!!
that looks AMAZING!
(1/11/2018 7:41:07 PM)
12
Chk
But the imitator. Wish it was the real authentic hashgacha to go with the authentic food
(1/11/2018 7:48:07 PM)
13
Looks exotic and original
Definitely would capture a certain audience who like really healthy food.
Good luck to all the competitors opening up next door
(1/11/2018 7:48:41 PM)
14
Yay!!
Will they be doing delivery??
(1/11/2018 7:52:27 PM)
15
Looking forward to some kosher Asian ramen dishes!
Yay! So excited!!!!!
(1/11/2018 7:57:48 PM)
16
Name choice
The name sounds like it's "for men" ="pho men"
Are women welcome?
(1/11/2018 8:08:30 PM)
17
everyone is talking about this at my work!
...Happy its finally open!!
(1/11/2018 8:14:12 PM)
18
CH is the place to be
Jews of all types from all over NYC will come here for kosher ramen, banh mi and pho. Are you ready to welcome them!
(1/11/2018 8:14:44 PM)
19
MAzel tov
Very nice. But why dident pick a hashoca like ok
Or chk.

Iím afraid I wonít see me there. But good luck.
(1/11/2018 8:15:30 PM)
20
!!!
Finally, a cool restaurant, one I actually want to go to see. THIS is what I've been waiting for in CH
(1/11/2018 8:16:55 PM)
21
Yay!!
Looking forward to trying this out!! I can vouch that Rabbi Braun has the highest standards in Kashrus!
(1/11/2018 8:26:53 PM)
22
16 don't worry
'men' in chinese means noodle and that's where the Japanese got it from
(1/11/2018 8:28:11 PM)
23
Hatzlacha rabba!
Looking forward to this!
(1/11/2018 8:42:40 PM)
24
Can someone list all the kosher restaurants in crown heights?
Thanks
(1/11/2018 8:46:14 PM)
25
Mmmm
Canít wait to dig in to that mushroom egg dish
(1/11/2018 8:50:48 PM)
26
#16
exactly what i was thinking for months.
I think its a very akward name, especially for a Jewish Restaurant with CH Hashgacha. I'm glad im not alone.

Good luck though, it looks like a great menu,
(1/11/2018 8:51:34 PM)
27
Hechsher
I am a foodie and would love to try this place, but they got political with the Hechsher.
(1/11/2018 8:57:30 PM)
28
21.
Really? Care to venture your name with that endorsment?
(1/11/2018 8:58:57 PM)
29
Yossy H
If two people can eat here for under $50 they'll be very successful.
(1/11/2018 9:00:12 PM)
30
Looks wonderful
Will there be take out? What will prices be like?
(1/11/2018 9:03:54 PM)
31
Great! My thoughts on he hechsher:
I'm happy that this is opening.
About the hechsher complaints:
Every single hechsher has politics attached. Of you say this one does as well, I'd belive it, although I don't know of any myself.
One thing I do know, I trust rabbi Braun's hechsher standards fully! More machmir than most!
So why wouldnt you eat there because of some side politics that have nothing to do with Rabbi Braun's high standards of hashgacha?
(1/11/2018 10:03:46 PM)
32
Phô Real!
Just Happy to have a place to eat Vietnamese food! Yum.
(1/11/2018 10:43:26 PM)
33
So glad to end my eating of fake noodles!
Looking forward to some authentic ones now!

(Before I was only eating lokshen!)
(1/11/2018 11:07:50 PM)
34
Dissapointed
I thought that an eatery with 'noodles' in its name would provide good tasting, well portioned and affordable meals, the kind which you might bring home for the family when cooking wasn't an option. I mean why else would you put 'noodle' in your name.

But apparently, noodle joint is modern high class, and this is another food provider who intends to expand our food minds, because you can never have too many food experiences because you only live once and if having great food and in great variety isn't living than what is life?

Will wait for the next one.
(1/12/2018 12:04:39 AM)
35
The Beis Din
As fsr as I know the place is under the supervision of the Crown Heights Beis Din and not under an individual rabbi.
(1/12/2018 12:09:52 AM)
36
fluorescent lighting?
A few of the recently-opened Crown Heights restaurants (the new sushi place, Prime sandwich) look lovely. But like a fair-sized subset of the human population, I find harsh lighting to be off-putting. So I have yet to walk into the aforementioned eateries. Phomen seems like an interesting, yummy introduction (despite the unfortunate moniker), I just hope there won't be harsh LED or fluorescent lighting to keep me away. Good luck!
(1/12/2018 1:27:30 AM)
37
are there going to be gluten free noodles
?
(1/12/2018 1:34:37 AM)
38
Been waiting more than 15 years for kosher pho
I first learned about pho somewhere around 2000 when it became big in America, but have never seen it offered at any kosher restaurant, and it looks too complicated for me to try at home. I once knew a Vietnamese giyores and thought of asking her whether she made it, but could never gather up the chutzpah. Looking forward to finally trying it.
(1/12/2018 2:32:17 AM)
39
The REAL CHK !!!!
If the food is as good as the Hashgocha, i'm in !!!!
(1/12/2018 5:19:40 AM)
40
Crown heights
So nice not to have to shlep to Manhattan fur great food
(1/12/2018 5:25:07 AM)
41
yup crown heights is
growing, meets the needs of the visiters
(1/12/2018 7:49:26 AM)
42
A lot of greens
With all the parsley, bok choy and other vegetables to check I would have preferred the OK or CHK to supervise the kashrout!
(1/12/2018 8:51:05 AM)
43
A nice change
We need more healthy choices; thank you!!
(1/12/2018 8:56:39 AM)
44
Seating and Lighting
I really hope that there will be floor seating. It bothers me that all these restaurants are using chairs and tables. Without them you can bring down your pricing in overhead costs and create a great ambiance for your customers. Also I agree with the LED lighting. an authentic experience would be great if we could have kerosene lamps which is softer on the eyes and the fumes make the food taste better. About the hecsher, don't even get me started.
(1/12/2018 9:06:59 AM)
45
So excited! Finally a Fleishig restaurant with a trustworthy hashgacha!
This is one of a kind! Hope itís goin to be as good as it looks!
(1/12/2018 9:29:22 AM)
46
Great kosher supervision!
I fully trust Rabbi Braunís hechsher and it is a big plus for this establishment!
(1/12/2018 11:29:27 AM)
47
Get a life
The trolls here commenting on the hechsher arenít the type of people who eat in restaurants. More like eating cold Pizza in their grandmaís basement and commenting on stupid politics.
(1/12/2018 11:30:41 AM)
48
Totally looking forward
California bt living in crown heights a while, looking forward to trying it!!
(1/12/2018 12:02:18 PM)
49
negative posts
Every time a new restaurant opens in CH, some people get enormous pleasure and taava from posting all kinds of snarky negative posts. yes, we know you are so great that you don't want to eat there
(1/12/2018 1:57:06 PM)
50
A reliable hechsher
To all the peanut gallery regarding the hechsher...

Like it or not, there was a Din Torah in which Rabbi Braun and Schwei need to be involved with the Hechsher of CHK period.
Both sides signed and submitted their acceptance of the Psak of the Beis Din of 5 members at whatever the Psak would be.

It is unfortunate that people deny the outcome of the Din Torah and go against the ruling of the 5 member Zabla Beis Din! This matter is quite severe, see CHoshen Mishpat chapter 26.
Until things are settled, Rabbi Braun and Schwei's hechsher is the one to use.

To finish off on a positive note, may we all pray for unity and Moshiach now.

(1/12/2018 2:14:53 PM)
51
my humble opinion
The food looks so good!
(1/12/2018 2:59:18 PM)
52
Pho is pronounced ďfuhĒ
Just saying...
(1/13/2018 7:33:34 PM)
53
Gluten free
Will there be gluten free noodles?
(1/14/2018 4:17:41 PM)
54
well, i dunno
when the newness of the place wears off are there really enough lovers of this cuisine to keep the business going? my suggestion: Fill a hole that carries more of the possibility of long term success. an excellent vegetarian restaurant serving fabulous "pain- to- prepare" food would be a good place to start. it might even draw clientele from outside of the neighborhood. i'm not talking about yet another kosher milchikeh eatery; G-d knows there's no shortage of those around, here or elsewhere for that matter.
(1/14/2018 6:42:41 PM)
55
Shaved ices
I think it's a street vendor dessert.
Please look into it. It will draw s crowd.
Sara l
(1/17/2018 6:40:38 AM)
56
Finally, a fleishig restaurant under the Bada"tz!
Shecheyonu v'kiyemonu! Finally we have a fleishig restaurant under the hashgocho of the Bada"tz! I can't wait to eat there!
(1/18/2018 6:06:19 AM)
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