Brian Jacobs, president of Jerusalem Pizza, listened to customers at his kosher pizzeria inside the West Bloomfield Jewish Community Center by giving them the something more than they’d been asking for — a full-service, sit-down restaurant with additional kosher dining options. Jacobs and managing partner Paul Engel made sure the food would be tasty, too.
The menu for Jerusalem Bistro & Cafe was quietly rolled out toward the end of February, delighting guests with its vegetable, dairy and fish choices. They run the gamut from appetizers, soups and salads to wrap sandwiches, entrees and pasta choices. Children’s meals are also available.
My early impression is that the food is fairly priced, considering the essential expense of keeping a mashgiach (kosher supervisor) on premises. Jacobs and Engel work with the Council of Orthodox Rabbis in Southfield.
A bistro employee may spend up to four hours daily cleaning fruits and vegetables, including washing the romaine lettuce three times, “to make sure they’re up to the standards of the mashgiach,” said Engel.
When Wendy Rose Bice has lunch here, her favorite is the Caesar salad topped with grilled salmon (tilapia is another option). The menu’s other salad is Waldorf — apples, golden raisins and toasted walnuts, tossed with a tangy, lemon-honey mayo and served on a bed of romaine.
I started my recent meal with Guinness French onion soup (there is also vegetarian chicken noodle). This popular soup was delightful, and not overly salted, but it arrived too piping hot for me to try at first. Indicative of the bistro’s great service, I was offered an ice cube to cool it off. No thanks — but thanks!
Those wanting an appetizer can sample three-cheese spinach dip, including bechamel sauce; a quesadilla of blended cheese melted inside a toasted tortilla; and grilled seasonal veggie kabobs.
I liked the mild flavor of the tilapia wrap I tried. It was filled with rice and a mango salsa that had fresh vegetables. Not listed on the menu, but still a pleasant accompaniment, were perfectly crisp, hand-cut Texas fries sprinkled with Parmesan, salt and parsley. Another tilapia eater this day, “Dvora,” got hers as an entree with grilled vegetables. “Dan,” dining with her, had the hefty Po Boy sandwich, containing pieces of breaded, fried cod. They didn’t want their last names in the paper, but told me they liked their choices and would get them again.
Dining here is better now, said Jerusalem Pizza regulars Dorene and Steven Sobczak.
“We feel more comfortable bringing our friends and family because of the upscale options,” she said.
Based at the JCC since Aug. 26, 2009, the restaurant offers catering for life-cycle events and fundraisers. Anthony Yates is the executive chef.
The renamed Jerusalem Bistro is in the same contemporary space featuring earthtone colors, but a coffee bar at the front of the house is new. Engel said Frankel Jewish Academy students at the JCC like the opportunity to visit. There’s adequate room to accommodate large groups, while the “to-go” counter has remained popular.
Meanwhile, Jerusalem Pizza in Southfield, where Jacobs spends most of his time, continues to bring customers to Sherwood Square Plaza. The menu also offers calzones, sandwiches, salads, soups, platters and specialty items, such as eggplant or vegetarian chicken parmesan, and assorted mini cold sandwiches. Boiled bagels (the right way to make them!) are available within the store, located at 26025 Greenfield; (248) 552-0088. A related business, Jerusalem Sub, is a few doors down at 26055 Greenfield; (248) 423-4400.
at Jewish Community Center of Metropolitan Detroit
6600 W. Maple Road
West Bloomfield, MI 48322
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