New Kid on the Block: Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette

Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette, the third restaurant from sibling team Will and Julie Horowitz, gets its name from their great-grandparents. And Harry and Ida, who owned a Harlem delicatessen, would recognize much of the menu: kasha varnishkes, pastrami, carrot tzimmes….

But perhaps in homage to their grandparents on the other side—he was a fisherman, she was a French-trained chef—the Horowitzes have taken a lighter tack than at Ducks Eatery and Harry & Ida’s Meat and Supply Co., both in the East Village. “We’re known for our pastrami and heavier dishes,” says Julie. “But that’s not the wave of the future. People are only getting more health-conscious, and we want to feel better about the food we’re preparing and eating ourselves.” So while pastrami is still the headliner, the dishes are 75 percent vegetarian overall, and most of those are vegan. Even the chopped “liver” (above) is actually a blend of mushrooms, peas, walnuts, and other ingredients. Moreover, the options in the plates section are all gluten-free, with the exception of the egg noodles and pastrami. (But the restaurant is not certified kosher.)

As explained in a 2015 New York Times article, there’s more to the Horowitzes’ operation than meets the eye: “The Horowitz cooks are relatively unsung,” wrote Jeff Gordinier, “but in the last few years they have evolved into fearless explorers of funk, converting their fixation on smoking, foraging and fermenting into a quest to make contact with the outer reaches of the palate.” Their willingness to push beyond the usual extends out of the kitchen and into the foodshed. “A lot of work we do is about sustainability,” says Will. “We try to add value to food that’s not used well—like broccoli stems or carrot peels—and to help local farms. Do you know Violet Hill Farm? If they don’t sell everything at the Greenmarket, they can donate to City Harvest or throw it out. Or, now, they can deliver it to us on the way home, and we’ll figure out what to do with it, using techniques—smoking, curing—that have been around for thousands of years. We pickle their eggs, most of which are sold to Blue Hill and similar restaurants. And their cabbage scraps are exactly what you want for the best sauerkraut in the world! And all of that helps the farm, and it helps keep food affordable.”

The Luncheonette’s hours are currently 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Sundays), but breakfast will debut in a few weeks (along with delivery), probably followed by dinner. Right now, the pie is from Four & Twenty Blackbirds, but Will says they’ll eventually make their own. And once they really get settled in, he promises collaborations with other chefs.

Harry & Ida’s Luncheonette is at 11 Park Place (bet. Church and Broadway), 917-409-0028, meatandsupplyco.com/luncheonette.

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