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March 6, 2013

Kosher, in tasty new translations

Jewish supper club brings cultures and ideas together

LOS ANGELES — Mounds of juicy meat glisten in hot pans and on nicked carving boards in the dining room of the Mark on Pico Boulevard. Braised sirloin with oregano and onion; Santa Maria tri-tip with garlic, molasses and chutney; rich flank steak tacos with lime and salsa; English roast with horseradish; bone marrow with red wine and olive oil; and piles of filet mignon, New York strip and rib-eye are all on offer.

Lining up for service are more than 100 Jews, most of whom have kept kosher for life. Due to the rules governing kashrut (Jewish dietary law), these enthusiastic dinner guests have never before eaten meat from the hindquarters of a cow (the sciatic nerve must be removed to make it kosher, an involved process).

However, on this night they can, thanks to a 17-month-old kosher foodie group called Beverlywood Supper Club. Founded by a food enthusiast named Eddie Fox, the club arranged to fly out a New York City rabbi, Avidan Elkin, to supervise the slaughter and preparation of the animals for this event. He’s one of the few rabbis in the country certified to do so.

The supper club stops at nothing to offer its members the finest in dining experiences formerly foreign to them. Indian, Korean, Cuban, Vietnamese, regional Southern and Japanese dishes have all been made kosher in the name of bringing cultures and ideas together through the ritual of sharing food and table.

“I had never been in a kosher home before, and I was learning what dishes go into what sink, and I was anxious not to mess it up because it’s sacred,” says Aarti Sequeira, who has a show on Food Network and acted as a guest chef for the Indian dinner alongside the supper club’s resident chef, Katsuji Tanabe, of Mexikosher. “And afterward, one man came up to me and he said, ‘I just want to kiss you,’ and he was beside himself and nearly teary. It made me teary too.”

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