Dec 25, 2007 — “You just got out of a movie at AMC-25 on 42nd Street. You’re looking for a place to eat that is as good as Kosher Delight but is a bit off the beaten path. You’re hungry. No, you’re starving. You’re a Jew, strictly kosher. What do you do?”
So begins the first issue of DiningVille, a new tongue-in-cheek newsletter written and published by Yeshiva University students covering kosher dining in New York City.
For Matthew Rahmani, Michael Levy, and Alex Taub, DiningVille’s intrepid student founders, the newsletter is the perfect way to blend their business sensibilities with their love and knowledge of food. All three young men have culinary backgrounds: Rahmani’s father runs a catering company, take-out stores, and Reuben’s Glatt Spot at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey; Levy’s grandparents own Kosher Delight in Midtown Manhattan; and Taub has taken lessons with a formally trained chef for the past year and a half.
The concept for DiningVille was inspired by a New York Times article in the spring of 2007 about the powerful influence of food bloggers. “We noticed that there was a lack of informative and entertaining data on kosher dining in New York City,” said Taub, a junior at Yeshiva College.
However, the young men have higher aspirations for their newsletter as well. “We wanted to show that you can be cultured as a student at Yeshiva University,” said Rahmani, a junior at Sy Syms School of Business. The newsletter promises to “convert you from a simple novice to a high-flying connoisseur” with tips on everything you need to know about ordering steak, do’s and dont’s for restaurant behavior, and an introduction to wine—and that’s just in the first two issues.
Despite limited distribution and a delayed release of the first issue during the hectic week of final exams in the spring semester of 2007, the response to DiningVille has been overwhelmingly positive. “We received tremendous interest in the newsletter, including many requests to join the staff as writers,” said Levy, also a junior at Sy Syms.
The second issue was released in late November and distributed on the university’s Wilf and Beren campuses, Hillel organizations at other college campuses, and local synagogues. The issue is filled with reviews and humorous anecdotes, and includes a cover article, written by Rahmani, describing modern-day chivalry and dining etiquette.
The DiningVille team is planning to release two regular issues this year, in addition to a special shorter edition in the winter on Israeli restaurants and culture.
As for how it rates kosher restaurants in Manhattan, the DiningVille team’s favorites are Va Bene and Tevere 84 (also rated “best restaurant for a date”) on the Upper East Side, Mike’s Bistro on the Upper West Side, and Le Carne Grill in Midtown.