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Why is this night different from all other nights? This year, seder celebrants are counting the ways: No big family gatherings, no open-hearted invitations to "strangers," no services at synagogue, and a menu limited by what you can find in the supermarket or online.
If you have the right ingredients, there may be no better year to try your hand at matzo balls or brisket. But if you need some professional assistance — or if you’d rather leave the whole meal to the professionals — here are some Long Island establishments doing Passover takeout.
Hours and menus and delivery options may shift in this uncertain climate, so place your order as soon as you can.
Ben’s Deli (59 Old Country Rd., Carle Place): Ben’s is matzo-ball-soup central all year-round and Passover is no different. Order a la carte or navigate to bensdeli.net/promotions to see the Passover dinner for 10 ($349 to $379), which will feed a smaller group and provide leftovers. Kosher but not kosher for Passover. (Other locations at 140 Wheatley Plaza, Greenvale and 7971 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury). More info: 516-742-3354, bensdeli.net
Colbeh (75 N. Station Plaza, Great Neck): This kosher restaurant will be cooking throughout Passover, having ritually purged the kitchen of chametz. The extensive menu is based on but is not limited to Persian cuisine. All menus will be available, but without any rice, beans or other verboten foods. More info: 516-466-8181, colbeh.com
Corinne’s Concepts Catering (845 E Jericho Tpke., Huntington Station): All the classics, plus some elevated entrees such as chateaubriand, rack of lamb, cedar-planked salmon. Sides include latkes and fruit-filled matzo kugel. Pickup and local delivery ($25). Not kosher. More info: 631-351-6030, corinnescatering.com
Culinary Architect Catering (28 Chestnut St., Greenvale): Longtime North Shore caterer Alexandra Troy is offering all her Passover specialties, including gefilte fish with carrots and leeks, chicken soup with matzo balls and a broccoli kugel that comes in a keepsake pie plate. Call or email email@example.com to discuss your menu. Not kosher. More info: 516-484-7431, culinaryarchitect.com
Elegant Affairs (110 Glen Cove Ave., Glen Cove): Serving all of Long Island, this leading Glen Cove-based caterer has an extensive Passover menu, plus everything you need for your seder plate, including the wine. On the website, navigate to Food / Foods-To-Go. Not kosher. More info: 516-271-1619, elegantaffairscaterers.com
Grace’s Marketplace (81 Glen Cove Rd., Greenvale): Lots of a la carte selections and dinners for 10 ranging from $349 to $599. Includes seder plate. There are also options for “semi-homemade” where you cook your own turkey, roast, etc. Call to order or email cateringLongIsland@GracesMarketplace.com. Not kosher. More info: 516-621-5100, gracesmarketplace.com
Mara’s Southern Kitchen (236 W. Jericho Tpke., Syosset): This year, why not a smoked brisket with collards? Or a smoked duck or Cajun fried turkey? There are a handful of Southern-Cajun specialties on Mara’s holiday menu, plus all the Passover standards, from matzo-balls soup to tzimmes. Pickup and delivery. Not kosher. More info: 516-682-9200, marasouthernkitchen.com
Tavlin (2828 Merrick Rd., Bellmore): Marc and Sarah Azoulay have run Tavlin ("spice" in Hebrew) since 1990, supplying the South Shore with an abundance of Morroccan-French-Israeli-inflected vegetarian delicacies including falafel, borekas, hummus, salads, soups, dried fruits, house-roasted nuts and much more. Open for curbside delivery until 3 p.m. on April 8, then closed for the duration of Passover. Kosher. More info: 516-221-9008
Zan’s Kosher Delicatessen (135 Alexander Ave., Lake Grove): This venerable caterer offers pickup as well as delivery all over Nassau and Suffolk ($100 minimum for free delivery). Details for the Passover dinner package for 10 ($369) are on the website. A half order is $185. Zan’s is kosher, but not kosher for Passover. More info: 631-979-8770, zans-deli.com
VERY EASY BRISKET RECIPE
If you don't plan on ordering in, I came up with this recipe as an alternative to the ubiquitous onion-soup-mix recipe. It is almost as easy, and tastes much better. Don't worry about there not being any liquid added to the pan; the meat and vegetables will give off more than enough moisture as they cook.
2 large onions, cut in half and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
1/4 cup Dijon mustard (or “kosher-for-Passover” or 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 (4- to 5-pound) brisket
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place onions, carrots, raisins, tomatoes, mustard, salt and pepper in a baking pan or casserole just large enough to accommodate meat. (My 4 1/2-pound brisket fit perfectly into a 13-by-9-inch Pyrex pan.)
2. Mix vegetables to combine well, then lay meat in pan, fat side up, and spoon some of the vegetables on top. Cover with heavy-duty foil and bake for 15 minutes, then turn oven temperature down to 300 degrees and continue cooking 3 to 4 hours, or until a metal skewer can be easily plunged into the thickest part of the roast. You want the liquid in the pan to be simmering as slowly as possible — just the occasional bubble.
3. Let brisket cool in the sauce. When cool, remove brisket and pour sauce into a saucepan. Reduce over medium-high heat until slightly thickened. To add body to the sauce, you can purée a portion of the vegetables in the sauce either by using an immersion blender or by transferring some of them to a blender or food processor, processing, and then returning them to the un-purée-ed vegetables still in the saucepan.
4. While sauce reduces, slice brisket and lay it in a smaller baking pan (it will have shrunk substantially). Cool sauce slightly and pour back over brisket. (If making in advance, cover with foil and refrigerate.) To serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake foil-covered brisket until heated through, about 30 minutes (40 if brisket has been refrigerated). Makes 8 servings.