Rothchilds Coffee & Kitchen
76 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck
SERVICE: Friendly and attentive
AMBIENCE: Sleek, modern, warm
ESSENTIALS: Open Tuesday to Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; dinner hours expected soon; major credit cards accepted; wheelchair accessible
Here’s your wake-up call, Great Neck.
And your new choice for midday dining, too.
Rothchilds Coffee & Kitchen is brightening Middle Neck Road with its stylish, modern design and refreshing cuisine, which reflects the community’s past and the present. Eat in or take out, snacks or main courses.
This cafe and eatery is the work of executive chef Daniel Nahum and general manager Shir Nahum, brothers raised in Israel. They bring Levantine and Middle Eastern flavors to a dining room glistening with subway tiles, sleek lighting fixtures, framed mirrors, honey-hued polished wood.
Black-and-white photos add a sense of family and nostalgia to Rothchilds. That’s fitting. Tables are often filled with three generations of diners. Rothchilds’ name is is meant to evoke “children of Roth,” a tribute to Daniel and Shir’s grandparents, Walter and Lois Roth, who were business owners in Great Neck.
They certainly would have been happy to greet friends and relatives at their namesake gathering place, which early on fills a long-vacant niche.
For breakfast, Rothchilds offers a brief menu and a lot of coffee, tea and specialty beverages. Stumptown Coffee Roasters, the pride of highly caffeinated Washington State, is extolled at this address, too, whether you want your brew hot or cold.
Have a cup. Or pick the fine cappuccino, macchiato or latte. Consider the Turkish coffee. Try a Rothchilds’ specialty: fresh organic turmeric chai or nine-spice chai. Salute a summer afternoon with the excellent crushed-mint lemonade.
At breakfast, the obligatory choice is the shakshuka skillet of poached eggs and crumbled feta cheese in a savory tomato-and-red pepper sauce. It could make you skip the Wheaties and Cheerios for a very long time. So will the house’s avocado toast, made with good sourdough bread, red onion, a sliced hard-boiled egg, greens and a welcome drizzle of honey.
The morning fare also stars a large boreka, a flaky pastry that suggests what might happen if an empanada became involved with a turnover. It’s filled with tomato, arugula, pickles, tahini and, of course, a sliced hard-boiled egg. The competition comes from omelets and a croissant “de lox.”
For lunch, the winners include an artful spin on ceviche, with a mini-mince of tuna, bulgur, purple cabbage, onion, tomato and labane, a strained-yogurt spread. At some angles, it suggests chef Jackson Pollock before he’d add blueberry poles. Tuna crostini, bolstered by lime-chili aioli, scallions, red onion and microgreens, is a pleasing, easygoing appetizer.
Rothchilds also prepares a tasty fattoush salad, the bread boosted by olives, grilled onion and feta cheese. The shawarma salad features spiced chicken, tahini and pine nuts, served on pita bread.
The ample, grilled chicken sandwich benefits from a slathering of sun-dried tomato paste plus avocado and roasted pepper. More ambitious is pargiot, or grilled chicken thighs finished either with date honey or herbaceous seasoning.
Beef-packed pita sliders, however, are on the dry side. Likewise, the ultrathin chicken schnitzel. You’re better off with the shish kebab platter, generous with chicken and Mediterranean-spiced beef. The whole, grilled branzino is a more luxurious choice, mild and meaty, with a light garlic-and-herb sauce. It swims in atop baked tomatoes and vegetables.
If you are intent on dessert, the cheesecake is light and creamy; the flourless chocolate cake, sufficiently distant from the industrial-strength variety.
Linger over an espresso or maybe mint tea.
And be glad to know that Rothchilds plans to serve dinner by the end of August.