Unlike Easter which is celebrated in church followed by dinner at home or a brunch out in a restaurant, the Jewish holiday of Passover combines observance and meal. Symbolic foods are served and a retelling of the Israelites excape from Egyptian bondage is told before the meal and finished with a prayer and traditional songs after the meal during what is known as a “Seder.”
Typically Seders are held in the homes of families and friends or at a temple. In 2012, Jewish families are holding Seders April 6 with some also doing a second Seder on April 7. Passover begins at sundown April 6 with the first full day being April 7. It continues for a full eight days ending with sundown April 14.
What has to be considered when eating out is that the first Seder marks the beginning of the eight days of Passover restrictions observed by many Jewish families. Among the restrictions is replacing bread with matzo, an unleavened product. Matzo meal is used in place of flour or foods that use leavened products because the Israelites had no time for leavening when escaping from slavery. For more information visit Chabad.
Some restaurants have planned a Passover menu for people who are not dining at home and several delis and food specialty shops have food to go fit a Passover meal.
Here are two restaurants doing traditional Passover meals:
Mity Nice, a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant in Water Tower Place, will do a family style Passover meal all day April 6 that starts with chopped liver (and a vegetarian style of chopped liver), gefilte fish, matzo ball soup and matzo crackers. It continues with a choice of beef brisket, garlic crusted whitefish or roasted chicken with sides of carrot Tzimmes, green beans and potato pancakes. Dessert is flourless chocolate cake and toasted coconut macaroons. The meal is $36.95 adults and $16.95 children 12 and under (tax and gratuity not included).
For reservations or more information call 312-335-4745 and visit Mity Nice Chicago Mity Nice is on the mezzanine level of Water Tower Place at 835 N. Michigan Ave.
Maxwell’s at the Club in the East Bank Club will do a Passover diner 5:30-9 p.m. April 6 and have Haggadahs (the booklet used for the Seder ceremony of symbols and story) will be available.
The meal includes gefilte fish, cured salmon, matzo ball soup, chopped chicken liver, nine salads, carving station, pot roast, chicken breast, lamb meatballs, salmon and vegetable and potato sides. Dessert is fruit, flourless chocolate cake, macaroons and other sweets. Cost is $45 adults, $15 children under 10.
Reservations are required. For information or reservations call 312-527-5800, ex. 301 or visit East Bank Club Maxwells Passover Dinner. The East Bank Club is at 500 N. Kingsbury Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Two take-out places for Passover
FOODease on the mezzanine level of Water Tower Place is taking orders for Passover that can be picked up April 6-7. Orders must be in by 4 p.m. April 4. Dishes include homemade matzo crackers, regular and vegetarian chopped liver, gefilte fish, matzo ball soup, brisket, chicken, whitefish, carrot Tzimmes, potato pancakes, flourless chocolate cake or muffins and macaroons. For price information and to place an order call 312-335-3663 and visit FOODease
FOODease is in the Foodlife dining section at Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611.
Food Stuffs, a gourmet food retailer and caterer with shops in Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview and Lake Forest, has a wide range of Passover dishes that can be ordered ahead. Traditional and vegetarian dishes for Passover range from chopped liver, gefilte fish, matzo balls, Tzimmis and kugels to brisket, turkey and pastries.Orders will be taken through April 2. Visit Passover menu for choices and prices or stop in to order.
Store locations: 2106 Central St., Evanston, IL 60201, 338 Park Avenue, Glencoe, IL 60022, 1456 Waukegan Rd., Glenview, IL 60025 and 255 Westminster Ave., Lake Forest, IL 60045.