First Ever Kosher Connection Meet-Up and Restaurant Review: Siena Ristorante

An incredibly special thank you to Siena Ristorante for hosting the Kosher Connection, and to Marlene Mamiye of the Jewish Hostess – without her we would never would have had this amazing opportunity! Credit and thanks to Melinda Strauss for the photo edits.

It is hard to believe, but the Kosher Connection will be one year old in July! The Kosher Connection (aka the KC) is a group of about 20 dedicated kosher food bloggers who are determined not only to promote their own work, but to expand awareness of kosher food to the larger food blogging community. The fact that we are turning one is quite exciting, and what better way to celebrate than to go out to eat!

Marlene Mamiye (http://www.thejewishhostess.com/) used her connections to get our group an exclusive tasting menu at Siena Ristorante, a fine Italian restaurant located on Kings Highway, for our celebratory lunch. To impress a group of foodies is rather difficult work, but I believe that everyone who was able to join us left happy and impressed.

The ristorante itself  has a minimalist, sleek approach to decor, with the predominent colors being red, black and grey. I was impressed with the bar- there is seating available and upon closer inspection an impressive wine and liquor selection. Our group was seated in the front of the establishment in a U-shaped banquette, so passing food and making conversation was extremely easy and pleasant. I was joined by Marlene, as well as Tamar Genger (http://www.joyofkosher.com/) , Melinda Strauss (http://kitchen-tested.com/) Chani Apfelbaum (http://www.busyinbrooklyn.com/) Melissa Kaye (http://lilmisscakes.com/) and Jessica Matthews (http://thekosherfoodies.com/)

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To start, we were served fresh bread with olive oil and an black olive tapenade for dipping. An excellent way to wake up the appetite. and it was around this time we also ordered iced cappuccinos. Their coffee blend is extremely smooth and light. I enjoyed it so much I actually ordered one to take home with me!

 

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For starters, we were served the most incredible fried zucchini chips and homemade marinara sauce, a baked eggplant dish in tomato sauce, and a homemade pizza with sliced portobella mushrooms. The group as a whole raved over the zucchini chips – they were  crispy-golden without being greasy or heavy in oil.   Even though I am not a fan of eggplant I quite enjoyed this dish – it had excellent flavor, the eggplant was sweet and perfectly cooked. Excellent all the way around. The only thing I didn’t particularly care for was the pizza – in my opinion, it could have benefited from less cheese, and more flavor. In terms of technique, however, I was impressed. There was not too much sauce and the dough was cooked quite well.

 

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The salad course was absolutely delicious – there were three salads on offer. A chopped salad with flaked tuna, a haricot vert with goat cheese, walnuts and beets salad, and a fennel salad with oranges. The salad greens (arugula) were similar for the haricot vert and fennel salads, and everything was incredibly fresh and clean-tasting. Again, not a fan of beets or goat cheese, but I enjoyed these a great deal, to my surprise.

 

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Our mains were also excellent: we had a choice of two types of ravioli (spinach and cheese) as well as a grilled tuna with white beans and fresh herbs. The ravioli were the best I have ever eaten – fresh, with flavorful fillings and excellent sauce. I think we as a group wished there had been more ravioli! The tuna dish was well-liked by most of us – the fish was fresh, and the white beans quite tasty. However, the tuna was a touch over-done for a few members (myself included), and I found that even though the tuna itself had little seasoning, a bite of the entire dish eaten together was rather good. However, since preference of temperature in fish can be quite personal, I cannot say it is a serious criticism  -simply order the tuna to your preference.

 

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We had a variety of desserts to choose from: a cheesecake, a blueberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream, tiramisu, and a tartufo (an ice cream dessert this ristorante makes with pistachio and vanilla ice cream, with pistachios, maraschino cherries and covered in chocolate.) The blueberry cobbler was the least popular dessert among the group, but all agreed the desserts were quite delicious. Myself, I was quite taken with the tartufo and tiramisu – the combination of ice cream flavors, with the chocolate exterior and maraschino cherries was an original flavor experience, and the tiramisu had an excellent espresso flavor. It was not overpowering, and the best aspect for me was the fact the cake layer was moist but not soggy or mushy.

The final consensus – the food was delicious, and we’d definitely eat here again on our own!

Siena Ristorante is located at 533 Kings Highway, Brooklyn NY 11223.  Call (718) 676-5024 for additional information.

 

Comments

  1. i was so sad to miss this lunch! everything looked so delicious!

  2. love the review – and loved the food and the company more!

  3. Oh how I wish I could have joined you. The foods looks and sounds delicious and the company even better. Next time!

  4. Great review! Wish I could have been there! I agree though, that fish looks way too overdone.

  5. It was an honor to sit with such accomplished food bloggers! The food and the company was fabulous- glad to meet the faces behind the blogs!

  6. Can’t believe it’s been a year either!! Beautiful photos, sounds like everything was so wonderful.

  7. So much fun! I wish I could have joined!

  8. Vicky and Ruth says:

    We really liked your review and your writing style! We are sorry we missed it. Maybe next time!

  9. Great review Sarah, it was a great time and agree I would go back, wish it was closer. I did really like the pizza though, just mentioning. Hope we can do it again soon.

  10. Sorry I couldnt make it. Food looks delicious.

  11. Thanks for the great reminder of all of Siena’s delicious dishes. I MUST go back!

  12. Wish I could have been there.

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