Hipster and Hasid in Edible Harmony

Yuda Schlass makes his $15 sandwiches in his kitchen. (Photo by Helen Chernikoff via The Jewish Week)

Yuda Schlass makes his $15 sandwiches in his kitchen. (Photo by Helen Chernikoff via The Jewish Week)

Hipster and Hasidic – both describe Brooklynite Yuda Schlass, 30, and his Crown Heights sandwich shop. The Jewish Week’s Helen Chernikoff profiles the owner of Hassid+Hipster, which is operated out of Schlass’ duplex on Eastern Parkway. His is not the only eatery in the borough blurring the boundaries between Orthodox Judaism and hipster culture – two seemingly divergent yet quintessential elements of Brooklyn.

To give an idea of the sandwiches Schlass offers, the Jewish Week describes one with Vietnamese influence in succulent detail. It came to him during the Jewish holiday of Tu b’Shevat, which celebrates the new year for trees.

Two weeks ago, on the day Tu b’Shevat started, Schlass drew inspiration for his sandwich, the “Tu-bi-banh-mi” from both the tradition of eating the “seven species” of Israel — the fruits and grains named in the Torah — and a Vietnamese pork sandwich. Schlass braised veal belly in beer, brushed the succulent slices with pomegranate and date glaze, added a sprinkle of pickled raisins and citrus oil and piled it all on a baguette layered with smoky fig and eggplant pate.

The article mentions other restaurants and eateries that mesh the delicacies of the hipster and the Hasid. One chef, however, warns against thinking of their presence as the sign of an emerging picture.

But this recent interest of the Orthodox in Brooklyn foodways like offbeat ingredients and farmers markets doesn’t make a trend, cautions Moshe Wendel, the classically trained chef at Pardes, whose food both Schlass and Werdiger-Roth cite as an inspiration.

Pardes opened in October, 2010 and he still finds the task of educating the observant palate a bit of a challenge, although it’s gotten easier over time.

“We had people wanting a well-done hamburger. Now they eat steak tartare and organ meats,” he said. “You’re always fighting an uphill battle. You’re feeding people who’ve eaten a yeshiva diet — overcooked hamburgers and pasta — their whole lives.”

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