We’ve had Reubens, pastries and bagels in bundles, but as far as American-Jewish food goes, that’s been about it. The McDonald family wants to change that. The family that started Fratelli Fresh is going back to its roots with Benjamin and Daughters, a restaurant inspired by New York City’s Lower East Side restaurants and delis.
Karen McDonald will be heading the venue with daughter Nina Gravelis. The name and recipes come from McDonald’s grandma, Millie Benjamin. “I was raised in a traditional Jewish family. Millie was the matriarch and family “chef”.
There will be chicken-matzo ball soup; crisp potato latkes (garlicky hash browns) with crème fraiche; gravlax; schnitzel and caviar blinis. “It’s a combination of our Friday-night dinners and our experiences in the many Lower East Side Restaurants,” McDonald says. “And, as Jewish tradition, a weekly sit-down dinner, special for Friday evenings, of roast chicken, vegetables or chopped salads with braided challah and something sweet like a classic babka or cheesecake.”
McDonald says there’ll be cocktails such as Benjamin’s Martini and Americano Spritzes as well as a modern wine selection and tap beer. During the day the venue will be more like a deli, serving Rueben, pastrami and smoked-salmon sandwiches, bagels and vegetable tarts.
The design, by Neil Bradford will be more reflective of current restaurant trends. “The brief was fresh, clean, light, comfortable, efficient. Neil has worked on many projects with us and understands our vision to a tee,” says McDonald.
Benjamin and Daughters will open in December at 346 New South Head Road, Double Bay.