We Cater To You

Kimikoapps It all started with this e-mail from Barista reader Roberta Zeff:

"I’m looking for someone to cater my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah luncheon who can do beautiful, delicious food for the adults, fun food for the kids and — here’s the challenge part — all of it about half the $85-per-person rates I’ve been quoted so far. I can’t be the only person around here who doesn’t believe in spending a year’s college tuition on a three-hour party for a child. Could you offer a suggestion, or perhaps do a story on this?"

Done! Whether you see them as a sacred rite of passage, or a pull-out-all-the-stops event to rival most weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs can be a bitch to plan. Here in Baristaville, seems everyone we talk to knows someone who’s either having one soon or just attended one, including two recent "mitzvahs" that featured Japanese catered by Kimiko’s. We asked two other area caterers to plan a mock mitzvah for us in Roberta’s price range. Here’s what they’d feed us:

From Lisa Susan Miller of Lisa Susan Miller Caterers:

"I design each menu for the individual client, asking them for their ideas and favorite foods. The menu I have outlined here would be approximately $43.25 per person and would not included rentals, waitstaff and a bartender.

Passed Hors D’oeuvres
* Smoked salmon on crunchy wontons with wasabi mayo and topped with chives
* Thai BBQ shrimp served with a sweet chili dipping sauce
* Hotdogs in puff pastry served with honey mustard
* Thai meatballs with Voodoo dipping sauce
* Chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce
* Mini crab cakes garnished with chipolte mayo

Adult Buffet:
Salmon baked in fresh herbs served with dill sauce
Sliced fillet mignon or steamship roast served with a red pepper coulis or
Chicken breasts stuffed with pesto, sundried tomato and fresh mozzarella
Roasted rosemary potato wedges or a mixture of white and wild rice with mushrooms
Oven roasted asparagus served with Hollandaise sauce

Salad: Romaine lettuce, crumbled goat cheese, dried cranberries and slivered
almonds in a shiitake mushroom vinaigrette
Rolls and butter

Kids Buffet
Build your own Fajita
Chili rubbed steak grilled and sliced
Tequilla and lime marinated chicken breasts grillled and sliced
Grilled onions and peppers
Fixins’ Bar:
Flour tortillas
Mango salsa
Tomatillo salsa
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Chopped jalapenos

Ice cream cart/make your own sundaes
Your choice of sheet cake

Frozen drink machine for virgin strawberry dacquairis and frozen lemonade
Alcohol provided by you

Elaine Rust of Rustic Food, provided us with an actual menu…

Download BatMitzvahMenu9-05.doc

for a Bat Mitzvah she will cater in September. Rust tries to key into clients personal interests when creating menus and has done everything from French bistro fare and British high teas to movie screenings of "Valley of the Dolls" and "The Stepford Wives" complete with 1960’s & 70’s cocktail & buffet. 

We invite other caterers to come to the table; send us your inspired menus/prices for our mock mitzvah at liz-at-baristanet-dot-com. 

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  1. just remember that if you are renting out space for the luncheon at your synagogue to find out about their kashrut requirements before you book the caterer.
    each temple has different standards, but i’m pretty sure that crab cakes and shrimp dishes listed above are off the menu no matter what shul you belong to!
    TNT requires KOSHER caterers for meat (chicken, beef) meals. If you do dairy only (salmon and vegetarian options) you can bring a non-kosher caterer.

  2. In my opinion, there is much more to planning and carrying out a social occasion, celebration or business function then selecting a menu or caterer. Starting with an idea or theme makes more sense then moving straight to the details. Most event planners from Martha Stewart to your next door neighbor, encourage clients to Think Big at the start. Consider of all the possibilities and then decide what is realistic, possible and affordable. Dream big that’s the most fun and then design, plan and execute.

  3. Some years ago, for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, I used David’s Decotessen in Caldwell. It was, needless to say, a traditional ethnic meal and guests, more familiar and perhaps bored with the banquet menus at The Manor and Highlawn Pavilion, found David’s menu comforting and tasty. More recently, for parties at home as large as Bat Mitzvahs, I’ve used several local Montclair restaurants and delis that cater, but not for nearly as much as the $85-a-person described in these pages. Belgiovines is terrific for antipasto platters; Leone’s worked wonderfully this year for main courses of eggplant rolatini, chicken cutlets, and wonderful pasta in pink sauce. I’ve also used Royal India and Enzo’s in the past. All you need is professional servers and a crew captain to bring off your perhaps cut-rate but definitely delicious menu.

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