Jack­’s Wife Fre­da: Cook­ing From New York’s West Village

Dean Jen­klowitz, Maya Jen­klowitz, Julia Jaksic
  • Review
By – February 8, 2017

Jack­’s Wife Fre­da, a pair of down­town restau­rants whose signs bear the illus­trat­ed face of their name­sake grand­ma, have become part of the epi­cen­ter of Jew­ish com­fort-food din­ing in New York’s Green­wich Vil­lage. With their com­mu­nal, casu­al vibe and detailed cozi­ness, the restau­rants feel like home, and every­one — from the many local reg­u­lars to thou­sands of tourists just pass­ing through — is greet­ed like fam­i­ly by own­ers Maya and Dean Jankelowitz, and their staff. And the food is anoth­er rea­son you nev­er want to leave. A tempt­ing and imag­i­na­tive meld of Jew­ish immi­grant tra­di­tions and recipes, the menu craft­ed by chef Julia Jak­sic bor­rows from the Ashke­nazi and Sephardic dish­es of the Jankelow­itz’s respec­tive child­hoods, along with the fla­vors of South African and Israeli cook­ing. Fans line up on Carmine and Lafayette Streets each morn­ing for a taste of the leg­endary spicy baked Shak­shu­ka, Eggs Ben­ny with Beet Hol­landaise, or Rose­wa­ter Waf­fles with Hon­ey Syrup. The bustling lunch crowd digs into clas­sics like Mat­zoh Ball Soup, paired with new favorites like Peri-Peri Chick­en Wings infused with African bird’s eye chili, and Maya’s Grain Bowl with Turmer­ic Tahi­ni Dress­ing. Refresh­ing day­time drinks includ­ing Can­taloupe Juice and Nana Tea give way to a sig­na­ture New York Sour at five o’clock, along­side an appe­tiz­er of Fried Zuc­chi­ni Chips with Smoked Papri­ka Aioli or Halou­mi with Grapes. Din­ner­time brings delec­table crowd-pleasers that home cooks will turn to again and again: Spiced Rack of Lamb with Herbed Israeli Cous­cous, Duck Tagine, and Freda’s Fish Balls. Mal­va Pud­ding, Yogurt Pan­na Cot­ta with Rose Syrup and more are a per­fect end to any meal.

Good food enjoyed with friends and fam­i­ly is the foun­da­tion of Jack­’s Wife Fre­da, and Maya and Dean bring the same vibrant ener­gy and love of great cook­ing and health­ful eat­ing to their first cook­book. Whether you live around the cor­ner and pop in reg­u­lar­ly for a favorite meal or look for­ward to an out-of-town vis­it, this beau­ti­ful­ly illus­trat­ed and user-friend­ly book makes it easy to eat from Jack­’s Wife Fre­da all day, every day.

Court­ney Gooch is a design­er and part­ner at Por­trait, a graph­ic design stu­dio that cre­ates iden­ti­ties for peo­ple and places. She lives, cooks, and eats in Brooklyn.

Discussion Questions