It’s late afternoon and the staff at Got Kosher? Café is under the impression that the kitchen isn’t yet able to prepare brik until dinner service begins. “So, you want brik?” owner Alain Cohen asks. Dressed in all black, with a professorial air and solid build, Cohen’s question implies that brik will be in my future, despite the lunch shift’s initial claim. When Cohen sits down at the front corner table in his restaurant, a half-moon shaped, flash-fried brik arrives, with a diminutive, custom-sized portion for himself.
At Jeff's Gourmet Kosher Sausage Factory on Pico Boulevard, high school boys crowd the place, sinking their teeth into chicken-cilantro sausages and Moroccan sausages with olives and preserved lemons. The hot dogs at Jeff's are a far cry from the skinny pink Hebrew National ones that most people think of when they think hot dog, and because of this, the franks sell well, even to high school boys who aren't natural gourmets.
Jeff Rohatiner, who started Jeff's Gourmet in 1999, and Alain Cohen and Evelyn Baron of Neshama Gourmet Kosher Foods, are at the vanguard of a kosher sausage revolution in Los Angeles. Both companies were founded by people dissatisfied with the state of kosher sausages and wanted to turn a normally low-cost food item into a high-end treat.