NORTHBROOK — Go into Max and Benny’s restaurant in Northbrook 363 days a year and it looks like any North Shore delicatessen.
Go there for dinner on the Jewish New Year and customers dine on linen table cloths while eating traditional holiday fare.
Max and Benny’s serves Rosh Hashanah dinner from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 2 and 3 at its Northbrook restaurant on Waukegan Road, offering customers an opportunity to enjoy a holiday meal before going to synagogue or spending time with family.
“If customers are going to come here for their holiday meal we want to make it special for them,” said Jon Soble, the restaurant’s director of catering. “This is how we dress it up so they feel special,” he added referring the table cloths and more formal atmosphere.
Soble said reservations are a must as many families return each year, often expanding their circle.
“Community is important to people,” said Soble. “We have people who come back year after year asking to be seated by another family requesting the comradery of family and friends.
The meal is served family style and costs $32 for adults and $16 for children under 10. Soble said there are the traditional apples and honey along with customary Jewish main courses, appetizers, soups and desserts.
“Apples and honey are special for the holiday,” said Soble. “Apples because it is fall and honey for a sweet life of success in the new year.”
Placed on each table is a traditional round challah, an egg bread. Soble said one comes plain and the other with raisins, but customers can order all of one or the other.
Along with the apples, honey and challah, Soble said diners get homemade chopped liver and gefilte fish as well as matzo ball soup. Main courses are lean beef brisket and roasted chicken though white fish can be substituted on request. Side dishes with the meal are oven-roasted potatoes, green beans and carrots. Wine is available for those who want to make the traditional blessing.
Each table will also have a dessert plate with honey cake, frosted banana cake and flourless chocolate cake.
“The apples and honey are traditional for the holiday,” Soble said. “Everything else is traditional Jewish food.”
There is no food served off the menu and the restaurant closes at 2 p.m. Oct. 2 and 3 to let the staff get ready for the holiday meal, according to Soble. He said the restaurant will be open during its regular hours until 2 p.m. Oct. 3 for people looking for a regular lunch from the everyday menu.
“We have one synagogue group that comes here every year after services,” said Soble.
For people who want to eat at home and let someone else do the cooking, Max and Benny’s also offers catering. Soble said package dinners vary in price depending on the number of diners.
Main courses include chicken, brisket or a combination of the two. There is also turkey with stuffing and cranberry sauce. Customers get a choice of sweet and sour meatballs or chopped liver, honey glazed carrots or fresh green beans and oven brown potatoes or rice pilaf. All orders include challah and matzo ball soup.
For a complete catering menu for both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur click here.