Michael Solomonov likens the Jewish holiday Purim to St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras. All three holidays are rooted in religion, but are often observed with boisterous revelry and copious drinking. For his Klezmer Carnival on Thursday at Zahav, he hopes to channel them all. He’s hired Klezmer adherents the West Philly Orchestra, dancers and fire-breathers to ensure the celebration is a rowdy spectacle. “It’s kind of a carnival-ly holiday,” Solomonov told Grub Street. “So we thought, why not have a party.”
To enliven the party, or at least keep its revelry fully fueld, Solomonov will serve a selection of Eastern European-inspired dishes and house-infused vodkas. He plans on serving tons of pickles, corned beef and pastrami made from beef cheeks and smoked in Percy Street’s smoker, smoked chopped liver rolled in chicken skin, smoked sable on challah, smoked salmon blintzes with caviar, sweetbread schnitzel on a stick and the all important Hamantashen.
Traditionally during Purim, those celebrating read from the Megillah, and each time the name Haman is mentioned people are supposed to hiss, holler and rattle noisemakers. In the vodka-soaked interpretations, things can be a little different. “You’re supposed to get so hammered that at the end, you can’t tell the difference between the names Mordecai and Haman,” Solomonov said. He would prefer that guest don’t over do it, but to honor that tradition, he’s prepared a selection of house-infused vodkas, flavored with Eastern European staples like carrots, beets and celery.
The festivities start at 6 p.m. and the West Philly Orchestra starts playing at 8 p.m. Admission costs $35 per person and includes food. The house-infused vodkas are available a la carte.