Yesterday, we posted the sign for "Top Chef" alum Nikki Cascone's new eatery at 40 Avenue B called Octavia's Porch.
This prompted a strong reaction from EV Grieve reader Cookiepuss. I'll replay the comment here:
This is something that's beyond offensive. The name Octavia's Porch is a reference to the main street in Trastevere, Rome's Jewish Ghetto.
Considering the continued annihilation of the Lower East Side, including its rich history of Jewish immigrants and culture makes this that more disturbing, and not only that, you wanna talk about a ghetto. Many of the people who live in the very immediate area live below the poverty line and have great disparages, so tell me how does this help the situation. It doesn't.
This is just another restaurant that is catalytic towards gentrification!
Grub Street noted that the eatery is "named after the main street in Rome’s Jewish ghetto, as a nod to the couple’s Jewish-Italian heritage." That's nice, I like heritage.... but... a little history:
During a time of an increase in anti-semitism, Pope Paul IV created the Jewish Ghetto in 1555. 4000 Jews were walled in on 7 acres of land. The Jews had to wear yellow scarves and caps, couldn't own property and a curfew was enforced. The Ghetto walls were finally torn down in 1848. In 1870 after Italian unification they were granted full rights and citizenship.
So the food here at 40 Avenue B will celebrate this heritage? Menu items include:
• Niman Ranch Beef Frank, Spiced Beans & house Kraut
• Brisket on Rye with Pickled Red Onion
• Maple & Ginger Roasted Turkey Sandwich, farmstead cheese, Beer Mustard
• Grilled Vegetable- Matzoh Lasagna
• Long Island Duck Breast with Cardamom glazed Baby Carrots
• Wild Salmon with Sweet Potato Latkes, Cucumber & Apple Mostarda