Courtesy of the General Muir
Chef Todd Ginsberg remembers watching his mom and aunts dance around the kitchen during Passover. They cooked heaping plates of charoset, matzoh ball soup, and brisket for more than 40 family members. Children read stories from the Haggadah and commemorated their ancestors’ exodus from slavery. It was a special holiday, one reserved for the family. When Ginsberg opened the General Muir in 2012, he wanted to extend the tradition to the rest of Atlanta and, come April 22 and 23, he’ll host the restaurant’s fourth Seder dinner. “It’s a very intimate and sacred thing for me,” Ginsberg says. “I never had a chance to feed my own family for Passover, and now I’m feeding hundreds of people.”
The Passover dinner draws in more than just the Jewish community. Co-owner Shelley Sweet says the dinner sells out every year and that non-denominational groups also join in on the occasion, gathering around tables, listening to readings from the Haggadah and talking about the stories behind the dishes. The event isn’t a communal Seder, says Sweet. “It’s an opportunity for people to make a reservation, bring your own Haggadah, and conduct your own Seder at your table,” she says. “They can do it in depth, or they can just enjoy the food and the tradition.”
For those new to the holiday, the restaurant will offer handouts explaining the Passover story and traditions The General Muir will also provide Seder Plates, which are used to display symbolic foods like bitter herbs to represent the hardships of slavery.
As for what’s on the menu, Ginsberg is always looking to offer something new. “Nostalgia has to be a part of these gatherings,” he says. “I can try and make it a different experience for people than what their moms and grandmothers did, but still make it feel familiar.”
This year’s menu features Ginsberg’s take on classics such as house-baked matzah, charoset, tzimmes, latkes, red wine braised brisket, and roasted lamb shank. He veers from traditional recipes in subtle ways, like when he uses scottish salmon in place of carp for the gefilte fish.
Families can also order take-out. “The history and tradition of making all this food is a big part of the celebration, but we live in a modern world where people are so busy,” Sweet says.
Reservations are accepted until April 19. Call 678-927-9131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org