Burnt Offerings: L’chaim to Life!
Burnt Offerings is female-owned and operated under the direction of Chef Jennifer Eckmann and Managing Partner, Alexandra Emstova, and is the only OU certified kosher restaurant in Las Vegas with an intriguing wine list to match. We recently interviewed Chef to learn about this deliciously unique restaurant concept and to discover more about what makes a wine kosher.
What inspired you to open a Kosher restaurant in Las Vegas?
I was inspired to fulfill the lack of innovation in the kosher market. Kosher food, just like any special diet or allergy, follows certain guidelines and I work within them in the same way that I adhere to health department rules and regulations. Ultimately, it is my obligation to serve strictly kosher food under the world’s most recognized kosher certification, the OU, and it is not my position to question or to tell another person what they should put in their body.
What was the most challenging part of bringing this concept to life?
My greatest challenge was finding someone willing to support the financing of this unique concept while allowing me to be the eccentric person that I am during the process of bringing it to life. Every single day is like an episode of Cutthroate Kitchen. It’s one obstacle after another, which most restaurant owners understand. I know from my thirty years of experience in this business that I haven't seen the MOST challenging obstacle... yet. Bring it, on Alton Brown.
What type of dining experience are you hoping to create for your guests?
Restaurant owners spend no time at home. When designing the restaurant, I created it with the knowledge that this is going to be my new home. My employees are going to be my new family. With all that in mind, I created a place that brings me comfort and laughter.
So many of my life's nostalgic moments are memories from restaurants I enjoyed. When I was a kid, my father would be annoyed by me when I ordered a hot dog at a restaurant. He would say, "order something that you don't eat all the time at home." People are creatures of habit and for some, it’s scary to try something new. With Burnt Offerings, I think I nailed it. Everyday comfort food with a unique twist that you wouldn't find at home, accompanied by splashes of elegance and laughter.
What type of cuisine do you offer?
This has been a tough question to answer as I don't want to be pigeonholed into the category of kosher. The menu has been a progression of flavors, textures and a mix of all different types of cuisines that I have concocted over the years. I am not much for following rules. I am stubborn and believe there are many ways to do something and that our mission as humans is to discover all the possibilities that we can during our time on Earth to pave the way for others. Burnt Offerings is a restaurant that follows the strictest kosher guidelines, mixed in with common sense and creative yet comforting favorites, and me, of course. I call it “New Yiddish Cuisine.” I combined the comforts of the "old country" Jewish foods and turned it into a complete American melting pot cuisine that really describes what America is all about.
What does it mean to be Kosher Certified and was it difficult to obtain the accreditation?
My goal is for Burnt Offerings to be a place that is neutral to ALL people. Choosing the OU as our kosher certification, was our way to not be involved in any local politics and be nationally accepted which is important because 85% of our customers are visiting from all over the world. Having the OU is truly an accomplishment. Burnt Offerings is the ONLY OU certified kosher restaurant in Las Vegas, and one of about 53 in the United States.
How did you approach creating your
Our wine list seems to be constantly changing. I once thought, “how many kosher wines could there even be?” The answer is not enough and a lot at the same time. Our vision was to offer wines that are not available elsewhere and that cannot be found in retail stores, but it has been a challenge. Right now, we offer a selection of world-recognized kosher brands as well as some unique wines that are not available anywhere else in Las Vegas and we plan to continue to add hidden gems.
What makes Kosher wines different from other wines?
Wine is, and always has been, a huge part of Jewish traditions. Just like our food, there are very strict guidelines surrounding what makes wine kosher or not. Most of it has nothing to do with flavor and everything to do with ancient Jewish traditions that only specific certified individuals can do during the process of winemaking. Our certification only allows us to offer Mevushal wines which literally means “cooked” or “boiled” in Hebrew. These days, most suppliers use laser equipment and don’t really boil the wine for a long period of time, so the quality of these wines is improving every year. The selection of Mevushal wine is only a tiny fraction of the total wine production in the world.
Who are your favorite Kosher wine producers and why?
I love several wines by Covenant but not all of their wines are Mevushal, so we can only serve a few at our restaurant. I also love Baron Herzog private cellar wines. They offer a variety of reserve wines and limited edition options from around the world. Some of them are on our wine list as well.
What is your favorite pairing on the menu?
I would recommend a Rioja with bright ruby red color, and a nose of ripe wild berries and balsamic aromas as an ideal pairing with our meats, especially the lamb chops.
Do you currently offer any wine-related promotions?
As we are getting our feet wet in the Las Vegas restaurant scene, we are always looking for exciting ways to promote what we have. With that being said, we’ve started with "Wine Wednesdays,” offering half off any bottle. I encourage everyone to come and try unique kosher wines that can only be found at Burnt Offerings. L'chaim to life!
3909 W. Sahara Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Sunday - Thursday: 11am-10 pm; Friday: 11am-2pm; Saturday: Closed