The $24 tomato storm rumbles on

Israeli chef gets anti-Semitic threat after critic pans his NY restaurant prices

Anonymous letter sent to Eyal Shani blames ultra-Orthodox community for measles outbreak: ‘Jews are not wanted here!’

Israeli chef Eyal Shani prepares a pita in the newly-opened New York branch of his Miznon restaurant chain. (Danielle Ziri/Times of Israel)
Israeli chef Eyal Shani prepares a pita in the newly-opened New York branch of his Miznon restaurant chain. (Danielle Ziri/Times of Israel)

Days after Eyal Shani was blasted for the high prices at his New York eatery, the Israeli celebrity chef became the target of a threatening anti-Semitic letter.

The hate mail came on the heels of a review by the New York Post food critic Steve Cuozzo, who was less than impressed that Shani’s renowned HaSalon restaurant charged $24 for an appetizer consisting of a single tomato.

“Majority of Americans despise Israel. We did not want your Soda Stream. And only stupid kikes would eat at your overpriced pit,” said the anonymous letter, which was posted to Twitter Saturday by Shani’s business partner Shahar Segal.

The letter writer rambles incoherently about Jews not paying taxes and accuses the ultra-Orthodox community of spreading the measles epidemic before threatening the restaurant.

“Measles outbreak was spread by your Orthodox cult freaks… as they rape children…Jews are not wanted here! HaSalon days are numbered!

Shani, who did not comment on the letter, is best best known for his esoteric love affair with tomatoes.

He opened a branch of his popular restaurant HaSalon in Hell’s Kitchen three months ago.

The restaurant, Shani’s second in New York, was met with rave reviews, and its raucous wedding-party-style dinners are routinely booked weeks in advance.

But Cuozzo was less than impressed at HaSalon’s prices, particularly the $24 tomato appetizer.

The dish, called “The best tomato in NY is naked,” comes peeled, cut into eight chunks and served lightly drizzled with olive oil and sea salt.

Though he described it as having a “deep, nutty-and-sweet, late-August, just-picked flavor,” Cuozzo concluded that the price could not be justified.

“Its appearance on the menu offended my wallet,” he said in the review published last week.

According to the Post, the tomatoes Shani uses are grown hydroponically in a nutrient-infused liquid that apparently eliminates the need to wait for the late-summer growing season.

“We spared no expense and journeyed for a month to find these tomatoes and finally found them” at the Union Square Greenmarket, the paper quoted Shani as saying.

In Israel, Shani has been a long-time judge on Israel’s “Master Chef” TV show, where he frequently waxes poetic about his love for tomatoes, something he continues on his Instagram page.

“The tomato in this picture is the single best living tomato in the entire universe at this moment in time,” Shani wrote in a February Instagram post.

read more:
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed
Register for free
and continue reading
Registering also lets you comment on articles and helps us improve your experience. It takes just a few seconds.
Already registered? Enter your email to sign in.
Please use the following structure:
Or Continue with
By registering you agree to the terms and conditions. Once registered, you’ll receive our Daily Edition email for free.
Register to continue
Or Continue with
Log in to continue
Sign in or Register
Or Continue with
check your email
Check your email
We sent an email to you at .
It has a link that will sign you in.