True, nobody served chopped liver at the first Thanksgiving. But for Bruce and Eric Bromberg, the brothers behind New York City's three Blue Ribbon restaurants, it's a natural. "The chopped turkey livers, the potato pancakes--there's obviously some Jewish influence on our menu," Bruce says. There are influences, though, beyond the obvious: The liver, while seasoned with beets and horseradish, also marinates in port and Cognac--making it a cross between the old Jewish favorite and a traditional French pâté de foie de volaille.
The Brombergs are no strangers to multicultural dining. In fact, their restaurants are known for serving French, Asian and Jewish dishes side by side. Other chefs seem to love this mix: They come to Blue Ribbon Sushi, Blue Ribbon Bakery and, especially, the original Blue Ribbon, to hang out and to eat after their own kitchens have closed. "They're the perfect places for chefs," says Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the French-born master behind Jean Georges in New York. "They draw a fun crowd, with sexy people, and you can have anything from matzo ball soup to bone marrow with oxtail marmalade." Alfred Portale, the chef of Gotham Bar and Grill in Manhattan, credits the Brombergs for handling their all-inclusive repertoire (the menu of Blue Ribbon Bakery lists 101 items) with great skill and restraint. "Everything they do, they do well," Portale says. "They don't screw up a good thing by trying to be too creative."
And so it is at the Brombergs' Thanksgiving. "It's a holiday of simple food," Bruce, the younger (single) half of the brother act, says. "There's no need to be terribly inventive. If you can make a perfect turkey, you've beaten 99 percent of the households in this country." But Bruce and his older (married) brother Eric are graduates of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, so their version of simple can come out looking pretty sophisticated. "Thanksgiving has always been the best holiday for presentation," Eric says, "because you're serving in grand style, on platters, and the colors work off each other. The entire meal is very dramatic."