Capsouto Frères' Jacques Capsouto Discusses Being a Bistro Trailblazer and the Importance of Serving Israeli Wines
Photo courtesy Jacques Capsouto Will Jacques Capsouto find the afikoman this year?
New York City is a fickle restaurant city. Most places barely last five years. So when a restaurant is in its 31st year, it's clearly doing something right. Capsouto Frères has been a Tribeca mainstay since 1980, so we called up founder Jacques Capsouto to learn more about the secret to his success.
Tell me a bit about the restaurant's origins.
The restaurant has been around since 1980. We were three brothers -- Albert, Sami, and Jacques. We opened as a French bistro, which at the time there weren't too many of. We started a trend: the trend of bistro and classical bistro fare.
What's the secret to the restaurant's staying power?
Perseverance and persistence.
Do you think restaurant culture has changed since you started the restaurant?
People are more aware of food and restaurants and especially quality food. When we started, people didn't know what a leek was. People are more knowledgeable about food and wine than several years ago. And "green" food and organics. You never heard of organic or biodynamic a few years ago.
Capsouto Frères has an annual Passover Seder coming up next week. How did that come about?
We are Sephardic. My parents were born in Turkey and we can trace back [our lineage] to Portugal during the Inquisition. In the mid-'80s the synagogue in Istanbul got destroyed so we wanted to do something. We found a Jewish organization that would send the money and it was successful so we keep doing it.