For New Paltz restaurateur Jordan Schor, “Food is an emotional thing, an experience of memory. Earlier I was making poached pears, and it’s how my house smelled growing up. It was a really intense experience. I almost had to stop what I was doing for a moment.” And that powerful sensory experience, laden with pleasurable associations, is exactly what he wants you to have when you come in for a meal at his new downtown establishment, End Cut, now serving French/Italian fusion cuisine in the space that used to be the Indian restaurant Suruchi at 5 Church Street.
For the past two-and-a-half years, Kingston native Schor has been running Jordan’s Bistro and Pizzeria at the corner of Main Street and South Chestnut, formerly Fat Bob’s (and Chez Joey to New Paltz old-timers). Before that, in Kingston, he owned a luncheonette on Fair Street called Solstice and an Italian restaurant and pizzeria on North Front Street called Jordan’s. But Schor grew up with fabulous food and “worked with some really great chefs who were willing to teach and share all of their knowledge,” so he has long dreamed of doing something a little more gourmet than the pizza biz. End Cut is the realization of that dream.
The new restaurant’s name is something of an in-joke, drawn from his father’s career as a “front-of-the-house guy” during the heyday of the Borscht Belt. “Jewish people love the end cut of prime rib,” Schor explains. “It’s always the biggest piece, and has all the seasonings.” But there are only two end cuts on each bovine rib cage. So as a “young kid hanging out at the hotel” with his Dad, he quickly learned that patrons would tip the waiters generously to make sure that they got an end cut, and the waiters in turn would have to bribe the chefs. It became something of a metaphor for getting the very best that a professional kitchen had to offer.
But it was from his mother that Jordan Schor really learned how to cook. “It was mostly French with Mom,” he says. “Dinner was always this feast in our house…We used to go to Mohican Market every day. For fish we went to Sea Deli, and there was a butcher shop that isn’t there anymore…From a very young age I learned how important the freshness of the product was. We never used a freezer. I never had fast food until I was about 14.”