A Chanukah Spin on the Restaurants from KFWE 2019
By: Esther Pransky, Lubicom Marketing Staff
1,500 open bottles of kosher wine;
A spectacular waterfront view of the Hudson.
That was the 2019 Kosher Food and Wine Event at Chelsea Piers.
And along with the wine, guests sampled top quality, trending food from kosher vendors across the NY-NJ area.
Just in time for Chanukah, we’re revisiting 2019’s KFWE food stars. If you’re looking for unique Chanukah party or gifting ideas, you’re in the right place. Read on for the best of the best in kosher food today.
Owner: Benjamin Weiss
Location: 868 Kent Ave., Brooklyn, NY
Most popular item: Elegant pops – a refreshing option for long Friday nights
Just a few seconds on Elegant Desserts’ website and your mouth will be watering. From bakery items to chocolate to frozen desserts, each high-end product is more tempting than the next.
According to Weiss, the secret is using real ingredients. Real imported 70% cacao chocolate. Real fruit purees. Real praline. You’ll find traditional favorites like cakes, truffles, babkas, and rugelach, with modern twists like the avant-garde, lotus flavored rugelach. Weiss says he knows he’s doing something right when customers call to say how delicious the new products are.
Elegant Desserts often works with caterers, but also offers door-to-door shipping for consumers.
Think Chanukah: Instead of doughnuts, try some churros, a fried Spanish pastry snack. They were the hottest item at KosherFest this year, and Elegant Desserts can ship them nationwide.
COO: Nathan Haboura
Locations: Cedarhurst, Queens, NYC, Barclays Center
Most popular item: Brisket Burnt Ends, Hand Crafted Jerky, Dino Short Rib
From the people who brought you The Upper Crust, Carlos & Gabbys, Sushi Pie, and Mexi-KO, comes Graze Smokehouse. It’s authentic, bold, and smokey, southern BBQ with a Tex-Mex twist.
Satisfied customers say you don't want to miss the Brisket Burnt Ends, made from 16-hour smoked brisket. The Dino Short Rib and jerky showcase come highly recommended, too. The secret is in the house-made spice rubs, marinades, and seasonings, says Nate Haboura, CEO.
Graze Smokehouse is the sole kosher food provider at both Barclays Center and Nassau Coliseum. At Barclays Center, there’s a stand on the suites level, the main concourse, and a buffet on the courtside level.
Think Chanukah: For the sports fans in your life, how about a NY Islanders or Brooklyn Nets game to go along with some smoked BBQ?
GROW AND BEHOLD
Owner: Naftali and Anna Hanau
Location: Nationwide shipping, home delivery in the NY area
Most popular items: Denver steaks, skirts steaks, brisket, chicken breast filet, and beef bacon
Naf and Anna Hanau believe that “great meals start with great meat.” How do you produce great meat? From small scale farmers, pasture-raised animals, employees who are paid good wages, and plants that are safe, clean, and family operated. It may be more expensive, but it’s worth it; Grow and Behold has a loyal customer base to prove it.
The website has a full line of cuts, with products for every occasion – Shabbos, weeknights, or holidays. You’ll see options for beef, chicken, turkey, duck, and veal.
The Hanaus are as committed to customer service as they are to quality meats. And “when [customers] write to us to tell us about the amazing meals they made, the memories they created, and the food they love, it keeps us going, and helps us be our best,” says Naf.
Think Chanukah: “Raise the steaks” and gift your family with meats that are a cut above. Check out the gift packages on their website.
CEO: Jack Silberstein
Location: Fine kosher retailers near you and online
Most Popular Item: Facon - Quality beef, rubbed with sugar and salt, dry-cured, and then smoked. Slightly salty, smoky, and oh so savory!
Hot dogs and sausages get a bad rap, being associated with unhealthy fillers and chemicals. But Jack’s Gourmet changed all that in 2010 by producing handcrafted, minimally processed kosher meat products. Their product line includes all sorts of specialty sausages like bratwurst, boerewors, and kielbasa.
You won’t find gluten, msg, soy, carrageenan, or synthetic flavorings on Jack’s ingredient list. So, what’s inside? High-quality meats and natural flavoring like fresh garlic, “the most wonderful of ingredients.”
Silberstein encourages you to check out their wide assortment of products and expand your culinary repertoire. Check out their recipe booklet for inspiration.
Think Chanukah: When you’re ready to take a break from dairy, go online to order Jack’s Gourmet or head over to your local grocery.
Owner: Kevin Cohnen
Location: 43 East 34 Street in Midtown Manhattan
Most popular item: Salmon poke bowl
Poke bowls are as common in Hawaii as hot dogs and hamburgers are in New York. When the poke craze hit the mainland back in 2016, Cohnen brought it onto the kosher scene with Koshe Poke.
Traditionally, poke is made of raw cubed fish lightly marinated in soy and sesame, eaten with rice. Think of it as the Hawaiian version of sushi.
Koshe Poke lets each customer customize their dish. Start with a base of rice, quinoa, or salad in a bowl. Or choose to wrap it all up in a seaweed burrito. Add in raw or grilled fish (salmon and tuna are most common), veggies, sauces, and crunchies.
Koshe Poke offers eat in, take-out, delivery, and catering. Their fresh, heart-healthy, and unique combos, keep people coming back for more says Cohnen, who enjoys seeing all the repeat customers.
Think Chanukah: Looking for a fresh idea? Try a catered poke bar for your Chanukah party this year.
CEO: Jose Meirelles
Location: 150 West 46th Street, Manhattan
Most popular item: Dry-aged meats, butchered and aged on the premises
"Where else would a non-Jewish Portuguese immigrant open a French bistro, hire an Irish-Italian Catholic as its executive chef, and create one of the finest and most successful kosher restaurants in the United States?" So reads the introduction (written by Hadassah and Joe Lieberman) to the Le Marais cookbook.
In 1995, Jose Meirelles owned a successful non-kosher French restaurant. Could he rise to the challenge of opening a kosher French brasserie? Was it possible to create authentic dishes without cheese, shellfish, or pork? Would the meat be up to his usual standards?
More than twenty years later, the answer is still a resounding yes. You can enjoy coq au vin, duck confit, beef bourguignonne, paté, and other classic French dishes, all 100% kosher. La Marais also has an extensive wine list and can help you pick the perfect one to complement your meal.
Think Chanukah: Give the gift of Le Marias with a gift certificate. Or take advantage of delivery or shipping from the Boucherie.
CEO: Leiby Kresch
Location: Boro Park, Monroe, Williamsburg, and Lakewood
Most popular item: Delicious gifts for every occasion
The Nuttery offers far more than just nuts. You will find freshly roasted, in-house glazed nuts from macadamias to almonds and everything in between. You’ll also see chocolates, dried fruits, popcorn, artisanal pops, hot chocolate drinks, a smoothie bar, and more. If you visit the store, you can sit down to enjoy your treats or take them to go. Speaking of on the go, the store caters events, too, offering all sorts of stations like café, ice-cream, donut, or s’mores.
The Nuttery is also your “one-stop-shop for anything gift-y.” Whatever the occasion, The Nuttery has the perfect gift to express your appreciation, mazel tov, care, or celebration. Choose from gift trays, gift towers, gift tins, lucite gifts, or other novelty items.
Think Chanukah: The Nuttery has an entire Chanukah gift selection! Do you need corporate Chanukah gifts? The Nuttery offers volume discounts and has a corporate specialist ready to help you.
President: Rabbi Refoel Franklin
CEO: Eli Franklin
Location: Swan Lake, NY
Most popular item: Anything duck! Netted boneless duck leg is a particular favorite.
Pelleh Farms is not your typical farm, and the Franklin family likes it that way. Rabbi Refoel Franklin bought the farm in upstate New York in the early 80s. His mission was, and still is, to maintain the absolute highest standards of kashrus and quality. Today, he runs Pelleh Farms with his son Eli, concentrating on attention to detail and never cutting corners or mass producing.
Besides chickens, Pelleh Farms offers unique kosher poultry products. They’re famous for their duck, selling whole bird, parts, and products like duck cherry sausage or rillettes that you won’t find anywhere else on the kosher market. They process squab and goose, too. Check out their website for a full selection.
Think Chanukah: Does your family eat goose on Chanukah? It’s a custom that dates back to Europe, and the Pelleh Farms produces goose (including rendered goose fat!) once a year in honor of the holiday.
Owner: David and Richard Heisler
Location: 1321 North Ave, New Rochelle, NY
Most Popular Item: Any food, any meal, dairy, meat, or parve, Silverleaf can cater it for you.
Weddings, Bar/bat mitzvahs, Shabbat dinner Bris. Shul kiddush, Fundraising dinners; Silverleaf Caterers does it all. Silverleaf cooks up fresh, natural ingredients from local farms, for a homemade taste, without the homemade hassle.
Even if you haven’t heard of Silverleaf, you may know the Heisler name from the iconic Butterflake bakery in Teaneck. It’s synonymous with high quality. Customers in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut appreciate Silverleaf’s attention to detail, beautiful presentation, and stress-free events.
Think Chanukah: Are you planning a blow-out Chanukah party? Let Silverleaf cater the food in style.
SUSAN SEZ "SAY IT WITH CAKE"
Owner: Susan Berlin
Location: 510 W 123rd St, Manhattan
Most popular item: 5-star carrot cake, cupcakes, or sheet cakes with parve “cream cheese” icing
Susan Berlin says, “My lifelong passion has always been the baking and presentation of gourmet desserts.” In 2006 she graduated as a Pastry Chef from the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. Now, she makes her dreams a reality every day in her Manhattan bakery.
At Say it With Cake you’ll find delicious cakes, cookies, pies, pastries, challah, and more. Some specialties include gluten-free brownies and custom-decorated birthday cakes. The bakery also offers a full line of Passover baked goods in the spring.
Think Chanukah: Susan Sez ships nationwide and delivers locally, so you can stock up on a Susan Sez Chanukah favorite: jam-filled Chanukah cupcakes, a healthier take on sufganiyot.
CTO: Mischa Mishulovin
Locations: Brooklyn, Catskills, Manhattan, and Five Towns
Trademark item: The Yamato Roll
All sushi is not created equal. Sushi Tokyo built their business creating highest quality sushi with highest quality ingredients.
Take the rice for example. Sushi Tokyo prides itself on only using Tamanishiki rice, which retains just the right amount of water without becoming too mushy and absorbs the flavor of the rice vinegar seasoning better than other varieties.
There’s a sushi flavor for everyone with options including mango, asparagus, cashews, and, of course, avocado. In fact, Sushi Tokyo goes through nearly 40 cases of avocado a week! But even though the avocado roll may be the most popular item on the menu, Mishulovin encourages you to be adventurous and try their one-of-a-kind Yamato roll.
Think Chanukah: Order a menorah-shaped sushi platter to please your Chanukah crowd.
CEO: Moshe Lovy
Location: 3223 Quentin Rd, Marine Park, Brooklyn
Most popular items: Dry aged Delmonico steak, “Reserve Steak”
T-Fusion was Brooklyn’s first kosher steakhouse, and it’s still going strong with customers that have been regulars for years. Some things never change, such as the cool vibe, seasonal dishes, and fresh food, made to order. But T-Fusion also keeps its menu up to date with exciting additions. (Tip: try the appetizer charcuterie board.
“We pride ourselves on offering great parties, sheva brachot, and weddings,” adds Allison Kahn, manager and consultant. You can have your party in T-Fusion’s event space or bring in T-Fusion as caterers. New for 2020 are packaged platters ready for delivery to offices or homes.
“Satisfaction is when your customer walks out and stops to tell you how great everything was,” says Kahn, “Makes me smile all the time.”
Think Chanukah: Treat your family or office to a Chanukah steak dinner. Latkes will be served!
Owner: Sophia Cohen
Locations: Stores in Brooklyn, Lakewood and Deal (summer only). Delivery to Five Towns, Monsey, NYC
Most popular item: New ice cream log
Sophia Cohen wasn’t trying to create a cult hit. Back in 2012, she was just sharing her delicious homemade sorbets with neighbors and friends. Fast forward to 2019, and Urban Pops has thousands of devoted followers on Facebook and Instagram, an industrial kitchen in Flatbush, and more than 25 full-time employees.
Urban Pops is known for its fresh, fun, funky flavors like Limonana, S’mores, Sour cherry, Peanut butter cookie dough, Chocolate caramel pretzel and Baked apple crisp. That is a very, very partial list of the 80 flavors available! Products include full-size pops, mini-pops, ice-cream sandwiches, and ice-cream logs. All Urban Pops are dairy-free (thanks to coconut milk), yoshon, pat Yisroel, and made from scratch with quality ingredients.
Cohen has a lot to be proud of, but what gives her the most satisfaction? When people “appreciate those fringe flavors we make that aren’t for everyone but really fill a niche.”
Think Chanukah: With delivery in the NY/NJ area and shipping nationwide, you can send everyone on your list Urban Pops to suit their unique tastes. Or, for a special Chanukah twist, try the new Donut Ice Cream Sandwiches!
Are you hungry yet?
With online ordering so easy, you may not want to wait until Chanukah!
And here’s one more gift idea:
If you were impressed by KFWE 2019, you’ll want to take a look at what’s in store for KFWE 2020. Tickets are available online to gift yourself or others.
Tzvi Simcha Cohen
Royal Wine Corp