This year’s Kosher Food & Wine Experience event featured the best that the kosher restaurant and wine industry has to offer, and a who’s who of the kosher foodie world came out to play. If you could spot them through the immensely populated crowds, you could rub elbows with the likes of the Aussie chef herself, Naomi Nachman; share a tasting table and take a picture with Levana Kirschenbaum and Elan Kornblum; and discuss traveling the world and finding kosher food while eating sorbet with Dani Klein from YeahThatsKosher.com. February 9 was definitely a night of foodie moments not to be forgotten.
Making our way through the large auditorium at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan, we were struck with a sensory overload of visually beautiful dishes and aromas of delectable cuisines; we couldn’t help but feel we were at a kosher version of a Top Chef event. One thing was for sure: everyone at this event, whether in front of or behind those tables, had a strong passion for kosher cuisine. Anytime we overheard a fellow attendee say something along the lines of “that was the best thing I had tonight,” we immediately sprang on them to find out what it was to make sure we did not miss it!
Some of our more memorable moments were visits to ETC Steakhouse (Teaneck, NJ) where they offered cured chamomile rib-eye with potato bacon mousse with a lotus root chip. The rib-eye was soft and tender, the mousse was outstanding, and the chip was perfectly crisp. Glatt A-La-Carte (Boro Park) had a wonderful gnocchi with braised beef in a red-wine sauce. Chagall Bistro (Park Slope) served an outstanding beef tartare with potato dentelle—delicious flavor, perfectly executed.
Grow & Behold delivers pasteurized meats raised on small family farms. They had delicious artisanal sausages, “bacon” burgers, and navel pastrami. Our favorite was the mild spicy chorizo. One of my most favorite dishes of the night was the hot lamb bacon from T‑Fusion Steakhouse (Marine Park, Brooklyn). It was an epic bite of food: crispy on the outside, tender and just the right amount of fattiness on the inside, with a sweet sauce. We could have eaten more than our two servings if we hadn’t eaten as much as we had that night.
Gemstone Catering’s booth was definitely the star of the night. It had the most beautiful house-smoked charcuterie you have ever seen, done to perfection, sliced in front of you, smoky and tender and perfectly salty. They offered other perfect little bites like smoked egg pâté with crispy lambcetta “lardon” and house-made Bartenura balsamic ketchup served on a New York everything bagel crostini that can only be described as perfection. The balance of creamy and salty and crunchy in one bite was out of this world. Another branch of Gemstone, Wandering Que, had a wonderful 18-hour barrel-and-cherrywood-smoked barbecue angus beef brisket that was not to be missed.
If you haven’t been to the KFWE before, it is an exciting event to taste and see a little bit of what is out there in the world of kosher food and wine all in one night—if you are up for the challenge of crowd-surfing and working a bit to get to your little bite. If you find that one morsel of heaven that will introduce you to a restaurant you might not have known about, then it might be well worth the experience. v
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