By COLlive reporter
Photos: Levi Percia
Take one of Manhattan’s most spectacular venues with a breathtaking view of the Hudson River, serve a delectable array of wine and food and what have you got?
The 8th annual Kosher Food & Wine Experience (or KFWE) at Pier Sixty – Chelsea Piers in New York City, an all things-kosher destination for wine lovers and foodies.
And if that is not enough of a draw for a $125 entrance fee, the Royal Wine Corp. docked luxury yacht The Hornblower Hybrid nearby, featuring a complete selection of dessert wines and an expanded mixology bar.
Over 1,000 people, mostly frum, mingled over delectable meats, sushi and wines, which was delicious, and plentiful.
Prime Grill’s exhibit was definitely a popular spot throughout the evening, the staff of sous chefs could barely keep up with the eager crowd who kept snapping up their delectable hors d’oeuvres as soon as they put them out.
Executive Chef David Kolotkin proudly showed his array of items, such as fried chicken waffle nuggets with maple syrup aioli, crackling quinoa cakes with salami joes, Katsu maki sushi rolls and barbecued short rib sliders.
He says he loves every item on the menu of his world famous upscale Manhattan restaurant, but he did wish more people would take his advice on how their steak is prepared.
“I wish more people would order their steak medium-rare,” he said. “The usual Jewish customer will order well-done. But when I suggest they take it medium-rare, which preserves the flavor, they always tell me – this is how I’m going to eat it from now on. They love it.”
Wolf and Lamb, a premier steakhouse with branches in Midtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, offered a delicious pastrami wrap with apricot marinated in a simple syrup of rosemary ginger and pineapple chutney inside.
And for some Japanese, people headed to two Israelis – Chaim Lifshitz and Shneur Harrel, owners of Sushi Tokyo. They said they want to feed the sushi cravings of “every sushi lover in the kosher market – and beyond.”
Besides for an endless supply of sushi throughout the evening, Sushi Tokyo offered an incredible cocktail appetizer of black wild rice, black pepper encrusted tuna, crispy onions and a special homemade sauce, just the right amount of spicy.
Exhibiting from Crown Heights was Executive Chef Jose Edgardo Soto of Basil Pizza & Wine Bar offering a refreshing chilled cantaloupe soup shooter with house sea salt and basil oil.
Attendee Ari Ginian, a wine enthusiast from Kew Gardens Hills, Queens, said, “this year was the best show of all the years. The food was outstanding, and the new wines are amazing.”
An interesting collaboration was a special line of fruit-flavored and lush-textured wine labeled Cuvée Chabad, the result of a partnership between Chabad of Napa Valley and Covenant Wines in California.
“Hashem sent me 50 lbs of grapes, and I made one case of wine,” Shliach Rabbi Elchonon Tenenbaum says about the beginning. “The people at Covenant tasted it and were amazed at how delicious it was. They offered to collaborate with us.”
Noting that 101 cases sold last year alone, Tenenbaum told COLlive that “what’s special about our wine is it’s created especially for us, and at the same time raises funds for Chabad – you can’t get better than that.”
Herzog’s winemaker Joe Hurliman, who sports a leather jacket because he’s a “rock star winemaker,” presented the new 2011 Single Vineyard – Cabernet Sauvignon, Basin Vineyard wine. “I’m bringing the non-kosher wine experience to the kosher consumer,” he commented.
(For a full list of the wines presented at KFWE 2014 click here)
“This event is a culmination of everything great that has happened in Kosher wine in many years,” said Yochi Herzog of Herzog wines. “The room is full of people who are excited about new wines, as consumers are becoming more educated, and want to understand what’s behind all the fine wines available today.”