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By: Elan Kornblum, A.k.a. “the Restaurant Guy”
As kosher diners we often look closely at all aspects of the restaurant experience.
We want the whole package, and that includes getting the best of everything.
We examine the service, rate dishes against all the ones we have ever tasted, and anticipate enjoying the atmosphere of the restaurant. In recent years we have come to expect another level of the experience: a great kosher wine list. If you look at kosher wines and just think of the sickly sweet, thick wines typically reserved for Kiddush, you are in for a treat. More and more restaurants are offering curated wine lists, complete with wines from America, Israel, and all over the world.
Due to the high level of care that is taken in producing wines that are kosher, and specifically “mevushal,” meaning that the wine has been effectively “cooked,” making it kosher even if touched by a non-Jew, many higher quality options used to not be readily available. If they were available, the heating process which basically boiled the wine altered the subtle flavors and tannins within the bottle. In recent years, with advancements in technology, sophisticated kosher wines are popping up at restaurants all over the country. This advanced technology refers to the process of “flash pasteurization” which heats the wine quickly enough so that it does not lose the unique flavors and nuances contained within the wine. Bottles are heated rapidly and then brought down to room temperature almost immediately. Once the wine has gone through the pasteurization process, it is considered mevushal. This makes it the ideal choice for restaurants as their waiters need not be Jewish to handle, uncork, and serve the wine.
Here at Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine, we have seen that kosher diners are now more interested in exploring not only different types of wines, but also wines from different regions. They want to know how each wine pairs with the dishes they will be eating. Restaurants like Marani Georgian Restaurant in Queens have taken note and have started to offer exclusive tasting menu events where each dish is paired with a complimenting wine. Marani, after all, means “wine cellar” in Georgian.
High-end restaurants likeReserve Cut in Manhattan have taken note as well. The restaurant has a full wine gallery filled with a growing collection of mevushal wines. The gallery can accommodate up to 16 guests for a truly extraordinary dining experience. The gallery can be viewed when walking through the restaurant to the dining room, and is often the backdrop in diners’ photos, as it is truly spectacular. In December Reserve Cut offered an exclusive Wagyu Beef tasting where each dish was paired with the finest wines from around the world, specially curated by their top sommelier.
There is a new trend for restaurants to focus not only on their food, but also their wine bar. Places like Bedford Kitchen & Wine Bar or Basil Pizza & Wine Bar display a specially selected list of wines which are meant to be paired with the food. At Basil in Crown Heights diners are given an iPad with information on all of the wines they offer, including the region where they are from, the flavor profile, and which dishes they pair well with. The relatively new Bedford Kitchen offers a worldly wine list including red and white wine fusions and even bubbly wines like Prosecco and the trending rosé.
Watch out for kosher wine events coming up in the future such as
the Kosher Food and Wine Festival which takes place annually in
New York, Los Angeles, and Florida.
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Elan Kornblum, a.k.a “The Restaurant Guy” is the publisher of Great Kosher Restaurants International Magazine and its accompanying website,
www.GKRM.net. The 2015 edition, available on www.GreatKosherDeals.com,
has 256 glossy pages and provides a visual description with menus to over
200 top kosher restaurants alongside 400 stunning high resolution color photos. Kornblum’s top ranked website, award winning newsletter, comprehensive app, and hugely popular Facebook Foodies page makes sure everyone is up to date on the latest restaurant news. Hannah Levy is head of Social Media and Marketing at Great Kosher Restaurants. Follow @GreatKosherRestaurants on Instagram for drool worthy kosher food pictures.