April 9, 2024
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April 9, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Best Bites From The Jewish Link’s Inaugural Wine Guide Grand Tasting

The first Jewish Link Wine Guide Grand Tasting was a hit. Factory 220 in Passaic was abuzz on Tuesday night, Feb. 27, with people tasting and talking for hours on end. With more than 250 wines and another hundred types of spirits, there was plenty to drink.

But what about those who wanted to taste things of the non-alcohol variety? The designated drivers? The expectant mothers? The resident food writers? Luckily, there was a buffet of food that would justify the purchasing of a ticket all on its own. Many local restaurants showed up to make sure that nobody was drinking on an empty stomach.

So while you have to wait another week for the list of wine awards, let me hand out some kudos to five delicious dishes that stood out during an evening of many options, listed in descending order:


  1. Cream of Chicken Soup: Heimish (Teaneck)
Cream of Chicken Soup

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a standard chicken soup as much as the next guy. But this cream of chicken soup really went over well on a cold and rainy winter night in February. With a slightly thicker broth, the soup still contained carrots and celery and came with some crunchy croutons to add to your cup. I could’ve drank a whole pint of the stuff.

Owner Joel Schiff brought a bunch of soups with him to the event. As somebody who has been to a bunch of these types of things, I can say that soup isn’t usually that common. But the Heimish soup table has me thinking that maybe it should be.

Heimish is a great spot for all your Shabbat and catering needs and has really become a household name in Bergen County in the handful of years since its opening. “We really wanted to show up to highlight our catering,” said Schiff. “We got great feedback from people who didn’t know we do all types of catering from Shabbat through weekday events.”


  1. Soslu Tavuk Sis: Bridge Turkish & Mediterranean Cuisine (Highland Park and Teaneck)
Soslu Tavuk Sis (Chicken Kebabs)

Sometimes people get scared of what they don’t know. Needless to say that for many kosher keeping Jews in New Jersey, Turkish food would certainly fall under that umbrella.

But instead of throwing people headfirst into the deep end of the pool, Sam Eriske (the owner of Bridge) thought it would be a good idea to let people get their feet wet a little bit. Most of the food that he brought to the event were things where many guests would be familiar with the dish’s Israeli cousins.

The highlight was the Soslu Tavuk Sis, or as you might call them, chicken kebabs. They were juicy, flavorful and worked perfectly as a first step into Turkish cuisine.

Bridge Turkish & Mediterranean Grill in Highland Park has been successful for years and Eiske just opened up another location on Cedar Lane in Teaneck in December. The restaurant is already garnering a lot of interest, but this event was able to get his food out there in front of hundreds of people who might not have had the chance to try it before.


  1. Wild Mushroom Udon – Estihana (Teaneck)
Wild Mushroom Udon

Next to Bridge you could find Estihana. And while Bridge is the new kid on the block, Estihana is … let’s say the experienced member of the bunch.

“After being open for 28 years, Estihana always wants to show up to an event like this to be represented,” said owner Yamin Dayan. “It’s like Coca-Cola advertising at the Super Bowl. Everyone knows what Coke is, but it’s still nice to see them there on the biggest stage.”

Estihana came with plenty of meat options, but their best thing was actually the Wild Mushroom Udon. If that seems hard to believe, get to Estihana and order some of this udon. The noodles are cooked to perfection so that you get that signature udon chewiness, the trio of mushrooms (shiitake, portabella and crimini) all add some serious umami notes, and the sauce takes the sweetness of the teriyaki component and blends it well with a small amount of garlic and heat.

Dayan thought these noodles would be the perfect thing to make as a vegetarian option and he was certainly right. The added bonus to the event for Estihana was the charitable proceeds going to help Israel. Dayan loved the cause and felt the need to step up if it would help the situation overseas.


  1. Lamb Curry: Yalla Teaneck (Teaneck)
Lamb Curry

Yalla is a known quantity in Teaneck. They have good shawarma and falafel. But what most people don’t know is that Yalla offers a lot more than that. Like Indian food.

Confused? Well, I can’t really blame you. You might not have heard, but Yalla has been doing Indian cuisine as much as once a week for a while. But it’s actually the catering where they want people to know they exist.

“Everything I brought here is something that I don’t sell in the restaurant,” said the owner and chef Jacob Goldberg.

Yalla’s website actually features a whole page on their Indian catering. Goldberg got into it because his wife knew about it and they had no place to buy it. With no other choice, he started making (and eventually) selling his own Indian food.

If everything on that menu is as good as the lamb, he should consider opening up an Indian restaurant. The rice worked as a nice base and was there to temper the flavor of the curry if that was something that you needed. The lamb/curry mixture was certainly spicy, but it wasn’t overpowering. It was still easy to get that unmistakable curry flavor that some people (like me) know and love.

Keep an eye out for Yalla’s next Indian night or consider them for your next catering job. How many shuls have Indian for kiddush?


  1. Pastrami-Crusted Tuna: Dolcetto (Chestnut Ridge, New York)
Pastrami-Crusted Tuna

As the only high-end restaurant that was represented, Dolcetto was sure to stick out. They certainly didn’t disappoint when they showed up with this amazing tuna.

Seared ahi tuna with a house pastrami rub was served in a small pool of unagi sauce with a dollop of garlic aioli on top. Everything about this dish was perfect. The rub had a great subtle spicy taste, the sear gave the tuna great texture, the color was super appetizing, the unagi sauce was sweet and savory, and the garlic aioli was a creamy finishing touch on everything.

Sendy Green, Dolcettto’s owner, thought that The Jewish Link needed fancy wine to pair with fancy food. “At Dolcetto, we believe that good food pairs perfectly with the finest wines,” Green said. “If there’s a wine show with the finest wines, it’s only right to have our food there as well.”

Located just over the New York border, Dolcetto has gained a great reputation for not only its delicious food, but top of the line ambiance as well. A small, beautiful location helps Dolcetto maintain the allure of an intimate place to go out to eat away from the city where you can still get a decidedly high end experience.

If you missed them at this show, go find them in Chestnut Ridge.

Nati Burnside is a freelance writer living in Fair Lawn and a man of many interests. He can be reached at [email protected].

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