A five-star review takes much time and consideration to bestow, and Pier 26 is most deserving of that honor. Guided under the precise handcraftsmanship of Executive Chef Uri Elbaum, and run by restaurateur Benji Haimoff, Pier 26 easily grabs the spot for the newest must-visit upscale venue on the fine kosher dining scene.
Located right in the heart of Queens at the corner of Main Street and 69th Road in Kew Gardens Hills, the modern cuisine of Pier 26 is a fresh feel for a neighborhood accustomed to an array of cafés and fleshing options. The eatery scores a win with its superior handmade pasta dishes, as well as its delectable fresh fish selections.
I was invited to a pre-opening tasting, where I joined Yaakov Serle of the Queens Jewish Link and Bukharian Jewish Link along with his wife Atara. Together we enjoyed an array of starters, soups, salads, sides, mains, and of course, sweet treats for dessert. We began with a delectable tuna tower designed to perfection. Its focal point was a quail mango yolk filled with bulls’ blood. Next, we experienced the Provoletta, a dish where provolone is cooked on an open fire and paired with fire-roasted red pepper. Served in a mini cast iron, the dish once again showcased the menu’s variety and the hands-on experience that sets Pier 26 apart.
“As big foodies who used to travel outside of Queens to get the high-end food experience, I’m so excited to finally have a place of this caliber right here in Queens,” exclaimed influencer Victoria Zirkiev, who dined alongside her husband Shalom and singing sensation Tal Vaknin, who was celebrating his birthday. “Pier 26 is definitely one of the top dairy restaurants in New York. I’m sure many people from all over will travel to eat here!”
It was interesting to watch the many guests marvel as the various dishes came out, each one surpassing the previous. We chose the Korean Salmon Salad, which arrived with a sizeable salmon steak paired with watercress as its green accompaniment. Cream of mushroom was our choice of soup. Combined with five varieties of roasted mushrooms, it yielded a deliciously rich taste. We added to our mushroom fix with the roasted mushrooms for a side. The candied squash and marshmallow served with waffle triangles was another delight for our pleased palates.
A main course at Pier 26 is a fish lover’s sea of enchantment. From seabass to halibut, salmon, branzino, and red snapper, one certainly has a fisherman’s catch. For those less partial to seafood, Chef Elbaum has prepared just the right pasta substitutes: handmade pappardelle or stuffed agnolotti. Both options are blended perfectly and give diners an indulgence worth sharing with friends.
“Being involved in the kosher food world, Shifra and I always love seeing the evolution in real-time,” said Shlomo Klein of Fleishings Magazine. “Tableside dishes are having their time in the limelight, but having pasta prepared in front of you in a flaming wheel of parm is a first for the kosher scene, and the music and all the trimmings will definitely make Pier 26 a popular choice.” I could not have said it better myself.
Joined by a who’s-who of the kosher foodie Instagram world, I felt well included with the likes of Mr. and Mrs. Kosher Guru (Gabriel and Rebeka Boxer), Miriam Wallach of the Nachum Segal Network and her husband Oshrat Kim, Olivia of ChefsKissOnly, among many other Jewish social media names from near and far.
Visit Pier 26 for your next family or friend celebration, and don’t forget to come hungry, enjoy the upbeat ambiance, and snap a photo or two for your own WhatApp status or social media story.
By Shabsie Saphirstein