May 11, 2015

Sushi is no Longer a New Kosher Food; it’s a Staple

New York - For some time, kosher enthusiasts would point to sushi as evidence that the kosher industry has moved well beyond its traditional foods. In fact, it was the best proof that the kosher palate has moved away from being largely gefilte fish, chopped liver and stuffed cabbage. Simply put, sushi is everywhere in kosher nowadays! The sushi industry has grown to what one expert estimated as well over $30 million in annual sales. But the truth is, like many other authentic foods, the sushi we know is not the authentic sushi at all. Authentic Japanese sushi is made with seaweed, rice, and fish. Today’s sushi has been Americanized in so many ways. We added fruits, vegetables and so many additions in the roll to make it more appealing to our culture.

Victoria Kohen, Kitchen Manager at Michael Schick Catering, says, “There is not an event that we do that doesn’t incorporate sushi in the menu.” Sushi has become so popular that restaurants, supermarkets and caterers hire Japanese chefs with their traditional chef’s garb to prove the authenticity of the fare. “Sushi needs a special talent that not everyone has perfected,” says Victoria. “When catering events, we make sure to get that talent to give customers the sushi they are looking for,” she adds. Kohen emphasizes that there needs to be a trust in the chef that can really bring out his talent in his sushi. Additionally, she notes, “customers are not only looking at adding sushi to pass around at hors devours, but want to incorporate it into the meal. Most upscale and even regular events added sushi bars, having a sushi chef make it for them on the spot. “

Sushi bars have also been taking hold in many restaurants and supermarkets. They have their own section, offering sushi as a side dish or as a beautifully decorated main course. Stores want to keep up with what’s trending and what customers are looking for. They make sure a Sushi Chef, yes a real Sushi Chef, is on premise so that he can cater to the customers’ needs on the spot. Sushi Tokyo’s Restaurant owners, Chaim Lipschitz and Shneuer Harel saw the market opportunity and decided they would be the first to pursue the Kosher Sushi business in the tri-state area. They started with one small store in Brooklyn, and now have expanded to Five Towns, Flushing, and opened their 2nd restaurant in Brooklyn.  It takes time to develop a menu that caters to each individual’s taste buds, but with 142 options on the menu, sushi lovers are sure they will find the perfect role they are looking for.

Elan Kornblum, "The Restaurant Guy," Publisher of the Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine

( says sushi’s popularity is due to its simplicity. “Since it's fish and parve and you really don't need much space for a sushi bar, and not even a kitchen, it is fairly easy to offer sushi.” He believes that despite being around for two decades, sushi really took off in 2005 and “the level of sushi can be just as high in kosher as in non-kosher. He pointed to Brooklyn’s Day 5 Sushi, whose sushi chef comes from Blue Ribbon or Reserve Cut in Manhattan serving “some of the best fish you'll find on the market.”