Israeli noshery Sherry Herring opens in New York – without “no Sherry or herring”
New York Jewish Week via JTA – Imagine arriving at Pastrami Queen but not finding any pastrami, or showing up at Holy Schnitzel to find his signature Breaded Chicken Cutlet off the menu.
To quote Tevye, sounds crazy, right? But that’s exactly what will happen if you visit Sherry Herring, the Israeli restaurant that recently opened on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. This is the first branch of the famous Tel Aviv port sandwich shop, famous for – you guessed it – its herring sandwiches.
But for now, to quote Sherry Ansky, the driving force behind Sherry Herring, the New York outpost has “neither Sherry nor herring.”
That’s because Ansky is still waiting for his travel documents to enter the United States – and the herring is still aging at a Dutch processor, patiently absorbing the brine and flavors that must be approved by Ansky.
Ansky is a culinary celebrity in Israel, where she has written six cookbooks (one of which has been translated into English). For decades she was a food columnist for the daily Maariv. But in 2011, she hit a writer’s block. It was around this time that her daughter, Michal Ansky, herself a food journalist, opened the Tel Aviv Port Farmer’s Market, which quickly became a draw for tourists, foodies and hipsters. Sherry Ansky decided to create a sandwich shop there with herring.
Ansky has a long-standing love affair with herring, the pickled or pickled fish which is a staple in Ashkenazi cuisine. When she was 6 years old, she went to synagogue with her father.
“Someone made a kiddush [after service meal] and brought me a plate full of lekach [honey cake], kugel and lots of herring, ”she told The Jewish Week, ticking off a laundry list of traditional Ashkenazi foods. “I ate one bite, then another, until I was done. I believe there is a time when you understand the power of candy. For me, it happened with the herring.
Ansky’s store, offering sandwiches with herring and other fish, was an immediate success. Shortly after opening the sandwich bar, she entered the farmers market to find a line snaking through and out the door.
“I passed out and ran away,” she recalls. “I told people to go away! I can not do it.
Even those who aren’t normally herring fans can find it hard not to get carried away by Ansky’s herring sandwich. It is a carefully constructed job consisting of a fresh baguette, cut in half and brushed with sour cream and French butter, seasoned with chili, seeds and tomato juice, onions and green onions, and completed by pickled herring.
Culinary celebrity Phil Rosenthal visited the Tel Aviv port for his Netflix show “Somebody Feed Phil” and said Ansky’s herring sandwich was “one of the best sandwiches I have ever had in my stupid life. “.
“The taste is precise,” Ansky said. “At the end of the day, I feel like I’ve worked on this sandwich my entire life, until the moment I needed it.”
During the pandemic, Ansky sent his son-in-law and business partner, Eyal Amir, to New York City to search for a location for the first of what they hope will be several Sherry Herring stores. They chose the Upper West Side, said Amir, “because it’s a Jewish quarter where our market penetration will be easiest.” Their restaurant, Amir said, builds on the culture of mouthwatering stores in New York, including Russ & Daughters on the Lower East Side, and Barney Greengrass within a mile of Sherry Herring’s new location.
Like the Tel Aviv sandwich shop, the Manhattan boutique offers a choice of smoked fish sandwiches: tuna from a Hamptons smokehouse, wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, and mackerel, according to Amir, from the “wild offshore waters.” from Spain “.
So why not herring? Because there’s the herring and then there’s Sherry’s herring. During his scouting activities, Amir brought back samples of all the herring he could find in New York’s five boroughs. None met the approval of the demanding Ansky Palace. So she flew to the Netherlands and worked with a fishery there to select the best herring – creamy with a soft bite – and create the brine that would give it the flavor she was looking for.
“We kept experimenting until we hit the right flavor in July,” Amir said. Then they had to submit the recipe and the process to the FDA for approval. They started production last month. But herring, Amir said, “takes 11 weeks in our unique brine to get the flavor, colors and aroma we want.”
The herring will therefore arrive, in a first shipment of 15,000 nets, in December. Will this be enough? That, Amir said, “depends on how much New Yorkers love him.”
Sherry Herring is located at 245 W. 72nd St., between West End Avenue and Broadway.