Schnitzel and Sushi Collide at New Sunset Park Kosher Dining Spot

By Alan Neuhauser on November 14, 2012 8:31am 

SUNSET PARK — Schnitzel, shawarma and sushi are sharing kitchen real estate at a popular new kosher restaurant in Sunset Park.

Schnitzel Spot, located at the corner of 40th Street and Third Avenue, is attracting hundreds of customers each day who can't decide between a schnitzel sandwich (breaded chicken, tomatoes, lettuce and pickles on a hero; $8.99), Kufte Kebab (lamb and herbs; $7.99) or Sakura Roll (spicy tuna, avocado, white tuna and salmon; $10.49).

"Sushi today is everywhere," shrugged owner David Hershkowitz, 33, who opened a kosher sushi restaurant called Sushi Spot in Crown Heights last year.

"We were in the sushi business, we knew we had a good product, so we brought sushi over here,"

Diners were similarly unfazed. At one table near the door late last month, Williamsburg resident Zalmen Pollak, 29, dipped an oversize chicken wrap in chulent, or a spicy stew, while his friend, Zalmen Zarchar, 27, dug into three trays of sushi.

Kashrut, or Jewish dietary laws, prohibit shellfish and eel, so kosher sushi is limited to fish that "have fins and scales," Hershkowitz explained, namely salmon, tuna, white tuna and yellowtail. But from those ingredients alone, the restaurant offers a menu of 74 sushi rolls, plus edamame, crispy rice and other appetizers.

The restaurant was closed the Monday and Tuesday that Hurricane Sandy battered New York City, but it reopened the next day without any damage or power outages. Since then — and every week since Schnitzel Spot opened in August — Hershkowitz has been putting-in 15-hour days, making sure to visit both Sushi Spot and Schnitzel Spot every day.

"You got to make it. You got to survive," he said, adding that the job does offer a level of instant gratification. "You can see your bread at the end of the day. You see your results. You see satisfied customers."

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