There are many places to have a meal in the Five Towns but to truly have a dining experience a must go-to is 46 Locust. Seaview Caterers at Temple Beth El synagogue in Cedarhurst carved out a restaurant with both inside seating, up to 50 percent of capacity of a 500-person catering hall and 38 outdoor seats.
The family owned catering company established by Jack Hochman in the 1960s, now run by daughter Gayle Wilk, along with her husband Bob, and Russell Swerdloff, another son-in-law, have applied their big party skills to the more intimate restaurant setting since Sept. 7.
A menu that features six appetizers (starters); 11 entrees, including two special combo plates; four kids’ selections and a quartet of desserts was created. Beverages include soda, water, coffee and tea. Alcohol is available. The service is attentive and helpful.
Starting with the sesame-seared tuna with wasabi ginger glaze served over Asian noodles from the first to the last bite this starter was tasty and tangy. After digging into this appetizer you can understand why Bob Wilk said, “We are hitting grand slams.”
Those huge hits began in Brooklyn for Hochman and his wife, Paula (now deceased), at the Seaview Jewish Center in Brooklyn, then at the Manhattan Jewish Center in Brooklyn for 25 years and has continued for the past 20 years at Temple Beth El.
Large parties are not permitted under the current state social distancing mandates. Smaller gatherings continue and Swerdloff said the feedback is positive. “I asked a guest what she thought and she said, ‘it’s not great, it’s unbelievable.’”
Not hyperbole. Within minutes of surveying the outdoor portion of the restaurant Gayle saw that water glasses were needed at a few tables. The attention to detail is appreciated.
Choosing the half roasted chicken the surprise was not that the chicken, a huge portion, was excellent with rosemary and honey glaze, but that the accompanying heirloom carrot mouse (pureed) was so good. The side dish of roasted red bliss potatoes was a perfect partner to the meal.
Entering the restaurant business at the height of a pandemic could be seen as a suicide mission. A survey by the New York State Restaurant Association of 1,042 eateries statewide found that 64 percent are likely to close by the end of the year without an additional coronavirus bailout.
Swerdloff said that 46 Locust has an ace up its serving sleeve. “We are glatt kosher and have more seating than most of the kosher restaurants in the Five Towns,” he said. The Vaad of Flatbush supervises Seaview Caterers.
Finishing up my entrée I saved room for dessert and was I glad. Though Bob and Russell were stumping for the warm cinnabon, I picked the chocolate molten lava cake and was not disappointed. The combination of warm chocolate, cool whipped cream and cold vanilla ice cream made for a great ending.
How is all this done? Bob, who served in the Marines as a younger man, said it is all about working together from the kitchen lead by chef Bryan Zembreski to the wait staff. “It’s a team effort,” he said.
46 Locust is at 46 Locust Ave. in Cedarhurst. Reservations suggested. Open Sunday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m. Call (516) 295-3335 or go to seaviewcaterers.com/46-locust.