Somers Point, N.J. — Ira Trocki, a plastic surgeon with offices in nearby Northfield, had a simple explanation for why he decided to open an upscale Glatt Kosher restaurant in the Tavern on the Bay Resort.
“My wife (Shari) and I, who keep kosher and are modern Orthodox Jews, were looking for a place to go out and have a fine-dining experience that was kosher. We like to do that, and there wasn’t anything like it in the immediate area. We had to drive to Lakewood or New York.
“So, we decided to create such a spot in our area.’’
Having opened Nov. 30, Shari’s Bistro, in the 1884 Victorian Mansion that makes up the Tavern on the Bay Resort — which Trocki owns — is serving dishes such as steak au poivre, veal marsala and duck a l’orange, all strictly kosher. The restaurant is open 4-10 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.
Although a couple other sit-down eateries exist, Shari’s is the lone upscale glatt kosher dining spot in the Atlantic City area, and, with its suites on the second and third floor, Tavern on the Bay is one of a select small group of fully kosher bed and breakfasts in the United States.
“We’re looking forward to having guests stay with us,’’ Trocki said. “The rooms are Victorian in style.”
Trocki is taking no chances in his restaurant. Shari’s Bistro has its own Orthodox mashgiach on the premises at all times, in addition to the kashrut certification of Rabbi Aaron Lankry of Monsey, N.Y., for its meats. All other products are certified by either the Orthodox Union, Star K or other Orthodox kashrut organizations.
All breads are pas yisroel, and all the wines are mevushal. All the liquors are approved by CRC, Star K or O.U.
“I wanted to make sure we covered all the bases,’’ Trocki said. “I want our diners to totally enjoy their experience, have no dietary concerns, with delicious food, excellent service and marvelous views of the bay.
“It’s an exceptional combination.’’
Trocki, who also has interests in real estate and building and selling yachts, served as Mike Tyson’s cut man in his corner throughout the fighter’s career.
“Buster Douglas (Feb. 11, 1990) the Ear Bite with Evander Holyfield (June 28, 1997), I was there for all of it,’’ Trocki said.
He previously had a kosher restaurant — Shari’s Kosher in the Sheraton Atlantic City West Hotel in Pleasantville — that he closed several years ago.
He much prefers the Tavern on the Bay location.
“My former restaurant was in a hotel in a room,’’ said Trocki. “It was a closed-in kind of feeling like a lot of restaurants are. I feel the whole atmosphere, with us right on the marina and bay are important.
“You actually dine over the water. You couldn’t build a building like this today.’’
Trocki assured diners who require glatt kosher food have been taken care of, but he and his people are not marketing Shari’s Bistro exclusively to those who keep kosher.
“The overall quality is what we’re offering,’’ he said. ‘’We feel any person, Jewish or not, will enjoy coming to Shari’s. Remember the old ad, ‘You don’t have to be Jewish to Love Levy’s Real Jewish Rye?’ You don’t have to be Jewish — or kosher — to love Shari’s.
“We know our food will attract any upscale diner. You want a top-grade, two-inch steak, we have it. It’s the best. It just happens to be strictly kosher.
‘’We also have pick-up and will deliver wherever someone wants us to in the general area — hotels, to casinos, to anybody’s home,’’ Trocki said. “We’ll cater any affair, including Bar Mitzvahs, weddings and Shabbat meals.’’
A new website launched last week, with ads planned in several regional newspapers. A social media campaign is also in the works.
“We wanted to open now to get everything ready for the spring and summer season,’’ said Shari’s Food and Beverage Manager Cale Williams. “So far, we’ve gotten a lot of good reaction. I’ve worked with Ira for 25 years and am used to how it goes here.
“Cale probably knows the Kashrut Laws better than anyone,’’ said Trocki with a chuckle.
Among the appetizers are smoked salmon, bruschetta Italiano, steak lollipops and mini combo sliders. There is a variety of soups and salads. Prime rib and filet mignon are examples of the meat entrees, with Dover sole and Okinawa ahi tuna part of the seafood offerings.
“I would recommend any of our steaks, especially the au poivre and the filet,’’ Williams said.
Vegetarian options are also available. A complete menu is available online at sharisbistro.com.
Jed Weisberger is a freelance writer.