Public officials, Great Neck Chamber of Commerce leaders and local foodies gathered at Leah’s Bistro on Wednesday afternoon, as Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender presided over the kosher eatery’s ribbon cutting ceremony.
The restaurant specializes in Jewish cuisine with a global flair, said owner Alex Polack, whose daughter Leah will assume management of the bistro after finishing her studies at college.
“It’s a little bit for everybody,” said Polack, describing a range of dishes from Ashkenizic, Sephardic and Persian Jewish traditions.
The restaurant’s offerings range from burgers and lunch specials to catered sabbath meals, prepared by a chef who Polack said had worked in the best hotels in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Leah’s Bistro opened its doors in mid April, and has already attracted local fans.
Tricia Moslin of Great Neck said Leah’s had become a part of her weekly routine.
“I come here every Friday to pick up a spinach kugel for Shabbos,” Moslin said.
And Moslin’s appreciation of the restaurant runs in the family – her mother, Gladys, is another loyal customer.
“Their burgers are the best in town,” Gladys Moslin said.
The burgers were on display at Wednesday’s ribbon cutting, including a particularly decadent variety covered in sliced pastrami.
Public officials, including Celender, Village of Great Neck Trustee Mark Birnbaum and Great Neck Chamber of Commerce President Hooshang Nematzadeh, mingled amid sample foods including stuffed knishes, salads and kasha varnishkes – a traditional European Jewish buckwheat-and-pasta dish.
Polack, who immigrated the U.S. from the Ukraine and lives on Staten Island, said that the Middle Neck Road location – the former site of Dougies BBQ – was an ideal location to set up his daughter’s business.
“I just found a nice place over here,” Polack said.
Polack emphasized that both the ownership and menu were completely changed from Dougies, which Celender said closed after being met with a cool reception by residents who desired healthier eating options.
“People are trying to eat more healthy, be more health conscious,” Celender said.
Leah’s Bistro is different, according to Polack, who touted his restaurant’s daily specials and attention to global Jewish cuisine.
“It’s something that nobody else has,” Polack said.