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Kosher Caterers- who to use?

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I'm planning a wedding for my daughter and have been researching sites and caterers. I've called several caterers and find Foremost ($100-$120) to be a lot more expensive than Prestige ($75). I'm still waiting to hear from Main Event. Has anyone used any of these caterers or been to affairs they've catered at? I'm curious to know why there is such a difference in price?

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  1. These all have fine reputations. You should also consider Mauzone.

    1. I haven't personally experience any of those caterers but have heard very good things from others about all of them....I believe Foremost and Prestige are the ones that the big hotels use in NYC (the pierre etc).....I wish I had a momzilla helping me plan my wedding...out of curiousity (and desperation) have you selected a venue for yor daughters wedding? I am having a hard time finding a nice place and a kosher caterer that will meet my budget and I'd prefer to stay in Manhattan....good luck with your caterer search and any advice you can offer me would be very much appreciated!!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: msappho

        i got married a four years ago back at the Grand Prospect hall which is very close to Manhattan and is beautiful. They allow you to bring in your own kosher caterer. I picked Meisners and whole thing (caterer and hall) was 70 a head. I think food wise Meisner's is better than prestige and you get a much better value

      2. I used Prestige for my wedding ~3 years ago. The food was really amazing. The person we dealt with was a little difficult, but worth it. I believe it was about $100/person at the time with all the bells and whistles.

        1. I assume that you are in the NYC area. It might be more helpful if you were a bit more specific about your intended party location and needs. Do you have a budget? Do you have a rough idea of the number of guests you may be having? Do you already have a hall booked and are therefore looking only for a caterer? Are you considering a temple reception, if you can find one at an approachable price?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Shayna Madel

            Shayna Madel....I posted elsewhere asking for help with my wedding but didn't get a specific enough repsonse...we need kosher catered, 200ppl, in manhattan but for a price that won't bankrupt us...obvious plan is to find a very nice venue that will let us bring in a moderately priced (but delicious) kosher caterer....i really like the lighthouse at chelsea piers, or the st regis, tribeca rooftop etc, but i don't know about the pricing of those and think they may be a bit beyond our reach....we can't spend more than $225 per person max on food and cost of venue....we would like to have our ceremony at the reception site....i know it would be much easier if we were willing to go to brooklyn *sigh* if you have any tips please pass them along

            1. re: msappho

              In regard to another post (someone looking for what appeared to be a bar/bat mitzvah reception, kids only), I mentioned a site that might have helpful info/posters who might have a suggestion, but it has been deleted twice. Therefore, I will not mention it here, but suffice it to say, I will ask my sister, who is a regular contributor to that board, if she or anyone she knows, has any info about these caterers. My sister also has some observant colleagues who also could be sources. I will pass along the info that I get. Apparently her temple used Main Event for catering a temple anniversary dinner a few years ago. She does not remember the details but did not have an immediately negative reaction, so that's a good sign. Don't know if it means anything, but apparently Prestige delivers her father-in-law's "meals on wheels."

              As far as what makes the difference between/among caterers, here are some thoughts and I am sure there are a lot more that people could point out:
              --reputation - some just have the nerve to charge more "because they can"
              --whether or not alcohol is included
              --whether or not there is a coctail hour and how extensive it is, whether there are carving stations, whether passed appetizers, what is served
              --what the main course choices are, how they are presented and quantity served
              --how dessert is served--is there a viennese table (I personally do not like them, as people tend to "rush" them like it's the last food on earth), or rolling dessert carts, or plated desserts
              --ratio of servers to guests
              --whether they or the venue or someone else is providing the linens and the elaborateness of the linens
              --time of the year and day of the week

              My friend's son was just bar mitzvahed at Temple Judea in Massapequa, I think at under $75 a head. It was passable, but not stupendous. I think it was a reasonable price for Kosher these days. I was unfortunately spoiled by having been to prior family functions at north shore Long Island temples a number of years ago, also with Kosher catering (now $$$) and quite recently another Long Island temple with "Kosher-style" catering (under $100/head), all of which were phenomenal, particularly as catered event food tends to be not so great. I'm thinking that the number you are throwing out there may possibly be doable, but I am not a Manhattanite, so I could be dead wrong. I hope not for your sake. Good luck.

              1. re: Shayna Madel

                My sister hasn't gotten any info yet, but I read somewhere that Mauzone does off-site catering. Their site lists a plethora of places where they claim to have done catering jobs, primarily on Long Island, but some in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

          2. Have eaten food from Prestige (once) and Main Event (once). Both very tasty, Main Event tastier.

            1. I don't know much about this subject, but I know that there are some lovely looking event halls that host events for the Conservative/ Orthodox population. They are located in the Bedford Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Not Manh proper, but right over the bridge.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Tay

                I have not had a good experience with Prestige. Mrs. Jeterfan and I were served frozen lettuce as part of our salad at a simcha. We used Main Event for a catered party and we were very impressed. We have also attended simchas catered by Celebration (Mauzone) and were very satisfied. Sharmel is less expensive, but their food is nothing to write home about. We also liked Eden Palace in Williamsburg.

                1. re: jeterfan

                  Chap a Nosh in Cedarhurst also does good catering.

                2. re: Tay

                  Be careful with places in Williamsburg. Prices may be good and catering tasty and tasteful, but many require separate seating and will not allow ANY mixed seating. This does not sit well with everyone.

                3. Below is a copy of an e-mail I just received from my sister. Unfortunately, the person who responded to her post didn't mention any info as to cost or exactly what was included.

                  Sister: "I know this girl. Sh is pretty accurate. I'd go with main Event of the 2 choices, though."

                  Friend of sister: "We used Main Event, as did a few of our friends. Their food was amazing! Prestige Caterers is located at Sons of Israel and Great Neck Synagogue. I haven't been to either location in probably 20 years, but it's still owned by the same people and the food used to be terrific."

                  Good luck. If I come up with any more information, I shall pass it along.

                  1. I have an appointment with Main Event in two weeks. Foremost is too expensive and I wasn't too happy with the various people I spoke to at Prestige. Some of the venues I am considering are the Newark Club, Glenpointe Marriott in Teaneck, and the Liberty House in Jersey City. There are lots of nice venues in NY but most are too small for the 270 people we are expecting. As far as venues with in house caterers I am also going to check out Northern Valley Affairs the caterer at Temple Emanu-el in Closter (the temple charges a site fee separate from the caterer) and Waters Edge in Queens. They are Somerstein Caterers from Lawrence LI. I expect to pay about $245pp for a Sat night or around $200pp for Sun inclusive of food and venue. If you're looking in Manhattan ask about valet parking. Some places charge a ceremony fee which can be as high as $1500. Lucky for me the in laws are helping out a bit. You don't really know what things will cost until you start researching. There are several bride magazines that list venues in a chart so you can see who allows kosher catering and other handy info. My daughter will take over from here. She was a little overwhelmed with the process but has direction now.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: momzilla2

                      The numbers you are quoting unfortunately sound on target. One of my sisters had a Long Island temple wedding on a Saturday night in February, 2006 and paid about $95 a head for Kosher style. My other sister got married in a temple wedding on a Saturday night in January, 1990 and paid $85 a head for Kosher. She was told that if it were a Sunday, it would have been $10 less and if in peak season, would have been $135 a head, so the price was about 1 1/2 times more for peak season. So figuring inflation, the numbers you are being quoted are not shocking. Obscene, but not shocking.

                      I went to a dinner at Water's Edge several years ago. Did not have kosher food, but the view of Manhattan was incredible and the food was nicely presented and tasted pretty good. I really loved seeing the skyline by day and evening.

                      The temple where my sister got married (same one where other sister's son's bar mitzvah was held 4 months earlier) did not charge a fee for use of the sanctuary, but there was a $600 charge for the rabbi and if you did not use the temple's rabbi, I think they charged a sanctuary fee.

                      Even if not in Manhattan, some places charge for valet parking. And, also, they all seem to add on a gratuity in addition to the tax. The percentages go from 12% up to 18%. So if a place is only a few dollars more per head on the catering venue, but charges 12% gratuity, it could be less expensive, long run, to go with that venue than one charging a few dollars less, but an 18% gratuity. Then you still end up tipping the maitre 'd, as the gratuity is for the staff.

                      If you are looking in New Jersey, I can tell you that my niece had her bat mitzvah reception at the Rockleigh Country Club, in Rockleigh, apparently adjoining Rockland County. I really liked the place and the food was incredible, but not Kosher. Their site says they do Kosher on-site and Glatt Kosher is provided through an outside caterer. I generally prefer food cooked on-site, as it is probably fresher and not cooked, then re-heated.

                      Good luck with your planning. To some extent, you have to go with your gut. Just hope it is cast iron after you deal with the cost of the florist, potential upcharges for overlays on the table linens, photographer, video and shopping for the wedding dress...

                    2. I'm seriously considering Water's Edge in Long Island City. Somerstein Caterers is the proprietor and does the kosher catering. They used to cater at Temple Israel in Lawrence, LI. Has anyone used them in Lawrence or at the Water's Edge? Or been to an affair that they catered?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: momzilla2

                        I don't know what the level of kashrus that you are seeking for your simcha. I could be mistaken, but I don't recall Somerstein Caterers having a high level of kashrus.

                        1. re: momzilla2

                          A friend of my sister's was just at a Kosher affair at Water's Edge this past weekend. He and his wife loved the view and food. This info was volunteered, not in the context of asking for an opinion. Can't speak to the level of kashruth, though.

                          1. re: Shayna Madel

                            I have had many positive experiences w/ Main Event and have found Foremost to be overrated.

                        2. A few less well known but interesting caterers to try: Simply Divine (212-541-6300) -elegant,
                          Beth Torah ((718) 261-4775) - delicious Iraqi food, (though he can do other things) & great value,
                          Manna - flexible and creative, not over the top. the UWS loves them
                          Espirit Events (212-207-3888) - the Village Crown people - Moroccan
                          Some of these may be able to suggest venues. Would you consider Westchester? There are some pretty places and space is less expensive than Manhattan (though not cheap). Good luck!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: zatar

                            Zatar, we're thinking of using Beth Torah for an event. Do you have any other info to share about them?

                          2. Wow, some people scored great catering deals! I was married in 2004 at Park Ave Synagogue and used their in-house caterer, Newman and Leventhal. They were spectacular - incredible, incredible food. Several of my non-Jewish friends said they "wouldn't have known it was kosher had it not been at a synagogue." Dessert was an unbelievable warm-centered choco cake and an accompanying sorbet. Only thing that was mediocre was the wedding cake. Our "starting price" was $120/head but it went up bc we added choices, red meat, etc. I've had the other caterers you mention and while I think they are all ok, Newman and Leventhal was really far superior (although we did have a fantastic entree recently from Foremost). The contact for N&L is 212-362-9400 (corporate offices); 212-427-7912 (Park Ave Synagogue)

                            1. Temple Torah in Little Neck, NY (Queens) now has Colbeh as its exclusive caterer.

                              1. I too am planning a wedding and have found great variations in price from one caterer to another. Can anyone tell me anything about the following caterers
                                Rockville
                                Seaview
                                Grenadine
                                K & T @ Hewlett E Rockaway JC
                                Morrell & Morrell of Woodbury (are they one in the same?)
                                Austein
                                Crown Royale
                                Lederman
                                Crest Hollow CC

                                I would appreciate any and all feedback.

                                1. I hear Rave Events is amazing. Their phone number is 201-692-8880.

                                  1. Foremost is excellent. They catered my wedding over a year ago and I'm still hearing about how much everyone loved the food. They are a little bit more expensive than the others- but you're paying for top, top quality. I've been to many (50+) buffet and sit down dinners catered by Foremost and I've only had one or two bad experiences- and those experiences were b/c I didn't like the food- but it wasn't necessarily bad quality or bad tasting. I think you'll be pleased if you use them- tons of menu choices and really helpful with planning an event.

                                    1. The reason why there's a difference in price is because foremost is absolutely the best kosher caterer around today. They catered my wedding, and with most of the people attending being non-kosher or non-jews, they couldn't even tell the food was kosher. There is a reason why the big name hotels in NYC use them; they're the best. You don't want people at the wedding mumbling that the food wasn't so good...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: at9001

                                        "they couldn't even tell the food was kosher"

                                        Okay, I can understand if you're serving soy meat substitutes and they can't tell that it's soy, but not being able to discern kosher from non-kosher shouldn't be a standard.

                                        If, on the other hand, you're saying you didn't get a greasy piece of chicken on a plate with some kishke, then I get it.

                                      2. I recently had the oportunity to experience Prestige for my son's Oufruf and Shabbat dinner and then Morell for his wedding. They were both excellent!
                                        The food and service were outstanding. Allan Schonfeld, from Prestige was very easy to work with. My son's father-in-law dealt with the Morell person, his experience was also very easy. For whatever is worth, Morell offers the options of Glatt and/or non-Glatt.