Daniel, one of Manhattan’s most revered restaurants and a favorite of the pre-theater crowd, has turned to Israeli caviar and diners are more than pleased.
“We started serving Israeli caviar at the restaurant four or five years ago and since then it has only improved. And today it is the best there is on the market,” Daniel’s chef, Jean Francois Bruel told Haaretz.
Le Bernardin, which like Daniel boasts a Michelin rating and is one of Manhattan’s toughest reservations, is serving Israeli caviar, imported from a kibbutz in northern Israel.
“The Chinese have good caviar but the quality of it is not consistent. Germany and Italy have pretty good caviar and there are also products from France and the United States, but what comes from Israel is the nearest thing to the top,” the restaurant’s chef and owner, Eric Ripert said.
Kibbutz Dan, which owns the Caviar Galilee Company, began to export the sturgeon based product when they saw caviar prices spike in 2002.
“We put two and two together and we made the decision to go with the caviar. We started sorting males and females. We sold the males for their meat and we keep raising the females until about the age of 10, until the caviar becomes of good quality,” says Yigal Ben Tzvi,the director of the Caviar Galilee Company.
The Kibbutz began raising sturgeon in the mid 1990′s and made the decision to raise the fish’s eggs for caviar following the rise in market prices for the product.
According to Ripert at Le Bernardin, Iranian caviar is the world’s best but the threat to their survival in local waters prohibits the export of sturgeon.
“The sturgeon that grow in the Caspian Sea are in danger of extinction and therefore it is currently forbidden to import caviar from Iran,” he said.