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52° Good Afternoon

R.I.P. Anise, née Tel Aviv, in Great Neck

When his restaurant Tel Aviv in Great Neck

When his restaurant Tel Aviv in Great Neck lost its kosher certification in December 2010, owner Michael Ginor opened Anise in its place. Gone are the kibbutz posters; new are banquettes and a communal table. Photo Credit: Anise Restaurant, 2011

Taped to the window of Anise in Great Neck earlier this week was a sign saying that the restaurant was “on vacation” and would reopen Sept. 6. Unfortunately, that date had come and gone, and the restaurant was still dark. A call to owner Michael Ginor confirmed that the restaurant will not reopen.

It’s been a rocky road for the restaurant at 613 Middle Neck Rd. Anise started life in 2008 as Tel Aviv, a kosher restaurant owned by Ginor, Great Neck resident, founder of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, a well-known figure in fancy-chef circles and a talented chef in his own right. Tel Aviv was certainly one of the best kosher restaurants I ever ate in; it received 3 stars in Newsday from Joan Reminick.

In 2009, Ginor opened another Great Neck restaurant, Lola, which was fancier, pricier and not kosher. At the end of 2010, Tel Aviv lost its kosher certification from the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, a local organization that supervises kosher establishments. Ginor believed that VHQ objected to his involvement in Tel Aviv because Lola was not kosher. VHQ declined to comment.

At the time, Ginor estimated that about 95 percent of Tel Aviv’s clientele were kosher. Over the next few weeks he kept the menu the same, but served far fewer people. In April the restaurant, whose kitchen was now helmed by Jessica Cecere, was rechristened Anise. It retained the casual feel, but the menu cast a wider net, beyond the Middle East to the whole Mediterranean rim. Shrimp and dairy came aboard, too. Still, the restaurant struggled to find an audience and, finally, Ginor gave up.

Lola, a few miles down Middle Neck Road, continues, one of the few Long Island restaurants to receive 3½ stars from Peter Gianotti.

Interior of Anise


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