Archive | March, 2011

Hot Dogs with Respect – Frank

28 Mar

Frank

There has been a lot of improvement with the variety of what is considered “comfort food” in Tel Aviv. After a long night out, you’ll get awfully hungry, but you wouldn’t want to have an actual dinner. After a long time when you had a choice between Hummus, Shawarma & Pizza, few other types of food have entered to this niche. The quality sausages of Frank are a very good example.

Zeev Tana, the owner of Frank sausages, has collected the recipes on a trip to Germany and gave this hot chain of fast-but-quality-food a Berlin chic. The three branches serve few types of sausages, including classics like Bratwürste and Frankfurter, and more special like Brat-veal Emental and Chipotle.

Brat-Veal (XL) & Potatoes

As Gal, one of my (Shahar) best friends and a fan of German food, came all the way to Tel Aviv, we took Tomer as well and decided to check what it’s all about. As expected, Gal took the classic Bratwürste, Tomer took the Brat-Veal and I took the Chipotle sausage. Though none of the sausages were among the best we had, and none of them are in the level of sausages in elite places as the Charcuterie, all of them were fleshy, juicy and generally good. The classic German Currywurst sauce, a fresh baguette, over baked potatoes as side and bottled beer gave us the exact German feeling we looked for, and summed up the place as a great value for money comfort food.

Bratwürste Chipotle

The check please (3 people)

Bratwürste (XL) – 25 NIS
Bratwürste Chipotle – 25 NIS
Brat-Veal (XL) – 25 NIS
Brat-Potatoes – 12 NIS
3 Bottles Beers – 54 NIS

All in all: 141 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Sausages
Price:  Cheap
Location: Ibn Gabirol & Dizingof (2 more branches)

Contact details: Frank
Address:  Ibn Gabirol 23, Tel Aviv | No Phone |
Opening Hours:  Sunday- Saturday 11:30-late
http://franks.co.il/ (no English)

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Step into my office – The Officer’s Club (Moadon HaKtzinim)

26 Mar

Once again, Adi called to invite to a spontaneous dinner. At first we wanted to come back to the Coffee Bar since it has just updated its menu lately, but thinking about our blog readers we agreed to go somewhere else we haven’t covered yet. We had a desire for Asian food and the chosen place was Moadon HaKtzinim (The Officer’s Club).

The Officer’s Club’s owners are the same owners of the respectful Tel Aviv institute – Giraffe. This place is the flagship of the Giraffe brand – Asian food with a fusion twist.

We shared truffles Har Gow Dim Sum – three steamed dumpling filled with chopped mushrooms in truffles sauce. The delicate wrapping dough that lay upon a tasteful sauce made this an amazing starter.

No, thats not a jellyfish, thats a Dim Sum

From that point we split up – Adi took the VEG VEG wide noodles with mashed mushroom paste, asparagus and green beans – a classic Giraffe dish that you can never go wrong with. I (Inbar) decided to stay with the starters section of the menu and took Thai Salad & Tuna fish Ceviche. The Salad was refreshing and tasty thanks to a good combination of herbs, cherry tomatoes and tender chicken. As appose to that, the Ceviche, which included fresh Tuna fish, cucumbers and (for some mysterious reason) some kind of noodles, was disappointing.

Tuna Fish Ceviche

Ending this spontaneous dinner we took a great light dessert – Tapioca pudding that was served together with small bowls of Sorbet, fruits salad & hot cinnamon topped with banana.

VEG VEG

As I was writing the post and going through the check once more I have noticed that we were charged 1.5 NIS per person for security. Charging for security was a common manner in Israel about 10 years ago, and took place in order to help restaurants reinforce their security due to the bad security situation in Israel. I was surprised to see it in the check since I did not see any security guard & this manner has almost disappeared from the restaurants scene.

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3 Forks

The Check please (2 people):
Truffles Har Gow – 47NIS
Tuna fish Ceviche – 48NIS
Thai Salad – 38NIS
VEG VEG – 49NIS
2X Binymina Gewurztraminer Wine – 52NIS
Tapioca – 39NIS
Security – 3 NIS

All in all: 276 NIS
Summary:

Food:  Asian & Fusion
Price:  Medium-expensive
Location: Ha’Arbaa

Contact details: Moadon HaKtzinim (The Officer’s Club)
Address:  21 Haarbaa St., Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6851154
Opening Hours:  Sunday- Saturday – 12:00-24:00
http://www.giraffe.co.il/about-the-restaurant/giraffe-ktzinim

The Rich and Famous – Messa

22 Mar

Lately, we had a one night chance to feel like the high society of Tel Aviv. Inbar had won a coupon to one of Tel Aviv’s most expensive restaurants – Messa. The coupon was quite generous and included two starters, two entrees and two deserts along side with two hot and two cold drinks – a full dinner (excluding the alcohol).

At the beginning we were looking for an occasion to justify this dinner. Unfortunately, our next celebration is set to April 11th, when we will mention 3 years of dating (which will be just two weeks before our marriage). Therefore we weren’t patient and decided to go without a special occasion.

This was the first time we have visited Messa and it was a good chance to take a quick peek to the place of the rich and famous in Tel Aviv. In the center of the place located two high, long tables that serves groups of people or couples that are willing to share their table with others. Alongside the tables there are open areas that contain “regular” tables. We were sat in one of these areas. We use the quotation marks from the regular since our table was a round and very large piece of marble stone. The chairs were quite big and were similar to a couch rather than a chair. The strange setting, that was define by the waitress as one of the most desirable tables in the restaurant, made us feel like strangers in their first date since we were quite far apart from each other.

Goose liver with white "Valerhona" lemon sauce

After we ordered the food, we were served a gesture from the chef – two small cups of tomato soup covered by a fried tortilla. The soup was not special at all and quite worried us regarding the upcoming courses. Luckily, the soup was not a good representation of the rest.

Jerusalem Calamari

For starters, we took the famous seared goose liver with white “Valerhona” lemon sauce served with a shot of “naughty” chocolate. This course was not less than perfect. The liver was tender and dissolved. The chocolate shot added a light sweetness and fitted the course in a perfect way. The other starter was “Jerusalem Calamari” – labaneh crème, za’atar, sesame and grilled tomatoes. This was a good course, although it was served with fried eggplant that was a little too fried.

Beef fillet in chestnut & balsamic stock

For the main course we took Beef fillet in chestnut & balsamic stock. The beef was very good and was escorted by amazing sides – smooth puree and delicious mashed chestnuts. We also took Seafood Risotto in blue crab broth. Though the dish was good, it didn’t meet our expectations that came from its name and price (151 NIS).

Seafood Risotto in blue crab broth

For a sweet ending, we took the Strawberry crumble and vanilla cream with almonds, which was a good-looking, sweet dessert. We especially liked the strawberry mousse on top of the crumble. The other dessert was quite a surprising one – Sizzling Chestnut was served in a small burning pan escorted with blue cheese and burned herbs which gave it a good and interesting smell. The combination of cheese, herbs and chestnut was truly exciting and refreshing.

Strawberry crumble and vanilla cream with almonds

For a closure of the interesting meal, we drank cappuccinos while agreeing that each phase of the dinner revealed one unusual course and one that was “just” as good as other good restaurants in town.

Sizzling Chestnut

We will be back, only when we will be a part of the rich and famous…

The check please (2 people)

2 glass of white wine – 64 NIS

Courses prices

Goose liver with white “Valerhona” lemon sauce – 84 NIS
“Jerusalem Calamari” – 58 NIS
Beef fillet in chestnut & balsamic stock – 148 NIS
Seafood Risotto in blue crab broth – 156 NIS
Strawberry crumble and vanilla cream with almonds – 48 NIS
Sizzling Chestnut – 48 NIS
Soda Water – 11 NIS
Coke – 13 NIS
Cappuccino  – 14 NIS
2 glass of white wine – 64 NIS

All in all (lucky us) 654 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Chef Restaurant
Price:  Very Expensive
Location: Ha’arbaa

Contact details: Messa
Address:  19th Ha’arbaa St. Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6856859|
Opening Hours:  Sunday- Saturday 12:00-15:30; 19:00-23:30
http://www.messa.co.il/site/master.html

Falling in Love – The Container

11 Mar

Container

Some people in Israel hate saint Valentine, simply because of what happens on his day across all restaurants. Valentine’s Day is another day (together with New Year’s) when restaurants apply over-priced special menus. While this is a money milking cow, it still is an opportunity to have a special dinner. After many recommendations about the place, we decided to have our Valentine’s Day dinner at the Container.

The Bar

The Container, defined as a restaurant, bar, art space and a music lounge, is located inside an old hangar, at the heart of Jaffa port, one of the oldest ports in the world that was once the main port in the land of Israel. Right there, just besides the boats with a beautiful view, lies the Container. And this is just the outside.

Wine & Bread

When you go inside, large glass windows shows you this marvelous view, a high tin ceiling and warehouse walls gives you  a true authentic feeling, an extremely large bar allows you to sit where everything happens and a huge wood oven warms the whole space, just in the right way.

The Salads

Though we had an option to take the special tasting menu, just for that night, we decided to stick with the a la carte. Jerusalem & Italian Artichokes salad with truffle mushrooms was heaven for us, artichoke lovers. It was crunchy and fresh and had a great taste of artichokes. Grilled Calamari Salad with black lentils was no less than perfect, as the Calamari had a great grilled taste and the lentils were a great match to it. To conclude the starters we took a plain simple green salad which surprised us for the good. The combination of fresh roman lettuce, genuine Parmesan cheese and from-the-bottom-of-the-heart seasoning was excellent.

Grilled Calamari Salad

After a short break, in which we had some red wine (Bouchard Père & Fils – Beaune du Château) we bought earlier and took with us, we continued to the entrées. Sea bass fish a la plancha, with smoked potato (from that oven) was quite a good dish. The fish was nice and tender and the potatoes were nothing like we ever tasted, as one could clearly taste the scent and flavor of the oven.

Sea bass fish a la plancha

Chraime, a dish originated from the Libyan Judaism and is general referred to a fish in hot peppers sauce, was the highlight of the dinner. The tasty grey Mullet fish was hidden in a rich, inviting chipotle pepper sauce, along with black olives and “lost bread” which came from the same oven and was latter used to clean up the sauce leftovers.

Chraime

Being a little intoxicated from the wine, we decided to skip deserts and head back home. The lovely Jaffa port and the Container have given us the feeling we wanted on that evening and we would definitely go back.

Intoxicated from the wine...

The check please (2 people)

Artichokes Salad – 49 NIS
Calamari Salad – 55 NIS
Green Salad – 33 NIS
Sea Bass a la plancha – 88 NIS
Chraime – 76 NIS
Corkage fee -50 NIS

All in all: 351 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

5 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Fish & Seafood
Price:  Expensive
Location: Jaffa Port

Contact details: The Container
Address:  Warehouse #2, Jaffa Port | Phone: 03-6836321 |
Opening Hours:  Sunday- Thursday 12:00-late | Friday-Saturday 10:00-late
http://www.container.org.il/

The Slippery Slope of Quality – Frida Kahlo (Updated)

7 Mar

Update July 2013: The place is closed.

A while ago we reviewed Frida Kahlo and we were quite satisfied with the dinner. Short while ago, after we have published our review, one of the Israeli coupons sites, Grouper, had publish a deal with the restaurant. Buy a 60 NIS coupon and get a 120 NIS meal. Since we liked the place we did not think twice and bought the coupon.

This time, the experience was so bad we that our moral obligation, to our readers, made us come back home and write this post.

We took the Plata de Mariscos, formally known as the best course from the previous visit – this time the seafood seemed to be forgotten on the grill while the cauliflower and sheep cheese mousse were tasteless. Other than this course, we took four new courses we did not try up until that dinner – Ensalada de Frida, Calamari & Shrimps Masabcha,  Elior’s ceviche & pickled rump steak. None of these dishes was at the level of taste we had in the last visit – we did not like any of them, therefore we are not specifying much about them.

While eating in order to be full and not in the name of enjoying the food, we agreed that the participation of Frida Kahlo in such deals and discounts took it down the slippery slope with regards to food quality. Unfortunately, because of the bad experience, though we did like the place in past visits, we shall not be back to Frida Kahlo again.

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

1.5 Forks

 

A Taste of Spain – Tapas 1 Haam

5 Mar

Everyone wants to have a vacation from time to time. When, from many reasons, you can’t take one, you compromise to get just the vacation feeling. Getting out to a restaurant that brings another country’s atmosphere will get you somewhere close to that feeling. Tapas 1 (Ahad) Haam is exactly one of those places.

The setting

This Jonathan Rushfeld place, nearby his formerly reviewed “Yavne Montifiore”, was opened about a year and a half ago with a major emphasis on the restaurant atmosphere. The beautiful setting include colorful Spanish-style tiles, a classic display of hanging sausages, a wide open kitchen and restaurant goods set on the high tables, where we sat.

Tomato Salad & Shrimps and Calamari

After a bad experience we had in Tapas Ahad Haam around its opening, which included seating in the very end of the place and suffering from a pushy waitress, we decided to have a corrective experience. This time the waitress was very nice and our experience was much better.

Beef Tartar

We were glad to see that the place investment in its atmosphere did not subtract with the food quality. We shared five dishes between us. A Beef Tartar that was far better than the one we reviewed on the Butchery post (while Inbar thought the tartar at the Yavne Montifiore was better). It included quality beef, great sourness and a tasty smoked peppers sauce. The toasts that were served alongside were delicious as well. A dish of grilled Baladi Eggplant with eggplant paste was very good, though not Spanish at all (but rather an Israeli mainstream one).

Baladi Eggplant

A dish of Artichoke hearts on the plancha with goat cheese and oregano was wonderful, fresh and ended too quickly, and so was the Tomato Salad which included few types of cherry tomatoes, hard cheese and a great addition of Za’atar leaves.
Sevillian Shrimps and Calmari, taken from the restaurant specials, was the last dish of the night. The seafood itself was simply amazing. It had a very natural fresh taste and even a too oily sauce didn’t hurt the flavor.

Two glasses of Cava escorted the great experience abroad. Well, at Tapas 1 Haam.

The Check Please (2 people):
2 X Cava – 58 NIS
Baladi Eggplant – 22 NIS
Artichoke Hearts – 31 NIS
Beef Tartar – 28 NIS
Shrimps and Calamari – 44 NIS
Tomato Salad – 34 NIS

All in all: 217 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4.5 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Tapas
Price:  Medium-Expensive
Location: Echad Haam / Allenby

Contact details: Tapas 1 (Ahad) Haam
Address:  27 Echad Haam, Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-5666966
Opening Hours:  Sunday-Thursday 18:00-01:00 | Friday-Saturday 12:30-01:00
http://www.rest.co.il/sites/Default.asp?txtRestID=10748 (No English)

Just Be Happy – Methuselah

2 Mar

Lately we had two opportunities to visit Florentin and in both of these opportunities we chose to visit Methuselah – a small wine bar in the middle of the chic neighborhood.

"Just Be Happy" - Methuselah's Menu

Methuselah is actually a wine store by day that becomes a calm-atmosphere good-music wine bar at night. It has a large selection of wines and some beers. The food dishes seem to be small but qualitative.

We took the Gewurztraminer, Inbar’s favorite. Shahar took Chillan Malbec wine which was fruity and light. At the one time we took a small plate of cheese that had about 5 different types of cheese and was a nice escort to the wines. The other time we ordered Beef Carpaccio that was very good but had just a little too much of olive oil and a bit too little beef.

Metushelah seems like a good option for a date or just for a quite night out.

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Wine bar with side dishes
Price:  Medium-Expensive
Location: Florentin

Contact details: Methuselah
Address:  16 Ariel Hakosta St., Tel Aviv | Phone: 057-9443544|
Opening Hours:  Sunday- Thursday – 10:30-01:00 | Friday 09:00-01:00 | Saturdays 18:30-01:00
http://www.rest.co.il/sites/Default.asp?txtRestID=9865 (No English menu)

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