Archive | January, 2012

Serious Stuff – Mel & Michelle

30 Jan

It rarely happens that we go to a “fancy” place. Restaurants with such serious atmosphere, slow French music and textile napkins usually don’t do it to us. We are more into lively places where the average age is the older 20’s rather than early 50’s. BUT we heard so much about the most romantic restaurant in Tel Aviv (awarded two times in a row at “Time Out”) we had to give it a shot.

Mel & Michelle’s Bar

“Mel & Michelle” is located at the vibrant Ben Yehuda Street long after you pass the fabulous ice cream places around Gordon and the numerous pubs around Ben Gurion. Across the yet-to-be-reviewed trendy Shila, you’ll find the quiet Restaurant, which defines itself as an Italian-Middle Eastern Trattoria. We would define it as excellent. Simple as that.

Artichoke and Polenta

As we headed to our bar seats, we were a little intimidated by the crowd and the music, which was some piano cover album for famous hits. The prices were not a sight for sour eyes as well. Even though, the atmosphere was indeed very romantic, especially on the heavy wooden bar, and the food was, well, exceptional.

Roman Artichokes on top of soft Polenta was a wonderful dish mainly due to the Polenta made from fresh corn. The roasted Italian artichokes fitted well and only breadcrumbs interfered with the Italian harmony. The Parisian Gnocchi demonstrated how Italy and France can pull together one of the best dishes in town. The Gnocchi were made out of cheese rather than potatoes, melted in our mouths and were escorted by a white truffle sauce, but one that lifted the dish to extreme heights. That dish competes with Toto’s Chestnut Gnocchi fair and square.

Cheese Gnocchi

Though at that point it seemed almost not important what would come as main course, but we did share one. An in-house aged Fillet of Beef continued the same line. The beef was exceptionally tender and was escorted with a reduced red wine sauce and figs. For once I understood how a red wine sauce should be executed. It was a shame that the Potato Pure that came along did not reach the level of the rest of the dishes, but nevertheless we agreed, while having two shots of espresso, that Mel & Michelle is one hell of a restaurant.

Fillet of Beef

The Check Please (2 people)

Bread – OTH
Roman Artichoke – 58 NIS
Parisian Gnocchi – 57 NIS
Fillet of Beef – 132 NIS
2X Prosecco – 60 NIS
2X Espresso – 20 NIS
Soda water – 12 NIS

All in all – 339 NIS

Summary:

Food: Italian
Price: Very Expensive
Location: Ben Yehuda – Arlozerov

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

4.5 Forks

Contact Details: Mel & Michelle
Address:  155 Ben Yehuda st. Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-5293232 |
Daily 19:00-00:00 Saturday 12:00-16:00 |
http://www.rol.co.il/sites/mel-michelle/

The King’s Wife – Vashti

16 Jan

Bread with dips

For a while the word on the street said there is a new place in Jaffa that worth a visit. It was 8 PM at a cold Thursday evening when we have decided we should go out to eat. Luckily, our first try to find a place was successful with seats on the bar at Vashti. Vashti is one of trendy restaurants that were opened in the last year and represent the new Israeli kitchen – market goods in small plates.

Cured Rump Cuts with Mini Pita

As appetizers we were served nice bread served with Pepper Aioli, Balsamic & Olive oil (in a deep bowl which made the balsamic inaccessible) and non-spicy green Skhug. The first dish we ordered was the home made cured rump cuts that was served with mini pita bread and some mezzets to fill-in the small pita. The idea was nice, but they should have supply some more pita in order to take the “make-your-own-meal” experience to extreme.

Sweetbreads

The second appetizer we ordered was Sweetbreads on celery cream and bacon & king oyster mushroom. The cream fitted perfectly to the sweetbreads that were cooked to the right point and were tender without too much fat. Alongside, the mushroom added an interesting twist to the whole dish as it had an unexpected texture.

Sea food platter

We shared the main dish – Sea food platter that contained crab, mussels, shrimps, calamari, tomatoes and Kalamata olives. The shrimps were big (Tiger), the crab digging was fun, the sauce was tasty but we finished the dish with the feeling that a lot was missing. For 120 NIS we would expect a little bigger dish.

With that dish we decided to end the evening and skip the dessert. The dinner at Vashti was good as the word on street said. We just can’t figure out why Ahasuerus replaced Vashti for Esther.

The check please (2 people)

Cured Rump Cuts – 32 NIS
Sweetbreads – 45NIS
Sea Food Platter – 120NIS
Sangria – 34 NIS
San Miguel 20 NIS

All in all: 251 NIS

Summary:
Food: New Israeli Kitchen; Market
Price: High
Location: Jaffa

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

 

Contact details: Vashti
Address:  8 Ha’Aliya Hashniya (The Clock Square), Jaffa | Phone: 057942867 |
Opening Hours:  Monday to Saturday, 18:00 to 24:00|
http://vashti.rest-e.co.il/

On the road – Nof Ha Carmel

9 Jan

Sunny Saturday in the middle of January is something one can’t miss. We took the company car and headed north to the Carmel View Road, the one that located in Israel, not San Diego. Faulty yet amazing road, that ended right before Isfiya because of pothole on the way. When the road ended unexpectedly, due to this pothole, we found ourselves hungry in the middle of Isfiya, looking for a place to satisfy it.

Carmel View Road

After long search after a restaurant named “Keter Ha Carmel” (Carmel’s Crown) which we could not found, we sat at Nof Ha Carmel (Carmel’s view) that presented itself as chef restaurant. In practice, it didn’t remind us any of the chef restaurants we know from Tel Aviv, but it was definitely a good place.

Salads

We started with “Salads”. Salads in the Arabic style restaurants means filling up the table with all kind of salads. This time the variety was exceptional in comparison to other similar place (such as Haachim and even Haj Kahil). To the table, one by one, we were served Pita bread, cauliflower, Matbucha, Tuna salad, cabbage salad, Labaneh, Pickled Carrots, beet, 3 kinds of vegetables salads and hummus. All of them were quite good and tasty.

Mansaf

For main course we shared Lamb Mansaf – a soft and full of tastes meat that laid over amazing rice that was getting its taste from the lamb, and all of this wonder on top of pita bread. For dessert we took the traditional Kanafeh  which was too sweet in our opinion and can definitely be optional if you choose to adopt our recommendation.

Kanafeh

All in all, Nof Ha Carmel is a good option if you are around and looking for Arabic style food (which is pretty much all you can find in this area). And if you can – we strongly suggest trying the Carmel view road as well.

The check please (2 people)

Salads with main course – 29 NIS
Salads without main course – 35 NIS
Mansaf – 85 NIS
Kanafeh – 30 NIS
Soda water – 7 NIS
Pepsi – 10 NIS

All in all: 196 NIS

Summary:

Food: Arabic
Price: Medium
Location: Isfiya, North

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale: 

3.5 Forks

Contact details: Nof Ha Carmel

Address:  Main road Isfiya | Phone: 057-9441083 |
Opening Hours:  Monday-Saturday 11:00-20:00 |   http://www.rest.co.il/RecordPage.aspx?RestID=1017#1

Almost at Home – Rustico

3 Jan

Everyone wants to have a neighborhood restaurant he or she can just take a sweater and head down to sit the regular table and have the regular course which will always be executed the same way. Though sounds a little boring, such a place can provide a very good default when you just don’t have the strength to start cooking or you’re just too damn hungry. Rustico Bazel, with its solid execution, relaxing atmosphere and location, is getting quite close.

Rustico is an Italian place, where Bazel is its second location (first one in Rotshield). The Bazel location, as well as the staff attitude, feels very welcoming and neighborhood-like (not only because it’s close to home). The times where we sat down and ate in Rustico, we always had the same feeling regarding food quality and execution – not amazing but rather quite solid.

Take the Lasagna for example. Rustico’s Lasagna is very much what you would expect as a fulfilling Italian lunch. Though the Bechamel sauce wasn’t much noticed, it felt very much straight from the oven, along with tasty tomato sauce and quality melted cheese.

Gnocchi and Shrimps

Gnocchi and Shrimps in a Lemon butter sauce, though coming from the days’ special, felt also like another day in the (solid) office. While Rustico’s Gnocchi is nothing compared to Toto’s, it is moist and not sticky. Though the shrimps are not more than OK, the sauce is another one Rustico simply won’t fail with.

Seabass Escabeche

It was rather the Seabass Escabeche with vegetables that did not come from the same neighborhood and, though not bad at all, was a little boring and failed to put a big impression on us.

Profiteroles

Profiteroles as dessert, ordered from the specials as well, were very sweet, very chocolaty (and too heavy) but showed that Rustico, despite being a very solid with its execution and food quality, is too expensive to call a neighborhood restaurant. We will come back. Just not that often.

The Check Please (2 people)

Seabass Escabeche – 38 NIS
Gnocchi and Shrimps – 69 NIS
Lasagna – 62 NIS
Profiteroles – 41 NIS
Coke – 12 NIS
San Pellegrino – 13 NIS

All in all – 253 NIS

Summary:

Food: Italian
Price: Medium-Expensive
Location: Bazel

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

Contact Details: Rustico
Address:  42 Bazel st. Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6026969 |
Sunday –Saturday 12:00-00:00 |
http://www.rustico.co.il/bazel/index6.html

See also previous review – A Rustic Breakfast – Rustico

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