Archive | March, 2012

Spontaneous Dinner: Cena

29 Mar

Update July 2013: The place is closed.

Thursday night; again in the last minute we decide we want to go out. Tali and Elan are joining us, they too want to take a break from work; We are thinking what will be the best option between the few places that still have available tables for 30 minutes from now; The selected place – CENA.

Artichoke and Asparagus

Artichoke and Asparagus

CENA has opened lately in a very challenging spot: Montefiore Street – New kid on the block of Hotel Montefiore, Yavna Montefiore, Montefiore 7 and Wine Bar (At least they didn’t use the “Montefiore” in their name). As such, we have expected a lot from the new place.

Calamari a la plancha  stuffed with sweet potatoes cream

Calamari a la plancha stuffed with sweet potatoes cream

The starters were promising – Tali and Elan shared Artichoke and Asparagus that were served on roots and parmesan cream. As a big fan of Artichokes, Elan has definitely approved it as a quality dish. We took Calamari a la plancha that was stuffed with sweet potatoes cream and was also very tasty (though a little small).

Goose Drumstick in Oranges Sauce

Goose Drumstick in Oranges Sauce

For main courses each of us took one – Tali ordered the Goose Drumstick in Oranges Sauce served with potato and parmesan gratin. Tali found the dish tasty but too small as she felt she is still hungry after finishing the dish.  Elan took the Beef Burger and goose breast; the waitress promised extra smooth burger thanks to the goose, nevertheless Elan didn’t find this burger very different from the usual burgers.

Beef Burger and goose breast

Beef Burger and goose breast

Shahar took Provencal fish that was served with baked vegetables. The fish was nice but did not win our “value for money” price. Inbar took the Zopa di Mara, Italian seafood soup that was recommended by the waitress and was one big disappointment.

Provencal fish

Provencal fish

Zopa di Mara

Zopa di Mara

The highlight of the dinner was discovered at the dessert stage. Tali and Elan shared Apple Crumble; while we shared Panna Cotta – although both of them sound pretty “regular” desserts – we were surprised from the original interpretation they got at CENA.

Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta

At the end of the dinner, while trying to understand what we think about the place, we realized that unfortunately, we don’t think Cena will be a target on the next time we search for a place to eat on Thursday night (or on every other night).

The Check Please (4 People)

2 X Big Pellegrino – 50NIS
Calamari – 52NIS
Artichoke and Asparagus – 42NIS
Provencal Fish – 98NIS
Beef Burger – 65NIS
Zopa di Mara – 60NIS
Goose Drumstick  – 82NIS
Sira Flam – 155NIS
Diet Coke – 11NIS
Panna cota- 32NIS
Apple Crumble – 36NIS

All in all: 683 NIS

Summary:

Food: Bistro
Price: Expensive
Location: Montefiore Street

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale: 

3 Forks

Contact Details

42 Montefiore street, Tel Aviv | 9424640–057|
Monday-Friday 18:00-late | Saturday 12:00-17:00 | http://www.rest.co.il/sites/Default.asp?txtRestID=12507

Adjusting Expectations – Doris Katzavim (Butchers)

22 Mar

About four years ago, I was travelling up north when I started to look for something descent to eat. In general, the restaurants around Rosh-Pina do not offer something exceptional. Even though around the town entrance, right behind the gas station I found Doris Katzavim (Doris Butchers). The Beef displayed raw in front of the diners really aroused and the steaks were simply amazing.

The Beef display

The Beef display

Few years have gone by, and “Doris” has made a name for itself as one of the best steakhouses, opening two more steakhouses – In Tel Aviv and Zichron Yaakov. The Tel Aviv branch has recently closed its doors so when travelled with family up north for Mom’s birthday, Doris at Zichron was an obvious pick.

Doris is a steakhouse offering local Beef from the Golan Heights, which definitely has quality. According to some reviews it seems that the glory that it has back then, has quite crumbled. That was a chance to check it out.

The appetizers

The appetizers

With eight people sitting around the table (plus a baby), it is not that simple to serve easily nor with a constant smile upon your face but I think the Doris team managed to pull it off. The service was good and attentive to our needs. Even though, it is a shame that the appetizers were simply bad.

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio

Yes, I do know this is a steakhouse and we all come there to eat some dead cows, but the appetizers, which included Eggplant with Tehini, Chickpeas, Egg salad, Cauliflower, Beets and Sweet Potato, were quite embarrassing and tasted as they were taken out of a tin can. The other starters, which included vegetables salad, Wheat groats Salad and Beef Carpaccio were much better (especially the Beef Carpaccio).

Fillets of Beef

Fillets of Beef

Most of us took steaks for main course. There were few Fillets of Beef, a T-Bone Steak, a Lamb Burger and I took the Hanger Steak (which some say is the ultimate test for a quality Steakhouse). One can’t argue that all the steaks were good. They felt as quality, fresh and tender. Even though, most of the faces around the table looked disappointed. At these prices, at that restaurant, you would expect to have one of the best steaks you ever had. It wasn’t the case – not even close.

Hanger Steak

Hanger Steak

The side dishes – Onion cakes, over Potatoes and grilled vegetables – were quite nice, so as the sweets – a classic and tasty crème Brule, an Apple Crumble and an excellent Kanafe (though not as good as  the one in Kalamate).

Kanafe

Kanafe

Summarizing Doris I would state that it is an expensive Steakhouse with some good steaks, but unfortunately, not exceptional relatively to other places (up north or in Tel Aviv).

The Check Please (8 people) – Highlights

Beef Carpaccio – 59 NIS
Mezze Plate – 59 NIS
Wheat Groats Salad – 25 NIS
T-Bone Steak (400 gr) – 129 NIS
Fillet of Beef (250 gr) – 137 NIS
Hanger Steak (250 gr) – 137 NIS
Crème Brule / Kanafe – 30 NIS each

All in all – 1490 NIS

Summary:

Food: Steakhouse
Price: Very Expensive
Location: Zichron Yaakov

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3 Forks

Contact Details: Doris Katzavim
Address:  near Baron Gardens, Zichron Yaakov| Phone: 04-6397030 |
Sun-Thu 12:00-23:00 Fri-Sat 12:00 – Late
http://doris-k.co.il/ (no English)

Was (not) Born in the USA

17 Mar

But it doesn’t mean I can’t write about it… Last month I was in the US for a business trip. I started in Seattle where I had attended Microsoft’s conference – TechReady 14 – an amazing experience with the best sessions on the newest technology.  But eating in Seattle is not something the write about. We did eat at the Cheesecake factory and Ruth’s Chris and hang a lot at the Tap House Grill (which seems to be the only place to drink beer after 10 PM).

But the interesting culinary staff happens in New York. On my way home I did stopped in New York for a short vacation.  I wanted to share with you several places I liked.

New York, New York

New York, New York

Topaz Thai Restaurant

I had arrived to the city in the late afternoon and I was hungry. I wanted something tasty and close by. The nice girls in the reception of Wellington Hotel recommended on Topaz – Thai restaurant located on the 56th street. For starter I received a kind of complimentary potato chips that were served with a very tasty Thai sauce based on peanuts. For main dish I ordered traditional Thai dish of stir-fried rice. Nice restaurant if you are around and looking for an oriental bite.

Topaz Thai Restaurant
127 W 56th St (between Avenue Of The Americas & 7th Ave), New York, NY 10019

Saju Bistro

On the next day I was walking around Times Square, looking for breakfast, a real one, not eating something on the street while standing. I sat on the bar for brunch at Saju Bistro and ordered the Eggs Florentine that was served with English muffins, Fresh Spinach and Hollandaise sauce. That was exactly what I was looking for; alongside with fresh orange juice I was ready to start my morning in New York.

Saju Bistro
120 W 44th Street New York, NY, 10036 | http://www.sajubistro.com/

Eggs Florentine @Saju Bistro

Eggs Florentine @Saju Bistro

Lombardi’s Pizza

On that evening I had tickets to the Spider-Man show – “Turn off the dark” on Broadway. Beforehand I had to eat something and since I was already in little Italy I thought pizza would be the best choice. Lombardi’s Pizza is a well-known institute since 1905. The place has a very warm atmosphere and the tables have the traditional white and red maps. The pizza itself was very good (and huge for one person). Note that they will not accept credit card, so be prepared with cash.

Lombardi’s Pizza
32 Spring St, New York, NY 10012 | (212) 941-7994 |http://www.firstpizza.com/

Since 1905 - Lombardi's Pizza

Since 1905 - Lombardi's Pizza

Balthazar

For the second breakfast I decided to check another well-known institute on Soho (not far away from the previous one) – Balthazar. While seating there I couldn’t help comparing the place to the Israeli Brasserie of R2M, it seems that I have found their inspiration. Nevertheless, it didn’t reduce any of my pleasure eating their Eggs Benedicts and drinking their amazing espresso.

Balthazar
80 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012 | (212) 965-1414 | http://balthazarny.com/

Did someone said Brasserie?

Did someone said Brasserie?

Eggs Benedicts

Eggs Benedicts

Trattoria Dell’arte

The last place I visited, just before getting back home was Trattoria Dell’Arte. I was really in a hurry but since I got this recommendation from Shaul, I knew I had to check it. I took the “One Hundred and one layer lasagna” that is one of the place’s special dishes. Indeed that lasagna was exceptional and contained many layers of pasta. Another specialty of the place is their antipasto bar that I didn’t have the chance to check.

My Windows Phone 7 and One Hundred and One Layer Lasagna

My Windows Phone 7 and One Hundred and One Layer Lasagna

Trattoria Dell’arte
900 7th Avenue, New York, NY 10106 | (212) 245-9800 | http://www.trattoriadellarte.com/

If I have to sum my short visit to New York – I had very good luck with the restaurants and the weather and sure hope to visit there again soon.

Spice Up Your Friday – Levinsky Market

2 Mar

Mark yourselves a 2-hour time window at some Friday morning. Then you can stroll to one of the liveliest streets in Tel Aviv at that time – Levinsky Street. Levinsky Market, stretched along the street (from Ha’alia down west), is hectic and not so tourist oriented, but definitely should not be overlooked. The street is filled with shops selling spices, delicatessen, cheese and oriental food and would be a great place to add some touch-ups to your recipes.

As the market is becoming trendier lately, few places to eat are popping out here and there, throughout the market. At two different opportunities we have managed to visit two of the places that set out two very different experiences while supplying their own variation of the market.

Cafe Kaimak

Café Kaimak, located at the Nachlat Binyamin corner, is literally part of the market. As it is fully opened to the market, right between the vendors, you can hear all the trouble happening outside while sitting in the unpretentious setting. The prices are welcoming as well as the service and the food is pretty nice as well. On the late Friday morning, when we sat along with Adi for a late breakfast, we had a very decent Shakshuka (27 NIS) and a “Red Toast” that included Gauda cheese, tomatoes and a great red peppers paste (36 NIS).

Shakshuka (Cafe Kaimak)

Red Toast

Café Kaimak:

Food: Breakfast
Price: Cheap
Location: Levinsky Market

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3 Forks

Devochka

Devochka (“Girl” in Russian), located a bit off the market at the crossing HaChalutzim Street, is offering a far more relaxed atmosphere. You can pick one of a variety of sandwiches, made at the spot with some market goods displayed at the counter. Though there is (very) little place to sit inside, try to grab a sandwich and sit at the stools outside and catch some relaxing Friday noon sun (good luck finding that available spot). While meeting with Samuel and Keren for a lunch there, right before the vendors closed their shops, we had some great Corned Beef Sandwich and Cheese Sandwich (24 NIS each) along with a well-suitable-for-Friday-noon Coffee.

Devochka Counter

Corned Beef Sandwich

Devochka:

Food: Sandwiches
Price: Cheap-Medium
Location: Off Levinsky Market

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

Coffee & Afternoon Sun (Devochka)

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