Archive | 2.5 Forks RSS feed for this section

Cuban Disappointment: Alma the Cuba

22 Jun

A while ago we decided to check the new Latino restaurant that was opened in Ha’Arbaah Street. In general, Tel Aviv lacks restaurants that bring the Latin American sense. When we found out that a new Cuban place opened up, we’ve invited Roee and Gal to join us checking the place.

Mojito

Mojito

From the outside the place looks empty but when you go inside you realize that this is where everything is actually happening. This is kind of weird because usually bars and restaurants take over some of the street in order to create more room for their tables, but in this case you had to go inside, pass an empty bar and just then get to the action, not that there is much of it. It seems as all the elderly people from the nearby Bridge club have finish playing earlier that day and decided to go for a drink in the new bar. We were the youngest people in the room.

The waitress was more promising as she was talking with Spanish accent which made us believe, for a few moments, that maybe there is something authentic about the place. In the background, salsa music was played so in order to get into the mood we’ve asked for a Mojito, Quilmes and Havana Club Rum.

Havanna Club shots

Havanna Club shots

Although the (half) promising start, the food did not stand out our expectations. In general it was too fried and not cohesive. Part of the dishes was classic pub food and the others fit a restaurant.

Take for example the “Cuban Chips Mix” – theoretically you would expect some twist on the “bar chips” with mix of interesting ingredients – in practice these were thin slices of potatoes and yam deep fried. Nothing new, so why calling it “Cuban Mix”?

Cuban Chips

Cuban Chips

Another example is “Baby Back Ribs” – In contrast to other dishes we have ordered, this was a classic restaurant dish while others were much more suitable for a bar. The dish included Ribs, Rice with black beans and spicy carrot salad. Though it wasn’t bad, it felt as the dish came from a different menu. The other dishes – Croquets and Ceviche – did not stand out and were quite boring.

Baby Back Ribs

Baby Back Ribs

Heading out of the place we felt unsatisfied and still in desire of some fine food and drinks, so we decided to go the neighbor bar – La Champa (which unfortunately closed its doors now).

The Check Please (4 People)

Mojito – 42NIS
3X Quilmes – 78NIS
3X Havana Club 3 Shots –57 NIS
Baby Back Ribs – 52NIS
Croquets Paratagas – 47NIS
Cuban Chips Mix -21NIS
Ceviche Malakon – 37NIS

All in all: 334NIS

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale:

2.5 Forks

2.5 Forks

Contact Details: Alma de Cuba
16 Ha’Arba’a st. Tel Aviv | 035234894
Daily 17:00-02:00
http://en.almadecuba.co.il/

Mix and don’t match – The Dining Hall

1 Jun

When you dine at a “chef” restaurant you can expect nothing but the best. Yes, although Omer Miller, the chef of “The Dining Hall” (as well as “The Table” – someone ran out of names), became more famous of his TV appearances than of its restaurants, The Dining Hall is still considered a chef restaurant and should be judges as such. Miller is doing a lot of mix & match and, most of the time, it is simply confusing.

As the site describes, Miller “uses local products”, together with “Mediterranean and European kitchen techniques” includes “well known dishes”, “familiar from home”, “modern, minimal and innovative”. Did your head spin already? Mine have. So yes, Miller actually tries to bring his interpretation of a classic homemade Israeli kitchen. But no, it is hardly enough for a chef restaurant taking these prices.

The Dining Hall Salad

The Dining Hall Salad

Take the Dining Hall Salad for example. Though the fancy serving along with separate boiled egg on the side, the salad was mediocre and had nothing over a regular chopped vegetable salad done at home. The “familiar from home” was way better when it came to the famous chopped liver starter. The dish did make the place famous with real justice as it is a real thick tasteful liver and the fried onions are a great fit to it.

The entrées did not bring any “innovative” part or any special “technique”. We rather picked two meat dishes that we did expect to raise the level of the dinner. The two main courses – 200 gr. Fillet Mignon with Marrow, Potatoes, Carrots and Demi glaze as well as 300 gr. Entrecote with Sweet Potato – were served the same – on top of a cutting board, and were somewhat boring.

Entrecote

Entrecote

On top of that, the Fillet dish was served cold (after the waitress forgot we asked for a different side). When told, it seemed the fillet was re-heated in the microwave, which kind of ruined it for us.
Overall both pieces of beef were not bad, and the roasted vegetables were nice, but we didn’t feel moved at all as you would expect.

When you are planning on spending over 350 NIS for a dinner out you do want to have something special. Though The Dinning Hall food is not bad at all it is not reaching its pricing level nor to its fancy website descriptions. We’ll just consider it as an OK place with a very high price.

The check please (2 people)

The Dining Hall Salad – 32 NIS
Chopped Liver – 32 NIS
200 gr. Filet Mignon – 128 NIS
300 gr. Entrecote – 138 NIS
Coke – 12 NIS
Soda Water – 10 NIS

All in all: 352 NIS

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

2.5 Forks

2.5 Forks

Summary:

Food:  Classic Israeli
Price:  Expensive
Location: Shaul Hamelech

Contact details: The Dining Hall
Address:  23 Shaul Hamelech St, Tel Aviv | 0579443036|
Opening Hours:  Sun-Sat 12:00-00:00 |
http://thedininghall.rest-e.co.il/

The Blues Brothers – Haachim

13 Nov

Before I’ll start I have to give a proper disclosure. I don’t like the 80’s. There, I said it. Though born in the decade, I always find it somewhat redundant. I was never sympathetic of Gorbachev, East Germany, Boom Boxes, Pac-Man and Big hair style. Oh and Israeli “Middle Eastern” Steakhouses. The Israeli oriental steak house is somewhat an import of an Arabic style of serving with the simplest way of beef cooking – grilled. The 80’s were a blossom for these Middle Eastern restaurants which always included a generous amount of pre-made salads and a medium-level grilled kebabs or skewers.

Haachim - Urban Setting

Since the 80’s, the amount of Eastern restaurants had decreased as more modern kitchens entered the culinary space, though some still survive. Imagine the surprise we had when we saw a new such restaurant opened just now at the heart of Tel Aviv.

“Ha’achim” (The Brothers), located at Ibn Gabirol, is an effort to take the Middle Eastern cuisine and bring it to our times, along with an up-to-date urban setting, cumbersome salads and upgraded types of beef.

Opening Salads

The bunch of salads that came to the table weren’t necessarily better than the common Middle Eastern salads. The Tehini was quite good and the black lentils salad was very nice, but the carrot salad was mediocre, the grapes and onions were too cumbersome for us and the red cabbage and truffles (?!) was simply a weird combination.

Sweetbread Skewer

Having mixed feelings for the salads, we were happy that at least our skewers were not bad at all. A skewer of sweetbread was juicy, very well grilled and generally very good while a Beef Fillet skewer was nice but didn’t stand out.

Beef Fillet Skewer

Skipping the desserts (being afraid as desserts in Middle Eastern restaurants are not usually recommended), we decided that, although “The Brothers” presents a nice value-for-money, the attempt to bring the 80’s to our time didn’t succeed in this case. Though not really comparable, Haj Kahil (or Al Reda in Nazareth) is better suited for those who look for true Middle-Eastern food.

The Check Please (2 people)

2X Salads (including refill) – 44 NIS
Beef Fillet Skewer – 36 NIS
Sweetbread Skewer – 35 NIS
Soda Water – 10 NIS
Nestea (w/ refill) – 13 NIS

All in all: 138 NIS

Summary:

Food: Middle Eastern
Price: Medium
Location: Ibn Gabirol

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

2.5 Forks

Contact Details: The Brothers

Address:  12 Ibn Gabirol, Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6917171
Opening Hours:  Sunday – Saturday 12:00-Late
http://www.rest.co.il/sites/Default.asp?txtRestID=12031 (No English)

%d bloggers like this: