Tag Archives: Israeli

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/

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The Disappointed Tourist – Herbert Samuel

2 Nov
Tel Aviv from the City Lookout Point of Azrieli

Tel Aviv from the City Lookout Point of Azrieli

This year, birthday came early. As Inbar headed off to Spain for a business trip (wait for the post…) she decided to celebrate my birthday by doing a touristic tour in the wonderful city of Tel Aviv. Starting off at the city lookout point of Azrieli Towers, we had some great views of Tel Aviv, the neighboring cities and the sea. A bicycle ride throughout the Tel Aviv boardwalk led to the mystic Montifiore graveyard where all the famous Tel Aviv founders are rested. The final spot at that Friday morning was the chef restaurant of Yonathan Rushfeld – Herbert Samuel.

Famous chef Rushfeld, is the head chef of three different restaurants across Tel Aviv (Tapas Echad Haam, Yavne Montifiore and Herbert Samuel) and also appears as a judge in the Master Chef TV show. While we visited the other two restaurants, Herbert Samuel is considered as Rushfeld’s flagship, one of Tel Aviv best restaurants and a tourist favorite. That in mind, you can understand what were our expectations from the Friday birthday lunch.

Olive oil with balsamic vinegar

Olive oil with balsamic vinegar

Though you can hardly have a view of the sea, the large glass font window allows nice lighting around the place, especially at the fabulous large bar facing the front. Arriving on Friday noon, we knew there’s a good option of an affordable fixed price lunch. The set menu named “Discover Herbert Samuel” includes five courses which we took along with a “regular” Friday lunch set menu.

Eggplant and Tulum Cheese

Eggplant and Tulum Cheese

Throughout the lunch we felt the food was good. We can’t say anything bad about it, really. It’s just that there was very little special about it and most of the food can be found at the same quality in a handful of places around town.

Chopped Raw Grouper and Tuna

Chopped Raw Grouper and Tuna

Take the eggplant and Tulum cheese starter for example. Yes, Tulum cheese gives a nice kick to a light starter. Even though, the Baladi Eggplant is such a boring starter that every restaurant in Tel Aviv serves that event the cheese couldn’t wow us in any way. The other starter, chopped raw Grouper and Tuna fish on top of eggplant cream, was better and had very delicate flavors, but again it was nothing special.

Soup of Jerusalem Artichoke, Chestnuts and Truffles

Soup of Jerusalem Artichoke, Chestnuts and Truffles

Things became way better when a foamy soup of Jerusalem Artichoke, chestnuts and Truffles arrived to the table. The surprisingly large dish was exactly what you would expect from a chef restaurant – original, bold and simply excellent, and emphasized the disappointment of the rest of the lunch.

“Torn” Pasta with Crystal Shrimps

“Torn” Pasta with Crystal Shrimps

Seared Grouper Fish

Seared Grouper Fish

A “torn” pasta with Crystal Shrimps had some nice fresh zucchinis and tomatoes but was a little blend and didn’t exposed the quality of the Shrimps, which was a shame. Together came a seared Grouper fish that was cooked great, but was accompanied with a zucchini and garlic paste which lacked flavors and didn’t suit the fish at all.

Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops

The next two dishes came as we started to feel a bit full yet still looking for some fine courses. Again, it was just lacked a bit. A course of Lamb chops was OK but way (way) below the great Lamb Chops at Haim Cohen, while what was labeled as “Chopped Rib-Eye Steak” turned out to be just a burger. Luckily this burger was very good and was accompanied with a very tasty red wine sauce.

Chopped Rib-Eye Steak

Chopped Rib-Eye Steak

The dessert was a joy to the eyes and the palate. A Pistachio ice-cream and fresh chopped tropical fruits accompanied with Mascarpone sauce filled Baklavas and Pistachio was a very cheerful and refreshing dish.

A Pistachio ice-cream and fresh chopped tropical fruits

A Pistachio ice-cream and fresh chopped tropical fruits

Herbert Samuel might be the tourist culinary showcase of Tel Aviv and Israel. The food is good, we can’t say it isn’t. Even though, as a gourmet dining choice it is definitely not the best one.

Note: only days later we discovered the restaurant billed us for a bread basket brought to the table while it was never mentioned nor they asked us if we would like it.

The Check Please (2 people)

Bread – 19 NIS
Friday Set Lunch – 88 NIS
Discover Herbert Samuel – 160 NIS
Pepsi X2 – 24 NIS
Soda Water X2 – 20 NIS
Pistachio Dessert – 42 NIS

All in all: 420 NIS

Summary

Food: Chef Restaurant

Price: Very Expensive (though an affordable Friday Lunch)
Location: Hayarkon Boardwalk

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale

3 Forks

 

Contact details: Herbert Samuel

Address: 6 Koifman st. Tel Aviv | Phone: 035166516

Expensive Taste – Jaffa Tel Aviv

3 Oct

It has been a while since we have visited an elite chef restaurant in Tel Aviv. We do get excited by food, but generally speaking, chef restaurants usually just don’t pay off. Though we have tried Messa restaurant (and though it received a very high score), we still haven’t tried many restaurants in that level such as Herbert Samuel, Refael, Mul Yam or Yoezer Wine Bar. It was rather the new restaurant of celebrity chef Haim Cohen, Jaffa Tel Aviv, that drew us for a visit.

Jaffa Tel Aviv

Jaffa Tel Aviv

Jaffa Tel Aviv has opened its gates about a year ago, when Haim Cohen came back to the chef restaurant scene after years of absence, generating a lot of expectations and buzz around it. Finally, along with our newly wed friends, Keren & Samuel, we went to check out how a chef restaurant is really like.

The Open Kitchen

The Open Kitchen

At first look, it is indeed expensive. Very expensive. The starters will cost you between 55 and 65 NIS while for a main course you’ll spend between 90 and 180 NIS. Is it worth it?
The ambiance is definitely our kind. There is a lot of noise around the restaurant, the kitchen is widely open for you to see anything, and generally the atmosphere is not super serious (no white table cloths). The food is somewhat unstable, counting in the price. Some dishes really justified it, and some really didn’t.

Red Tuna Fish Tartar

Red Tuna Fish Tartar

Take a starter of Red Tuna Fish Tartar for example. According to the menu, the tartar includes eggplants and “swims” in “off-road” tomatoes. Unfortunately the only taste we could feel of was the tomato paste. You could have removed the fish and the eggplant and no one would have noticed. The paste itself felt as if we could have made it at home, so generally, it was really a lousy dish.

Beef Carpaccio

Beef Carpaccio

From that point it was rather an uphill as the other starter, Beef Carpaccio with, again, “off-road” tomatoes (didn’t notice the difference with cherry tomatoes) and black-eyed peas, was very good. The beef itself was very good and together with on-the-house excellent focaccia bread, we liked it.

Gnocchi and Spinach with “Hameiri” Cheese

Gnocchi and Spinach with “Hameiri” Cheese

The main courses started giving a great fight to the prices as every bite brought out some enjoyable sounds. A dish of Gnocchi and Spinach with “Hameiri” Cheese was very good but was very small. The Filet of Beef, which was escorted by cauliflower cream, black lentils and bone marrow was delicious. The beef itself was from an excellent quality and grilled to the perfect level, and the cauliflower cream was very special.

Filet of Beef

Filet of Beef

Lamb chops, pilled figs, eggplant and fresh Za’atar

Lamb chops, pilled figs, eggplant and fresh Za’atar

It was rather the third dish that drew the most compliments (maybe because we took two of it). A very Israeli main course of Lamb chops, pilled figs, eggplant and fresh Za’atar was simply amazing. Unlike those “off-road” tomatoes, this truly felt as an off-road dish, coming from the Galilee Mountains. The Lamb chops were the best we ever had, and the combination of figs and fresh Za’atar caused some pleasure reactions around the table.

“Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate”

“Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate”

We really wanted the desserts to drive us forward the hill and continue the climb but it was the ups and downs that carried on through the last part of the dinner.
On the one corner, a dessert called “Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate”, which contained a Makaron Chocolate cookie, Chocolate fondant, Chocolate ice cream, Chocolate chunks and, of course, Chocolate sauce to dip it all. It was very sweet and very good. Recommended for Chocolate enthusiasts.
On the other corner, we took the waiter’s recommendation – Coconut Crème Brule. The Brule was very boring and didn’t top any of the other Brule’s we had around town.

Coconut Crème Brule

Coconut Crème Brule

It is very tough to rate Jaffa Tel Aviv according to that dinner. On the one hand, the main courses were superb and gave us a true chef restaurant feeling, allowing us to overlook the price for a few minutes. On the other, the starters and the desserts were a series of ups and downs that such a high class restaurant simply cannot take. We agreed that although a good restaurant, we won’t go back soon.

The Check Please (4 people)

Bread – OTH
Sira Châteaux Golan Red Wine (bottle) – 205 NIS
Beef Carpaccio – 52 NIS
Tuna Tartar – 65 NIS
Gnocchi – 90 NIS
Filet of Beef – 170 NIS
Lamb Chops (X2) – 360 NIS
Soda water – 12 NIS
Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate – 50 NIS
Coconut Brule – 40 NIS

All in all: 1044 NIS

 Summary

Food: Israeli Fusion
Price: Very (Very) expensive
Location: Yigal Alon Street

The Cizer Kobrinsky Scale

3.5 Forks

 

Contact details: Jaffa Tel Aviv

Address: 98 Yigal Alon st., Tel Aviv | Phone: 03-6249249

Turning Tables – HaShulchan (Table)

4 Jun

A while ago, three months ago to be precise, Adi, Elad and I have decided to check the “Table”, the new restaurant of the young and promising chef Omer Miler. I admit, it has been a while but I can still remember the good and the bad.

Though we came time, the restaurant wasn’t ready for us. After several minutes of waiting to the hostess (that didn’t give us too much attention), we were seated in a “Table”.

We start with Egg Schnitzel – the restaurant most famous dish – Eggs coated in bread crumbs and pan fried as a schnitzel. The egg was served with Garam masala, shallots, green onion & lime vinaigrette dressing. I have a weakness for soft boiled egg with liquid yolk; as such this dish should have been the perfect match for me – but it wasn’t. I can’t say the dish wasn’t tasty but in my humble opinion the flavors did not really combine together.

Egg Schnitzel

Egg Schnitzel

In addition we took “Iceberg Salad” – In this case, the chef decided on a broad interpretation to meaning of salad as we were only served Iceberg lettuce with some sauce on it.

Grilled Calamari & Cheese Tortellini

Grilled Calamari & Cheese Tortellini

For main course Elad and I took the same dish – Grilled Calamari that wasn’t very remarkable. Adi took Cheese Tortellini which according to the menu should have contained mushrooms; in practice the mushrooms weren’t there at all. The waitress response was “it’s there – you just can’t notice it”.

Strawberry & Malabi

Strawberry & Malabi

For desert we took fresh strawberries that were served on top of mascarpone cheese; we have received complimentary Roseta Malalbi that was served with date honey, palm and almonds. Both of the deserts were light and tasty.

When summarizing our visit, although it was a while ago, I would say that big disappointments come from high expectations. Omer Miler has set a high bar but in our opinion did not pulled it off.

The Check Please (4 people)
Egg Schnitzel – 28 NIS
Iceberg Salad – 44 NIS
Grilled Calamari – 2X68 NIS
Cheese Tortellini  – 62 NIS
Colombia Gewurztraminer – 110 NIS
Strawberry – 36 NIS
Malabi – 36 NIS (on the house)
Espresso – 10NIS
Cappuccino – 12 NIS

All in all – 438 NIS

Summary:

Food: New Israeli Kitchen
Price: High
Location: Rothschild

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3 Forks

Contact Details: Table

Address:  73 Rotchild st., Tel Aviv| Phone:  03-5257171 | Daily 12:00-Late

Social Justice – The Mizlala (Eatery)

9 Sep
The summer of 2011 will (hopefully) be remembered for the uncompromising fight of the middle class in Israel against the economic policy of Prime Minister Netanyahu, that caused Israel to have almost the biggest gaps between the rich and the poor in the western world. The people of Israel demand social justice.

Adoni in Action

The Summer of 2011 will also be remembered as the summer in which Meir Adoni opened the Mizlala – his middle-class restaurant. Adoni, well recognized and appreciated chef had become famous after cooking at the top fine-dining restaurants in Israel (Including Catit).

Peanut & Salt on the Bar

When Adoni opened this restaurant he stated that he aims to get to the young middle-calss crowd in Israel serving good food in reasonable prices. When we arrived to the restaurant we have realized we were the only couple that fits his measures.
As a place that suppose to act as an eatery (Mizlala), one would expect to encounter a loud and dense place with a chaotic atmosphere. Nevertheless, the design of the Mizalal is quite “clean” and sterile. Eatery with a high level design. To our surprise, Adoni was standing right behind the bar constructing our dishes.

Palestinian Tartar

We started with Palestinian tartar – if this is the meat you can get in Gaza, we can’t wait to have peace… Chopped rump beef, Tehini, Pine nuts, Yogurt, Burned eggplant paste & Cumin (just too much of it).  Great twist on the traditional tartar that usually comes with a French scent.

Mullet Ceviche

We continued with another starter (Although the menu is not divided to entrees and main courses) – Ceviche of Mullet fish that was served on top of some kind of Asian salad. This dish was good but had resembled to too many other dishes we have eaten in the past in restaurants such as the Thai House and The Officers Club.

Seared Chicen Liver

For main course we have shared (not too big of a dish) the Seared Chicken Liver that was served on top of Polenta, Forest Mushrooms & Asparagus. This dish was amazing and we felt as if it was melting in our mouth.

Vanilla Brulee

For desert, we took Vanilla Brulee that had nothing to do with Brulee. It was a thick layer of Vanilla that was topped (and not burned) with a layer apricot that was topped with layer of Crumble. This layer was also topped – with a scoop of berries ice-cream – Too Much!! when the bartender asked us if we enjoy the dish we had to answer that this was the least good dish in that dinner. The bartender replied that this is Adoni’s interpretation to the Creme Brulee -we thought he was too creative.

Summarizing this experience we were a bit confused. It was (mostly) a good meal in a (sort of) reasonable price, nevertheless we could not identify the middle class people among the crowd. So where is the social justice?

The Check Please (2 people)
2 X Gewurztraminer – 72 NIS
Palestinian tartar – 55 NIS
Mullet Ceviche – 63 NIS
Seared Chicen Liver – 53 NIS
Vanilla Brulee – 41 NIS

All in all: 284 NIS

Summary
Food: Israeli Chef Restaurant
Price: Medium-Expensive
Location: Nachlat Binyamin

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale

4 Forks

Contact Details: Mizlala
Address: 57 Nachlat Binyamin st, Tel Aviv | Phone: 03 5505 566
Opening Hours:  Sunday – Saturday 19:00-01:00
http://www.mizlala.co.il

At the vineyard – Erez

26 Feb

The number one fan of the blog, Adi, had suggested us to try a restaurant that we can rank as less than “medium” in the price level category. As a response Elad had suggested we all go to Erez in Kerem HaTeimanim (the Yemenite Vineyard) neighborhood.

Kerem HaTeimanim

So we did. We all met in the Kerem on one Friday noon. The place wasn’t like any other restaurant we have visited; when we thought about how to define it, the first word we could think of was a mess: no queue, no chairs, missing dishes and Elad acting as our waiter. Yet, despite this unflattering introduction, we liked it a lot.

We had to push some elbows in order to get a table. A couple’s fight in front of us was the distraction we needed to get ourselves seated. We were missing two chairs and our requests fell on deaf ears. Eventually, it was Elad’s initiative that made us sit – he just went inside and brought two more chairs together with the menus.

Masabcha

Adi took Masabcha, Which is very similar to Hummus, but thanks to a quick bet between her and Shahar we found out that the main difference between these two lies in the chickpeas’ tenderness. The Masabcha was very good and in Adi’s words “a respectful representation of Masabcha”.

Meatballs with Mujaddara & French fries

Elad had built our expectations regarding the Ptitim. Unfortunately by the time we got there it was all finished. Shahar & he took meatballs with Mujaddara & French fries as sides. The meatballs were very good and well seasoned. Inbar took grilled pullet skewer alongside with Mujaddara and vegetables salad.

And now, for the trick – this whole meal, 4 people including drinks, cost us ONLY 111 NIS! Getting these prices in Tel Aviv is a real deal. We really can’t remember the last time we have eaten such a meal at these prices. The place was quite a mess but we had good food, nice atmosphere and great company.

The Cizer-Kobrinsky Scale:

3.5 Forks

The check pleases (4 People):
Masabcha with Egg – 15 NIS
2X Meatballs + side dishes – 50 NIS
Grilled Pullet Skewer + Side dishes – 22 NIS
4 X Soft Drinks – 24 NIS

All in all: 111 (!) NIS

Summary:

Food:  Homemade Oriental /Israeli
Price:  Low
Location: Kerem HaTeimanim (the Yemenite Vineyard).

Contact details: Erez
Address:  28 Nachlieli St., Tel Aviv |
Opening Hours:  Sunday- Thursday – 10:00-18:00 | Friday 10:00-15:00

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