Jan 27, 2012
Jan 18, 2012
Last night, TasteTLV had the unique pleasure of attending a private tasting at Nir Zuk's newest venture, Ole Tzion, in Yaffo. The space of this new Tel Aviv restaurant actually used to be Shakuf, which unfortunately closed down a few months ago. Zuk quickly took over the beautiful, culinary expanse and in conjunction with Chef Natalie, created his own vision for the space. Other than decorative touches, not much has changed, which was a wise move by Zuk, because the open kitchen, presented like a stage, is what makes this space exciting, interesting, and stimulating. The bar seating that encircles the kitchen is lit, providing a effervescent background for each dish. Beautiful rocks fill the lining between the bar and fill the sinks and glass displays in the bathroom. The organic essence of rocks and branches is mixed with a sense of playful modernity, as one wall is painted pepto bismol pink and in the corner sits a birdcage fitting for Big Bird himself. The upstairs seating provides a birds eye view into the kitchen. The tables and bar are adorned with antique silverware embellished with red and gold prints, adding somewhat of a Jaffa spirit.
There is nothing life changing on the menu. Simple Arab/Israeli food found in any "home-style" restaurant. Zuk is actually not the main actor in the kitchen, he's more like the director. Zuk decided to give full culinary control to his protegee, Chef Natalie. This is her first attempt at creating and executing a menu, a daunting task for a any chef, especially one with no classical culinary training. Her modesty, perhaps her shyness is apparent in dishes as they lack any elements of bold spices or flavors and don't apply any complex technique. The main elements of the dishes, do maintain there natural flavors and this is especially good because you can taste the high quality of the proteins. If you try anything on the menu, make sure it's one of their beef dishes. It's one of the best quality beef I have had in this country, which is not a surprise, as Zuk get's most of his beef from his brother who has a private farm in the North. You could taste purity in the beef as flavors are both earthy and succulent. The simple dishes do come with a simple price tag, though, nothing on the menu costs more than 65NIS.
|Shrimp with tomato coulis|
|Zuk's famous kufte|
|Fennel and Tomato salad with yogurt sauce|
|Sea Bass and Chickpeas|
Jan 6, 2012
Standard fare for late night eating is to drown yourself in a greasy slice of pizza or in Canada to indulge in a poutine (http://www.montrealpoutine.com/). In the amazing city of Tel Aviv you can do much better than that.
When the time comes to leave the bar or club you can dine on a meal that is a cut above the commonplace late night grub and it will greatly improve the quality of the remainder of your evening.
My two favorite spots for late night food, conveniently located across the street from one another at the corner of Allenby and Rothschild, are Moses burger and Benedicts. At Moses you can delight in a sumptuous burger and at Benedicts you can get your breakfast in the truly wee hours of the morning.
Putting these two restaurants above rest are the late night price specials that run from midnight to 8am. At Moses you can get a burger and a side for 38 shecks. During the day this comes out to 72 shecks (so irritating that you have to pay for side and burger separately). At Benedicts you can get the Benedict Joe, an eggs benny with the addition of ground beef for 38 sheks (it usually costs 62). Even your addled 3am brain will be able to appreciate these awesome deals.
The main attraction at Moses is the art burger. A patty made with the combination of beef, lamb and veal topped with homemade pepper ketchup. At Moses they will not put any extra toppings on the Art burger, it is always served as they deem it to taste best. Burgers are a food that has been monopolized by the fast food industry and are often considered in the lower echelons of eating choices. It is very nice to see a restaurant standing behind its product.
If you can’t live without bacon and cheese get the classic burger and customize that patty as much as you want.
(bacon cheese burger)
All day breakfasts is one of the best concepts around and at Benedicts they do it right. The warm bread breakfast with chocolate spread, jam and butter that comes with every meal is worth going for alone. The flagship eggs Benny, as you would expect, is a mouth-watering choice. The eggplant and feta shakshuka is my personal favorite.
Chew Cheaply and Smile on.