Archive for February, 2006

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Yoko Uno

February 23, 2006

Best Sushi in Israel award. This is an amazing restaurant, that sits firmly in our top five list.   The décor is well thought-out, with a nice collection of photography hanging on the walls, asian themed, with contrasting in and out of focus figures.  There is the option to sit at the sushi bar, at cozy tables – well spaced from each other, and the intimate sofa lounge seating with low tables.  Sitting at the bar allows you to watch the chefs whizzing about their business of rolling and cutting up the sushi, they do make time to chat though.  The service is excellent and the waiters are well versed in the offerings and the preparation involved. The menu has many fish and pasta dishes that are creative and tasty.  We come to Yoko Uno for the sushi, it is the best in Israel.  As we understand, from a friend working in the diamond district, the restaurant was started by a very wealthy diamond merchant, who fancies sushi, and needed a classy place to bring his clients.  He himself keeps kosher, and found nothing in the area suited his needs, so, decided to start the restaurant himself. Also, If you are lucky enough to live or work near the Boursa in Ramat Gan, you can order take out or delivery.

Go ahead- drool over these pictures, (they are coming!)that is what they are meant for.
 

We started with the appetizer sampler for one, and wished we had ordered for two, later when we saw the larger variety presented to the table next to us.  This included tempura shitake mushrooms, tempura salmon, a breaded and fried fish and a spring roll.  We savored every bite and it was the perfect way to whet our appetite.  My husband ordered a Choya plum wine, which we’d had here before and enjoyed immensely.  Served in a martini glass, the wine is chilled and a seductive little litchi fruit sits at the bottom of the frosty glass.  It is delicious and we highly recommend it.

Then came our sushi.  There is the combo platter called John and Yoko, meant for two, but we go for the family platter.  No shame there, we were ordering this as our dinner, not an appetizer and we are big sushi lovers.  The selection in the combo platter is perfect.  There is a tempura roll- with cooked fish and crusted in black and white sesame seeds, it has an extra crispness to it and has its own sauce dribbled over it.  There are six pieces of nigiri, with tuna, salmon, and sea bream.  There is a variety of maki rolls.  This, for us at least, is the perfect amount of sushi, we are completely full, save for a little bit of room reserved for dessert. 

Bringing us to the end of our meal, we asked for the dessert sampler.  The waitress explained that this changes all the time.  On this particular night it included, passionfruit sorbet, halva wantons, a pear poached in wine and two chocolate truffles. We nibbled together, rotating in a clockwise manner around the plate, until there was just smudges of sauce and sorbet left. 

Delicious.  The prices here are very fair, and worth every agura.  We are already looking forward to our next visit, may it be soon.

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Darna

February 23, 2006

Make reservations for a dinner here!  We walked in off of the street and were very disappointed when the hostess said the kitchen was closed.  Seeing the looks on our faces, she said “just a minute,” checked with the kitchen staff and said they could accommodate us.  We did feel a bit rushed while ordering when she reminded us several times of the “favor” they were doing for us.

This is one of the priciest restaurants in Jerusalem.  There are some prix fixe menus that might very well be worth it, depending on your appetite and crowd.  We felt we ordered well without.  The bill for four, with a round of beers came to approx. 900 shekels. Check it out at http://www.darna.co.il

Start with the mixed salads selection.  Two kinds of marinated olives, Moroccan carrot salad, rose water cuke salad, rose water tomato relish, beet salad, beet green spread, potato salad and hot green peppers. In the middle sits a round homemade whole wheat bread sliced into thick wedges. Salt and white pepper sit in cute mini tagines on the table.

Follow the waitresses’ advice! She knows what she is talking about and guided us through the menu.  We were beyond grateful ordering the advised pastilla fassia filled with Cornish hen.  This could have been a dessert, we were all licking our chops and seriously considering ordering more, but hesitated knowing there was much more food coming.  This little meat pie is crusted in a perfectly crisp phyllo shell with top.  It is filled beautifully seasoned meat, stringy and in chunks, not ground.  Then the kicker- it was topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon.  At first I passed on it, thinking it was too weird.  This is a must.  I would go back and just order a couple of these!

We also ordered what she said was their best main dish, the mechoui.(310 shekel for 2)  The best cut of lamb(roasted baby lamb shoulder) with crispy potatoes and almonds.  This takes a while to prepare but is well worth the wait.  We also ordered an atlas mountain couscous with beef and vegetables (100 shekel).  We shied away from the tagines, which were probably excellent, and any stews with fruits.

Dessert was incredible!  Fancy – candied dried fruits and a plate of different traditional Moroccan cookies, and a third plate was a pile of what must have been toasted/probably fried individual sheets of phyllo with syrup and powdered sugar on top.   We looked down at our watches when we finished and realized it was just about midnight, and we were the only diners left in the restaurant, so we finished up with the mint tea and the bill.  Always close a meal like this with the mint tea (10 shekel a person), it just borders too sweet and gives completion. 

There was tons of food, and we took home leftovers that will provide a round 2 at home.  I am sure this food is far tastier when it is fresh out of the oven.  More than that, we will not be seated in the breathtaking décor of this Moroccan establishment.  The furniture is all imported from Morocco, and they didn’t skip a beat.  Everything is upholstered in rich thick textiles, there are ottomans, sofa seating along the walls, private rooms with inlaid tile tables, rainted wood furnitures.  The floor is all Moroccan tiles.  The lighting is all lanterns, with tons of little cutouts, so the light plays ornately throughout the room, on the walls and ceilings with patterns.  We will eat leftovers at home and dream of a future visit.