When it comes to ordering a bottle of wine in a restaurant, even those who know about wine can benefit from a sommelier’s advice. Sommelier is the French term for “cellar master” or “wine steward.” He has tasted the items on the wine list and knows all the fancy names and technical data.
But being a good sommelier isn’t just about knowing every wine producer and vintage in the universe. It’s about pairing wine with food. In Israel, you’re not likely to meet a sommelier unless you’re at an upscale restaurant, so it came as a pleasant surprise to find one at Traklin, one of the many trendy eateries in Tel Aviv’s Nahlat Binyamin neighborhood.
Co-owner and sommelier Yossi Ben- Udis aims to bring wine “without the snob value that surrounds it,” which is an admirable goal. The extensive wine list is made up of wines from small local boutique wineries and is hand-picked by Ben-Udis Wine aside, Traklin was recently included on the top 100 most unusual restaurants in the world list thanks to its very romantic and unique “Meals from the movies” nights. During each session, Ben-Udis screens clips of food from well-known movies and serves each couple with that dish. Being both film and food buffs, my dining partner and I knew we were in for a treat.
The 11-meal course started off with a scene from Julie and Julia. This 2009 hit movie starred Meryl Streep and revolved around Julia Childs’s experiences in France, so naturally we were presented with a country French onion soup. The clear broth rich with caramelized onions was delicious. This was followed by a clip from the 2001 romantic comedy Martha’s Kitchen. We were presented with beef carpaccio accompanied by roasted vegetable antipasti. The meat was tender, delicately flavored and prepared with love, This was followed by a chicken liver pâté that was very rich and creamy, served with an onion confiture. Next up was a scene from The Mistress of Spices, which starred Dylan Mcdermott who falls for a beautiful Indian woman . This led to a serving of chicken curry in coconut. It was very tender, rich and full of superb flavors, and came with nutty basmati rice.
So far we were the pleased recipients of an array of delicious and, dare I say it, enticing cuisine, with each course accompanied by a wine of Ben-Udis’s choosing.
Being a Pixar fan, I gave a little yelp of joy as the next clip was from the delightful animated film Ratatouille.
We were presented with slices of entrecote with ratatouille vegetables, of course. This was followed by grilled chunks of sirloin mixed in a rocket salad with roast potatoes.
The final clip of the evening came from the deliciously decadent Chocolat. When dessert was brought out, I wanted to politely decline. It looked fabulous, but I didn’t want anything to interfere with the myriad of flavors that I had just experienced.
Thankfully, my dining partner was game, so we had some fruit sorbet and Belgian chocolate mousse.
For the everyman looking for a classy and unique night out, Traklin’s “Meals from the movies” is a solid choice. The food is high-end ordinary fare, served with style. Don’t expect adventure or exotic foods you haven’t tried before. But do expect food you know, and expect it to taste great. And expect to impress your date.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Traklin (Not kosher)
41 Nahlat Binyamin, Tel Aviv
“Meals from the movies” costs NIS 185 per person.
Booking is advised.