The Dan Accadia in Herzliya Pituah is launching a series of festive dinners to be held at the hotel between July 21 and August 21. Three leading chefs from nonkosher restaurants have been invited to prepare three-course dinners in their signature style, but the food served will be strictly kosher.
The chefs asked to rise to this interesting challenge are Victor Galoger of Cloalis in Ramat Gan, who will be in charge of Monday night dinners; Yusuf Hanna from Magdalena in Tiberias, who will be featured on Tuesdays; and Tamar Cohen-Tsedek from Cucina Tamar in Tel Aviv, who will work her magic on Wednesdays. For the rest of the week, Accadia chef Ariel Porat will preside over the kitchen, producing his own brand of Mediterranean cuisine. The dinners are served on the terrace of the hotel overlooking the ocean, with balmy breezes relieving the sultry heat of the evening.
The initiative has been launched under the title “Cuisine from Coast to Coast,” and the management of the Accadia invited a group of food writers to try out the experience. A reception line of the Dan chain big guns greeted the guests. Accadia general manager Dani Schneider, food and beverage manager Hail Spiegel and general manager of the chain Rafi Sadeh made sure we all felt welcome.
Each celebrity chef was responsible for a separate course. The starters fell to Galoger of Cloalis, an expensive and popular seafood restaurant in the Diamond Exchange area of Ramat Gan. Faced with the challenge of preparing only kosher hors d’oeuvres, he rose splendidly to the occasion.
There was a smoked eggplant salad served with crisped aubergine slices, root vegetable vinaigrette with burghul and black lentils and tuna tartare with avocado. Cordova-style gazpacho was served in thimblesized cups and came garnished with melon balls and grapes impaled on a bamboo stick. Everything was good, but I especially liked the carpaccio of sea bass with spicy dressing. It was sliced paper-thin and melted in the mouth.
The second course was a plate of green homemade spaghetti with a rich mushroom sauce – one of the dishes popular at Cucina Tamar known for its Italian cuisine. It was excellent and none the worse for not having Parmesan sprinkled over it.
Chef Hana of Magdalena on the Kinneret produced meaty and tender lamb chops served on a healthy bed of whole wheat, with tasty spinach and garlic sauces. The generous portion piled one chop on another in a tempting mound, and before long not much remained but the bones.
Finally, chef Porat presented an array of wonderful desserts – petits fours, chocolate truffles, Turkish delight and some ice-cold sliced sabras, a fruit one does not often see at elegant dinners.
The wine served was the Dan house wine, King David Red, 2011 from the Binyamina Winery. It’s a private blend made especially for the Dan chain and costs NIS 120. To cite the label: “Deep red, ripe fruit aromas enhanced by hints of roasted oak, a rich and complex flavor and a long delectable finish.”
At one point in the evening, Galoger came out of the kitchen to meet the guests and spoke of the idyllic cooperation between Jews and Arabs, at least in his kitchen.
“In spite of what is going on around us,” he said, “we work together, and it gives me hope and satisfaction.”
The Dan Accadia is to be congratulated on this initiative, bringing the work of top chefs around Israel not normally available to the kosher diner. Galoger admitted that he had found the challenge interesting and was surprised to discover that kosher food could be just as good as the other kind.
The dinners begin at 7 p.m. and cost NIS 245, which includes an initial drink.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
122 Ramat Yam, Herzliya Pituah
Tel: (09) 959-7070