There is no question that the nightlife in and around Mahaneh Yehuda has changed dramatically in the past year, but until recently there were no high-end meat restaurants.
Jacko’s Street, tucked away on a side street off Agrippas, offers an eclectic, vibrant kosher menu in a relaxed and fun environment.
Opening a restaurant together had always been a dream for childhood friends Rafi Revivo, Yotam Nissim and Zakai Hooja.
Revivo and Nissim have been in the management side of the restaurant industry for many years, while chef Hooja was busy working at the Kadosh, Canela and Lara restaurants, among others. For Hooja, the streets around the shuk are the logical location for his first restaurant, as he grew up in the market, helping his father at the family fish stand.
The layout of Jacko’s Street allows all the diners to have a view of the open kitchen. In addition to tables on the main restaurant floor, there is an upper gallery, stools at the bar and five special bar seats overlooking the chef’s preparation area reserved for those ordering the tasting menu (NIS 300).
My dining companion and I chose to stick with dishes from the main menu. As is often the case, the starters were the highlight for us. We loved the carpaccio salad (NIS 56), a tantalizing combination of roast beef, beef carpaccio, cranberries, glazed pecans and a Dijon aioli dressing that provided the perfect kick to the dish. The description on the menu teased us with a poached egg and hearts of lettuce that did not appear, but the dish was no less tasty for it.
We also loved the salmon ceviche tartare (NIS 52) with cucumbers, melon and nigella seeds, which comes with the option to add a wasabi sauce and/or shallot vinaigrette. The dish was flavorful and refreshing as it was, but for me the wasabi sauce gave it an extra push.
Our third highlight was the sashimi (NIS 52), served with charred eggplant, shallots and pine nuts. The menu said it would be served with raw tehina, but it actually came with delicious sweet sauce. The chef’s artistic creativity in presentation more than made up for his creative license with the menu.
While we both enjoyed the roasted pepper focaccia (NIS 38) served with eggplant, tapenade and sun-dried tomatoes, it was heavy, hard to cut and unnecessary, given the delicious complimentary house bread we received when we arrived.
For the main course, we devoured the whole fish baked in a stone oven (NIS 118). The sea bream (denis) came stuffed with tabouleh and covered with a lemon sauce and roasted root vegetables. All the fresh flavors worked well together, and there was a tenderness to a whole fish, which is hard to achieve in a filet.
In general, the three meat main course we tried had good elements to them, but we felt they needed some finessing. The chicken livers sautéed in beef stock and tea leaves (NIS 68) served with sweet potato and goose fat was a nice variation on typical liver dishes and the livers were cooked very well, but the goose fat seemed to give the sweet potato a strange flavor and did not work together. I loved the smoked breast of duck sautéed in caramelized onions and mushrooms (NIS 88) but did not understand why it was served on top of focaccia bread. Served with a vegetable, it would have been a great dish, as the duck was perfectly pink and the mushrooms neither too crispy nor soggy, although the duck fat could have been a bit crispier.
We also had the filet mignon (NIS 130) in a reduced red wine sauce served with potato confit and a black truffle. There was no evidence of said black truffle, and the potatoes were very plain and bland.
The steak was well cooked but lacked any real flavor, and although the sauce was a nice addition, there was far too little of it.
It is apparent that the ingredients are all fresh and the chef takes a lot of care in personally presenting each dish. If the ingredients are going to differ from what is listed on the menu, the restaurant should either have a changing daily menu or be less specific in the descriptions of the dishes to take these changes into consideration.
All in all, however, Jacko’s Street is a very strong contender and a great addition to the Jerusalem kosher restaurant scene, especially in the shuk area. I am excited to see how their menu develops in the coming months.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Mahaneh Yehuda, Jerusalem
Sun – Thurs. noon- 1 a.m. Fri. 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sat. 9 p.m. - 1 a.m.
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