A gourmet French restaurant in the heart of Tel Aviv is hard to resist, so when an invitation arrived to sample the food at Trocadero, it was something one accepted with alacrity.
The name conjures up the Parisian metro station, the one next to the Eiffel Tower, and the place could easily be in the seventh arrondissment, although it’s actually on Nahalat Binyamin Street, the mecca of Israeli dressmakers, where the material and textile shops outnumber any others.
The small tables, seating two or four, are dressed in crisp white linen with napkins to match. Situated on a corner, the restaurant has large glass windows on two sides so one can enjoy the meal and watch the life of this colorful corner of Tel Aviv passing by at the same time.
The owner, Gerard Halfon, is there to greet all his guests, speaking a passable Hebrew, English or French.
His wife, Ariella, is most comfortable speaking French, but her warm smile makes up for any language deficiencies. They are new immigrants from Paris who made aliya less than a year ago. In Paris they owned and ran the Chateaubriand, a well-known kosher restaurant that has been there for 40 years and now has one of their sons at the helm. The couple decided that the time had come to bring kosher gourmet food to Israel, and this luncheon, attended by several Israeli food writers, was an attempt to convey what Trocadero is all about.
We were brought so many different starters, that it’s hard to know where to begin. There was a piquant tuna mousse with aioli sauce, thinly sliced salmon carpaccio and crispy homemade bourekas filled with potato and fresh peas served with a creamy and slightly sweet tehina. But the pièce de résistance was the paté de foie served in various forms, which Halfon proudly declared to be the spécialité de la maison – and indeed it was. Creamy, redolent with herbs and spices, melting in the mouth, it is one of the best pates you are ever likely to taste. A trio of liver paté, served in different forms, all aesthetically presented, costs NIS 95. It came accompanied with the inevitable very sweet garnish, in this case a caramelized pear, served with delicious homemade brioches.
We were also treated to a sample of beef carpaccio, very thin and flavored with fresh herbs. Then it was time for Halfon to set up his cooking apparatus next to the table so we could watch him prepare the next course – pieces of very soft duck served in a “cream” sauce, which he created before our eyes. Using a reduction of wine and what must have been non-dairy cream, it looked and tasted authentic.
By this time, consuming more of the delicious food was becoming a problem, so he brought us small cocktail glasses of raspberry sorbet to freshen the palate. It did the trick, and we were then able to sample the main course – a medallion of beef, very soft and not rare, served with a circle of potato puree and fresh spring vegetables. The black pepper sauce complemented the dish perfectly (NIS 125).
And, of course, we had to try the dessert, which was a simple but delicious confection consisting of a crispy sable base topped with a little crème patissiere and fresh raspberries.
Trocadero offers a reasonably priced two-course business lunch starting at NIS 45.
The restaurant is open from Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight. It is closed on Friday but open on Saturday night.
I highly recommend this restaurant for an excellent and glatt kosher meal.
Supporting new immigrants in a business venture is a positive thing to do – and you’ll get a great meal, too.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Trocadero Kosher 39 Nahalat Binyamin Tel Aviv Tel: (03) 510-0308
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