At the top of the Carlton Hotel, right on Tel Aviv’s shoreline, sits Blue Sky, renowned chef Meir Adoni’s first venture into kosher cuisine.
If I could describe Blue Sky in one word, it would be “beautiful.” Yes, the food was delicious, too, but first impressions are lasting, and the gorgeous view of the Tel Aviv skyline made an immediate impression as I stepped out of the elevator on the 15th floor.
Walking past the fully stocked bar, through glass doors and onto the terrace, just below the Carlton’s pool, my dining partner and I were mesmerized by the sparkling lights of the city on one side of the building and the dark emptiness of the night sea on the other.
The atmosphere was just right, with dim, romantic lighting and quiet, jazzy music, along with a combination of ultramodern and vintage-style furniture on the wood floors. Altogether, it made for a comfortable and intimate feeling.
The food was just as impressivelooking and, for the most part, had the taste to back it up. Adoni’s menu is a celebration of unique ingredients and flavor combinations that, while pricy, come in large enough portions to leave you very satisfied.
I started my dinner with Acquerello Risotto (NIS 63), which combines the Italian rice dish with green and white asparagus, Parmesan cheese, green butter and a raw egg yolk on top, something I had never tried before.
The yolk added a surprising creaminess to the dish, while the Parmesan gave it some bite. The different flavors mixed well together in a dish that was delicious and filling enough to be a main course.
My dining partner, who had a salad that combined salmon sashimi, black quinoa, mangoes, almonds and cucumbers, was less satisfied with the combination. Although salmon usually has a strong taste, it was diluted by the other ingredients. The dish was also surprisingly spicy.
For the main course, my dining partner had scalded baby grouper (NIS 161) with porcini mushrooms, pine nuts, root vegetables and truffles.
The dish was very rich with plenty of sauce and would be great for a fan of mushrooms, as their taste was a strong part of the dish.
I had the Atlantic Bar fillet with a black quinoa crust (NIS 148), which gave the fish a nice crunchy consistency. It came with beetroot spaghetti, which is not spaghetti at all but beets in the form of spaghetti. They were covered in butter and white wine with blue cheese and walnuts, which complemented the fish with its tanginess and crunchiness. I highly recommend this dish.
We had wine with dinner, choosing from Blue Sky’s large selection, which consists of mostly Israeli wines but also some from the US and Italy, including the popular Bartenura Moscato. We decided to stay patriotic and have Israeli white wines – a Gewürztraminer from Tulip Winery (NIS 37) and Sauvignon Blanc from Tzora Winery (NIS 50).
Like the other dishes in the meal, the fresh bread that came with our food combined unique flavors, such as sourdough with coriander seeds, rolls with anise, and rye bread with raisins. All were delicious and served with a tasty spicy aioli sauce and a small cucumber and feta salad.
As for dessert, it was as beautiful as it was delicious. The two desserts we tried, Earth and lemon tart (NIS 63 each), were arranged on the plate to look like nature scenes.
Earth consisted of chocolate, cardamom, caramelized apples, white chocolate, truffle ganache and resin sauce. Not sure what to expect, I was very surprised when it arrived at the table looking like a little forest on a plate. Bits of chocolate, white and brown, were crumbled up to look like soil on the ground, and the apples and other chocolates were shaped like little mushrooms and trees. Once I stuck my spoon in and ruined the work of art, it still tasted great.
The lemon tart was thin and long and came with surprises of its own, such as licorice ice cream, a cool, unexpected flavor, and olive oil dust that complemented the lemon flavor.
There were also Italian meringue, citrus marmalade, rhubarb, candied olives and mint on the plate, making it a very funky dessert.
Not enough can be said about the service at Blue Sky. The wait staff was well informed, made excellent recommendations and served the food promptly, politely and with a smile.
If Blue Sky is in your regular budget or if you’re looking to splurge on a special occasion, the top of the Carlton Hotel is a great place to go for a gorgeous view, cool-looking food and flavors to surprise your palate.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Carlton Hotel Tel Aviv 10 Eliezer Peri St., Tel Aviv
Sunday – Thursday from 6:30 p.m.until the last customer leaves