The Israel Museum in Jerusalem may hold a lot of ancient relics in its halls, but one place where it combines old with new in a delicious and kosher way is its Modern Restaurant. Chef Yaniv Luzon has adopted the museum model and taken century-old Jerusalem recipes and, like modern-art masters, deconstructed them to make something new. An innovative menu that doesn’t break from local flavors.
On a sunny brisk Jerusalem afternoon, I headed out to see for myself.
As soon as we were seated we were served a bite-sized gourmet appetizer of tehina with roast peppers and olive oil, followed by a glass of Carmel Appellation Cabernet Sauvignon for myself and Upper Galilee Rose for my date.
With its industrial ambiance of wide, rustic wooden tables, comfortable funky chairs and a spacious terrace with a beautiful view of Jerusalem, Modern has succeeded in creating an international fine dining experience, living up to its slogan: “Contemporary Jerusalem Cuisine.”
The gracious waitress recommended the musrara antipasti with balsamic cream served on Urfan fine bread. The dish was excellent and the beets were the sweetest I have ever tasted. At our request, we were served the meat carpaccio with black mushrooms, green onions, raisins and balsamic vinegar. It was exquisite and had our mouths watering for more.
We were then greeted by owner Zafrir Ginsberg. He was extremely hospitable and professional and it was clear that Modern’s personality is a direct reflection of his style.
Ginsberg told us that Modern, which he opened with his wife, Avital, in 2011, is his first restaurant in Jerusalem after having owned successful restaurants in Tel Aviv and Herzliya.
He said the decision to open at the Israel Museum had been an easy one. It was the perfect location to attract an eclectic clientele including local and foreign tourists visiting the museum, as well as government officials, as the Knesset is just a stone’s throw away. In fact there were two MKs sitting at a table nearby.
After we decided on our main courses: An entrecote with red wine sauce and potatoes for myself and the grilled salmon served with peanut sauce accompanied by green beans and potatoes for my companion, Ginsberg checked in on us and insisted that we try the restaurant’s signature dish – Jackson’s chicken kadaif.
It was truly exquisite from the presentation to the color to the flavor, an extremely balanced yet sweet and savory crunchy plate.
The entrecote was good, and the salmon fresh and delicious.
Besides their main menu, Modern offers an express menu with its most expensive item being a hamburger with fries for NIS 55 and a kids meal for NIS 44 complete with dessert for kids who finish their meals (or at least that is what it says on the menu).
Modern offers various solutions for vegetarians. One such option is their deliciously fresh and beautiful tapas platter for two made up of humous with chickpeas and olive oil, grilled beet slices, lentil tabule, baladi eggplant with pistachio cream, mouth watering oval shaped green falafel on white tehina, cherry tomato salad with garlic and hot pepper and warm homemade vine leaves stuffed with rice and hot frenah bread straight from the oven. All that coming in at a reasonable NIS 95.
Overall the experience at Modern was relaxing and tasty, and felt like being in a European or New York Museum eatery, a welcome getaway from the busy Jerusalem hustle and bustle.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Modern restaurant Kosher The Israel Museum 11 Ruppin Street Jerusalem Open 11:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tuesday until 10:30 p.m.