Almost the perfect addition
Lehem Basar fills a major need for a kosher meat restaurant at Tel Aviv Port, but there’s room for improvement.
Lehem Basar Photo: Courtesy
Lehem Basar has a prime piece of beachfront real estate on the Tel Aviv Port’s promenade, on the border between a long row of restaurants and an even longer strip of bars.
Lehem Basar, which opened in July, is not only well located, but the restaurant fills a major need. Finally, there is a place to eat kosher meat at the Tel Aviv Port. Overall, dining at Lehem Basar was a positive experience, but there is room for improvement in some areas.
On the Thursday night in late August that we went to Lehem Basar, it was packed. The décor revealed that the owners spared no expense in making the place look as trendy as the restaurants surrounding it. The design seemed to be targeted towards men, with dark wood and exposed brick, and people on dates, with low, romantic lighting.
The long line of people waiting to get in indicated that if you want to eat at Lehem Basar on a weekend, make a reservation. The atmosphere has a lot of potential and is probably better during less popular hours.
As the restaurant’s name implies (Bread and Meat), the menu is based on that concept. Most of the appetizers are bread-based, with meat inside or on top, and the main dishes are meat-based.
The other major part of the menu is wine, and Lehem Basar has a long wine list and a fully stocked bar. My dining partner and I ordered the house wine, which is a red wine blend with a fruity undertone from the Tavor Winery. The delicious house wine comes in a “bottomless carafe,” meaning that for NIS 35 per person, we were could enjoy unlimited refills – and we definitely enjoyed them.
For the first course, we ordered a quinoa salad (NIS 46), made up of red quinoa, walnuts, shallots, celery, sprouts, cranberries and beets. The tartness of the cranberries set off the bitterness of the celery and sprouts for a unique taste. I found the salad to be too bitter, but my dining partner loved it and would have eaten every last bit of quinoa if we weren’t anticipating the big meal ahead.
Lamb Lachmagin (NIS 38), our second appetizer, was like a calzone filled with ground beef. The pastry was crunchy on the outside and doughy on the inside, and the meet was soft and juicy. The dish was excellent, and even better when dipped in tehina.
We tried two main courses – a steak and something a little more daring. The Lamb Siniya (NIS 88), a twist on a classic Israeli-Arab dish featuring ground beef and tehina, was a delicious, interesting surprise.
The spicy, rich-tasting meat with eggplant, pine nuts and tomatoes was served in a fry pan wrapped in a pita-like dough. The result was a dish that tasted like a Middle Eastern meat pie and was big enough to be a meal on its own.
Next we ordered a 250 gr. entrecote steak (NIS 120) on the assumption that it would be excellent, but we were very disappointed. It was cooked unevenly and was very fatty.
However, in keeping with the restaurant’s name, the house bread was great: soft on the inside with a crunchy crust. The side dishes were standard fare, such as small salads and roasted potatoes, and were served by a knowledgeable, efficient wait staff.
When the dessert arrived, we could hardly believe it was parve. The mousse with crunchy nougat (NIS 38) was light, with a satisfying chocolate taste that was not too rich.
The combination of the smooth mousse and the crunchy nougat made for an interesting experience.
Even better, though, was the chocolate-filled profiterole (NIS 38), an improved version of the Israeli classic warm chocolate cake dessert.
The twist, however, was that the gooey, warm chocolate filling came out of crisp pastry rounds instead of mini chocolate cakes. Not enough can be said about the delicious ice cream that came with the profiteroles. It did not taste parve at all. It had a strong vanilla taste that would be good enough to eat after a dairy meal, All told, Lehem Basar was a success and is likely to have a long life on the Port, especially if it works on its steaks. If religious visitors to Tel Aviv are lucky, the restaurant will bring even more kosher eateries to the trendy Port area.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Glatt kosher – Badatz Harav Mahpoud
Yordei Hasira 1 – Hangar 14
Tel Aviv Port Tel: 057-942-7409
Sunday-Thursday noon until the last customer
Friday noon – two hours before Shabbat
Saturday half an hour after Shabbat ends until 1 a.m.