A whole new world of flavors at Yakiniku-Tenka
Think Japanese cuisine is all about sushi? Think again; this veteran Herzliya Pituah restaurant serves up a treat.
Japanese Photo: Courtesy
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Yakiniku-Tenka, the only (as far as I
know) Japanese grill restaurant in Israel, will transport you to Japan
and a whole new world of flavors, and you don’t even have to buy a plane
ticket. Situated in the unlikely industrial area of Herzliya Pituah,
this lovely restaurant is a haven for anyone who has a yen for Japan.
me and my dining companion, the transition started as soon as we walked
in, took our shoes off and were ushered into a private room, divided
from the other rooms by ricepaper partitions. The decor was authentic
Inside the room, we sat on low sofas and started to get
acquainted with Yakiniku cuisine, a popular style of cooking that was
brought there from Korea and adopted into Japanese cuisine.
and owner Ofer Hermoni, an Israeli who lived and studied in Japan for
more than six years, is devoted to the Japanese culture. He studied in
Japan, but when he wanted to learn the secrets of the cuisine, he
discovered that the Japanese do not like to share their culinary secrets
“They have a saying that translates more or
less as ‘Don’t mix strangers with sumo, geishas and food.’ Somehow, I
managed to be accepted as an apprentice in a few of the best restaurants
specializing in the major cuisines of Japan,” says the chef.
his return to Israel, Hermoni decided to open a Japanese restaurant
that would serve “the kind of Japanese food that is served in Japan.”
by the number of Japanese and Korean diners who were eating there on
the night we visited Yakiniku- Tenka, he has succeeded.
chose the Yakiniku cuisine, which is based on the traditional Korean
cooking method whereby the food is grilled at the table. And what an
eating experience that is! Forget everything you think you know about
Japanese cooking. At Yakiniku-Tenka, the tastes, the textures and the
variety are out of this world.
Serving a special 10th anniversary
tasting menu, the dishes kept coming, each one different and more
exciting than the other, and each cooked to perfection, revealing new
and exotic flavors. But you won’t find any sushi there. The menu is
built on many small dishes – meat dishes, as well as a good selection of
tasty vegetarian dishes.
The tasting dinner is created after
discussing the many options with the diner. Traditionally, it includes
starters, the restaurant’s flagship dish of kobe steak, other meats
grilled at the table over hot stones, with side dishes of rice, meat and
We had a green salad with a delicious secret
dressing; a chijimi – the Japanese version of vegetarian blintzes; and a
dish of tofu and shiitake mushrooms. After we finished the starters,
our waiter ignited the grill that was placed in the middle of the table.
Yakiniku means “grilled meat.” The grill is clean and does not emit
smoke. Each diner in turn places a piece of marinated meat on the grill
and cooks it very briefly. The rice bowls made of stone are also heated.
in the rice are vegetables and an egg, which cook as you mix them
together. There is also a mixed dish of seafood and vegetables and then
goose, chicken and beef. And to spice things up, a selection of sake
wines are served in a progression, slowly getting things heated up
around the table.
The desserts at Yakiniku-Tenka are light,
consisting mainly of sorbets and ice creams, as well as frozen fruit. A
fitting end to a delightful meal.
On regular days, this meal
would cost about NIS 400 per couple; but during November and December,
the special anniversary price is NIS 140 per person, making in NIS 280 per couple. Plus there is a
chance to win a coupon for a day at a spa (worth NIS 1,350), two of
which are raffled off among the diners once a month.
has six private rooms for two or four diners, and one room for eight
diners. The restaurant is open only for dinner, except on Saturdays.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Yakiniku-Tenka: Japanese Grill Restaurant
9 Maskit Street, Herzliya
Tel: (09) 958-0322
It is recommended to call for reservations.