Getting the haredim to eat and enjoy sushi is one of the aims of chef Ido Mendelovitch, who recently opened a gourmet sushi restaurant in a busy shopping area of Kiryat Haim.
With years of experience working as a senior chef at some of the most prestigious hotels in the country – for several years he was head chef at the Carmel Forest Spa and before that at the Dan Carmel and several prize-winning restaurants in the north of the country – he has now opened a second Maki Sushi Bar after the success of the first, which is situated in the Haifa shopping mall.
“The haredim already buy my ready-made food for Shabbat,” says the 33-year-old chef, “so they can buy sushi, as well as chicken in lemon. “ Having been invited to attend the opening and transported, with a friend, from the center of the country to the small town on the outskirts of Haifa, I can report that the food on offer at Maki Sushi Bar was well worth the long and somewhat bumpy journey – a feast for both the eye and the stomach.
The first dish to arrive at our table was the Asian salad – a bowl of julienned vegetables. One was able to detect yellow and green peppers, cucumbers, carrots, cabbage and mushrooms, all covered in a garlicky sweet dressing that was delicious.
While enjoying this salad, dishes began to arrive at our table in quick succession, starting with a bamboo steamer brimming over with dim sum of many different varieties, shapes and colors, together with steamed red, green and orange peppers. One of the tastiest was the shell-like creation filled with chopped mushrooms.
Some of the sushis that appeared on the table were truly works of art, and it almost seemed a shame to cut into them with the chopsticks that had been provided, as well as the knife and fork for the less adventurous. An especially aesthetic one consisted of sushi rice topped with smoked salmon or tuna sliced very thin and filled with another piece of cooked fish inside surrounded by thin carrot sticks.
Others were made with avocado or chunks of sweet potato. All the sushis came with soy sauce for dipping, ginger and wasabi, and an aioli mayonnaise.
For carnivores, there were plenty of variations on chicken and beef sushi, and there were also stir-fried meat and vegetables with noodles available. For vegetarians, there is a tofu option as well.
Also available are what the chef calls Vietnamese rolls, made without raw fish and recommended for pregnant women who might be more susceptible to the bacteria in normal sushi. These are also very popular with children.
Prices vary from NIS 6 for an individual sushi to NIS 17 – 26 for different sized packages.
Mendelovitch has plans to open similar restaurants in Jerusalem and Safed.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Maki Sushi Bar
Eilat Street, Kiryat Haim
Tel: (04) 870-090
Sunday to Wednesday, noon to midnight. Thursday, noon to 2 a.m. Friday, noon until an hour before Shabbat. Saturday night, half an after Shabbat until 2 a.m.