Fish dish 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Rehov Shimon Ben-Shetah, a short pedestrian mall in downtown Jerusalem, is a
charming blend of the city’s different identities. Bars and non-kosher
restaurants represent its secular side, and an old synagogue tucked away behind
a metal gate symbolizes the historical, religious city. The local branch of
Bituah Leumi is a reminder that this is also the country’s bureaucratic
One of the newest kids on the block is Lara, a seven-month-old
kosher restaurant run by chef Lior Haftzadi. On a biting cold night we tried out
the restaurant’s new spring menu, which Haftzadi describes as “Israeli”; not a
complete revamp of the old menu, but with more of a warm-weather
The menu offers some of the perennials on the kosher restaurant
scene but with some surprises thrown in, such as glazed tongue and fresh
sardines. Everything is spruced up with fresh fruits and vegetables for a touch
We decided to try both the fish and meat options. To start, we
shared fresh fish sashimi with roasted onions, tomatoes and fresh snow peas (NIS
48) and sirloin carpaccio (NIS 49). The sashimi was fairly bland but was
complemented by the robust flavors of the accompaniments. By contrast, the
carpaccio dish was refreshingly tangy. Served with nuts, cranberries, mushrooms,
pickled lemons and fresh herbs, the result was a surprising blend of flavors
that left you wanting more.
The fresh sea fish with green herb risotto I
sampled for entree (NIS 102) was perfectly cooked, and the risotto was creamy
and bursting with flavor.
Across the table, the butcher’s cut was well
received (NIS 104). A cut not usually found here, it was served medium rare and
sliced. The bone marrow served alongside it, complete with bone and spoon, was
not for the faint hearted and shunned by my companion. More used to such
curiosities and not hampered by his British niceties, I dug in.
stuffed but with a commitment to testing the entire menu for research purposes,
we ordered dessert. The offerings are in line with what you would expect at a
kosher meat chef’s restaurant: multifaceted creations using parve ingredients.
The layered brownie cube with coffee and praline mousse (NIS 44) was rich but
unremarkable. The apple cobbler my dining partner sampled was actually more like
a pie with a crumble topping (NIS 38); no complaints there. The best part of the
dessert, however, was the coconut sorbet that accompanied it.
it off, and it was the perfect end to a satisfying meal.The writer was a
guest of the restaurant.
Lara Rehov Shimon Ben-Shetah 3, Jerusalem Kosher
Hours: Sun.-Thurs. 6 p.m. to 12 midnight. Saturday night, opens a half hour
after Shabbat. Telephone: (02) 537-0701