(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Herzliya Pituah industrial zone is home to a variety of high-flying hi-tech
companies and has a host of trendy café chains and modern steak restaurants to
match the atmosphere. Minato, a more subdued sushi bar, is one of the newer
eateries in the area.
A branch of Minato Caesarea, which opened as a
purely Japanese restaurant in 2004, Minato Herzliya opened in 2011 and fuses
different cooking styles with its mostly Japanese offerings.
Minato on a quiet Wednesday evening. The patrons did not consist of techies and
businesspeople but of families and groups of friends. The low-key décor, with
wood detail and a bar where diners can eat and watch the chefs prepare the food,
lends the atmosphere a relaxed, friendly feel.
While we were waiting for
the more substantial offerings, we whetted our appetites with edamame (soybeans
in their pods), the Japanese equivalent of olives and focaccia that are served
as an opener in Westernstyle restaurants.
Though sushi is the main
course, so to speak, for people do not find raw fish appealing or who consider
sushi too “foreign,” Minato offers an appetizing range of other dishes,
including meat. It was with these that we began our marathon tasting
First up was soup. I went for the miso (NIS 23), while my companion
chose the noodle soup (NIS 28). The miso soup was tasty and satisfying, but we
both preferred the noodle soup – a fish stock served with soba noodles, shiitake
mushrooms, scallions and fresh ginger.
The cold noodle salad (NIS 33) we
tasted next was refreshing, and we continued to dip into it as we ate our
appetizers, to balance the meat with some vegetables. A mixture of noodles,
greens, tamago strips and tofu, the salad was served a little too chilled for my
The hot appetizers at Minato are varied, attractively presented
and bursting with flavor. We tried the Shake Kushi, which is salmon and pepper
skewers in teriyaki sauce (NIS 30); Tori Karaage, deep-fried chicken in Japanese
marinade (NIS 34); Gyu Kushi, entrecote and asparagus skewers in teriyaki sauce
(NIS 33); and Tuna Tataki, pan-seared tuna served with ponzu sauce, teriyaki and
spicy mayonnaise (NIS 35).
Moving on to the sushi, Minato offers an
extensive range of sashimi (slices of fresh raw fish), nigiri (mounds of sushi
rice draped with raw fish or tamago), temaki (sushi cones), Hoso-maki (thin
rolls with nori on the outside) and inside-out rolls.
There are also the
chef’s specials, which are not listed on the menu but include a variety
recommended by the chef.
Not wanting to veer too far out of our comfort
zone, we turned down the marinated sardines that we were assured were a special
of the day and started with sashimi.
A friend once told me that the way
she knows she has eaten good sushi is if the meal leaves her with a healthy,
clean feeling. That was exactly the way I felt about the selection of sashimi
painstakingly presented on ice and decorated with lemon, ginger flowers and red
The slices of fresh salmon with fish eggs, tuna and a white
fish we were not familiar with were a delight.
Stuffed to the gills but
concerned that we hadn’t sampled the sushi rolls most commonly associated with
sushi bars, we let the chef surprise us with four types. A mixture of tuna, sea
bream and salmon with different vegetables, the colorful rolls were tasteful in
appearance and tasty in flavor.
The sushi was served with a blind tasting
of three types of sake, which were a little dry for our taste, but the umeshu we
were served next, a divine Japanese plum liqueur, more than made up for it. The
liqueur had a subtle alcohol taste, was generously sweet but not cloyingly so
and was bursting with yummy, plummy overtones.
After a light yet generous
sushi meal, dessert seemed somehow out of place, so we turned into the night and
agreed that the evening had gone swimmingly.The writer was a guest of
the restaurant.Minato Herzliya Kosher 8 Hamenofim, Herzliya Pituah (09)