Tradition and innovation

Hatraklin is a mecca for meatlovers and wine connoisseurs.

By JONATHAN GILAD
December 9, 2011 15:34
3 minute read.
food at Hatraklin

meat and wine 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Hatraklin Bistro Meat & Wine, a lovely, intimate space in the middle of Tel Aviv’s Nahalat Binyamin, is celebrating its fifth anniversary, which was a grand reason to visit the place, a popular spot amongst wine lovers. But as we soon found out, it is not only the exquisite wine list – made up of wines from small local boutique wineries that are not easy to come across in other venues and hand-picked by coowner and sommelier Yossi Ben-Udis – but also the delicious food cooked by chef and co-owner Moshe Yochanan that make this one of Tel Aviv’s best eateries.

Ben-Udis grew up in Hazor in the Galilee. It was working in a local guest-house that he first learned about wine and was immediately drawn to it.

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He loves introducing new and unfamiliar Israeli wines to his customers. “It is an ideology for me,” he says. “I look for wines that are not available elsewhere. If I find wine that I like in a winery, I sometimes buy all or most of what they have. I am all about the ingredients. I love what we grow here in Israel, and I am especially enthusiastic about the local wines. I buy from small wineries. There are great wines made by the large ones too, but I like to stock what others don’t have.”


To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the restaurant, chef Yochanan compiled a menu of the five most popular dishes in each category (NIS 155 + a glass of wine).

From that menu we sampled the grilled Jerusalem artichoke with Sainte Maure goat’s cheese and a carpaccio of sirloin served in the traditional way with virgin olive oil and slivers of Parmesan cheese. Both were excellent. But the best of the starters was one not from the special menu – the local terrine of chicken liver served with small pieces of toast.

Ben-Udis matched a wine for each dish. He chose a glass of Barbera Malbec 2009 from the unique vineyard Dadah from the Carmel area and a glass of Mediterraneo by Ben-Hannah winery from the Judean hills – both surprisingly good and ones we had never heard of before.

As the restaurant is a Mecca for meat lovers, we had to have the entrecote, which was rather fatty – as it should be – but good. My guest for the evening had the best dish of the whole meal – the butcher’s cut, which is a cut that chefs love because of its meaty flavors. It is a tricky cut. If cooked even a minute too long, it becomes dry and stringy. But here it was no less than perfect, served with home fries and seasoned simply with Atlantic sea salt.



Hatraklin has many special meat dishes, and carnivores will find different cuts of the best beef available in Israel, such as rump steak, butcher’s cut, Porterhouse and Italian bresaola. Their most famous dish is a 300-gram sirloin steak served with a flaming hot 250º C pebble on the side, where diners may cook the steak to their liking.

But vegetarians can find a few options here as well. Salads, pasta and tapas are all prepared with the same care and attention.

There were more samplings of special wines from the impressive wine cellar, more talk about the love of food and the joy of being able to match the right wine with the right dish, and Moroccan of grandmothers and traditions, all of which eased us into the desserts. We chose banana blintzes and tiramisu and had small glass of the Dadah port.

It was a great (and long) night. We took our time, enjoying the food, the fantastic wine and the atmosphere. Do go there next time you feel the urge for good wine and great meat.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Hatraklin Bistro Meat & Wine
Not kosher
41 Nahalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv
(03) 566-0013
Sunday – Thursday, noon to 2 a.m.
Friday – Saturday, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

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