(photo credit: )
Who is or was Ingrid, we wondered, when entering the beautifully decorated restaurant with the huge beige lampshades on Tel Aviv's Hamasger Street last week. Shahar Raischer, one of the partners on duty that evening, was delighted to provide an explanation.
"Everyone has his own Ingrid," he said, grinning. "She's not young, she's not old. She's not too fat and not too skinny. Ingrid is what you want her to be."
Raischer decided a few months ago to streamline the restaurant's menu and focus on meat. But he stressed that it is still not a steak house as fish, chicken, pasta and seafood dishes are also available.
With fresh beef that comes directly from the Golan Heights, chef Uri Levy, a veteran of French restaurants around the country, told us that the "speciality is steak - for people who understand steak."
The bar stretches the length of the main dining area, attracting customers throughout the day. Up a few steps at the end of the it is a more secluded and relaxed area with private booths which echo the lampshade motif and subdued lighting.
The menu is only in Hebrew for the moment, having been changed just a month ago.
The evening started off wonderfully with a classic margarita (one of the best tasted so far in Israel) and the bartender's special Kiwi Mojito (which was refreshing and had a nice "kick" to it.)
Reading the menu by candlelight was a bit of a challenge, but our knowledgeable waitress guided us well, describing every dish in detail.
For starters, the open ravioli with crab meat filling and delicate cream sauce was a culinary delight, both visually and taste-wise. Equally good was the beef carpaccio, which was not too heavily seasoned with either vinegar or parmesan, and the home-baked warm crusty brown bread absolute heaven.
The first courses, which included veal tonsils with shrimps as well as Portebello mushrooms with cheese, are a league above the conventional starters found at most restaurants.
After such an auspicious beginning, we were really looking forward to our T-bone and porterhouse steaks main courses but, unfortunately, they were disappointing.
While the meat was tender, the cuts were very thin and the porterhouse had the color and taste of overaging.
Dessert raised the standard again, though, and our shared hot chocolate mousse was absolutely delicious.
As we left, other patrons were tucking into really good-looking hamburgers. Maybe this would have been a wiser choice.
First courses range from NIS 36 to NIS 47. Main courses include hamburgers at NIS 52, fish from NIS 88 to NIS 95, and chicken at NIS 68. Steaks range from the butcher's cut at NIS 89 through to a 500gr. Porterhouse at NIS 160.
Ingrid Resto Bar, 9, Hamasger Street, Tel Aviv; (03) 688-0022
Not kosher. Open daily from noon till the last customer.