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'Twas a cold blustery night. We fought against the biting wind and literally burst into the welcoming warmth of Sebastian in Herzliya Pituah. We had a reservation, but for those who have to wait for a table, there is a nicely set up foyer with comfortable seating and hot spiced wine to while away the time enjoyably.
I thought I was back in Belgium, the decor being that of a European bistro, with imported furniture, fittings, signs and pictures. On the way to our table, we passed an inviting bar with leather barstools that looked so comfortable, I would have gladly spent the evening in one.
Moments after we were seated at a table by the window, a waitress arrived with menus in both Hebrew and English. There is the regular menu and, in true bistro style, a variety of dishes of the day. They were created by chef Tal Hershovitz, and their ingredients and cooking style were knowledgeably reeled off by our waitress. On both sides of the dining room there are also giant blackboards detailing the "specials."
We ordered margaritas to sip while making our choices. Unfortunately, the drinks were not up to par - in fact, so insipid that we wondered if they were alcohol-free. Upon being asked if the drinks were all right and hearing our reply, our waitress immediately returned them to the bar and added more tequila. They were still not perfect, so we switched to daiquiris - lychee that was really good, and wild fruit that was rather bland.
The cuisine at Sebastian is mixed, ranging from Caf Noir schnitzel to couscous with salads, two kinds of ravioli, seafood, duck, lamb kebabs, fish, etc., some of which are cooked in the taboon. I ordered the seafood gnocchi as a starter, but there was none left. My second choice was the chicken liver pat , which was the best I have ever tasted in Israel. A pear comfit, which contrasted perfectly with the tangy creamy taste of the pat and served with fresh toast, accompanied it. The pea soup my companion chose was very good but not very hot.
The main courses we chose were flounder fillet with b chamel sauce and a grilled chop. The fish was adequate. The chop was tasty and cooked to perfection but spoiled by the excessive amount of, albeit really tasty, sauce. Patrons should be given the choice of ordering the sauce on the side.
By dessert time, a very enthusiastic young Belgian waiter who couldn't wait to tell us about the 10 desserts he recommended replaced our waitress. Not being a lover of dark chocolate, I asked him to tell us about other desserts or those containing white chocolate. He ardently described a delectable hot banana en-croute creation with syrup and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a house speciality. We decided to go for that, as well as a meringue filled with cream and white chocolate, topped with a hot wildberry sauce. The meringue dessert was a light delicacy, and the banana superb.
All in all, a very pleasant, relaxed evening. Prices are reasonable. The restaurant, opened in 2003, seats 150 inside. Reservations are recommended. Breakfast is served only on Friday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Sebastian Bar Restaurant (not kosher). 33 Maskit St, Herzliya Pituah, Tel: (09) 951-3939
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