The ‘fish and complements’ restaurant celebrates 10 years of kosher fine dining in Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: ANATOLY MICHAELOV)
This year is one of special significance for the restaurant whose name derives from the Latin word for 10. The appellation was chosen because it symbolizes excellence. Now, however, it also stands for a milestone, as Deca marks its tenth anniversary in a niche that it practically pioneered: fine dining – in Hebrew, a “chef restaurant”– that is, kosher-dairy.
As a kosher restaurant that serves no meat or poultry, Deca’s starters and main courses revolve around fish and pasta, often in combination. Several of the pasta dishes, as well as salads, are ideal for vegetarians. Nonetheless, Deca specializes in fish. Indeed, the homepage of the website specifies Fish and Complements.
As befits an upscale restaurant, the full bar offers classic cocktails and six specialty ones. The Compassion (NIS 46) – vodka citron, Campari, lemon and passion – and the Green Smash (NIS 52) – gin, mojito syrup, lemon and a large basil leaf – served neat in martini glasses, are both pleasingly complex, although the fruit in the former renders it sweeter than the latter.
A meal at Deca starts with complimentary house bread and butter, or one may order focaccia (NIS 39) that comes with some excellent dips: ikra, goat cheese, tzaziki, tehina and olive oil. For some reason, the focaccia is labeled an appetizer, along with just one other dish: bouillabaisse (NIS 44), an outstanding fish soup delicately seasoned with orange and Pernod.
For a main dish, Deca’s manager recommended the red tuna sashimi (NIS 62), with roasted eggplant, olives, cherry tomatoes, radish and cucumber. The brilliantly hued raw fish was exceedingly fresh, practically melting in the mouth.
He further advised us that the pine nut and almond gnocchi (NIS 65) is very popular. The tender potato pasta – in a delectable cheese sauce with shallot, sage and honey – was certainly as good as any to be found in an Italian restaurant.
The red tuna fillet (NIS 150) is one of Deca’s signature dishes. In a first for me, we were asked how we wanted our fish grilled. The generous tuna steak was done to a perfect medium.
Paired with beet and potato gratin in a three-cheese sauce, this superb dish definitely lived up to its billing.
The black paella with salmon and red drum fish (NIS 340) is a dish meant for two to share. Served in a large skillet, the distinctive black rice, studded with morsels of flavorful fish and enhanced by a butter and Parmesan sauce, was filling and satisfying.
Deca boasts an impressive international wine list, even encompassing some exclusive wines no longer in production (and priced accordingly). The restaurant also offers its own red and white private label house wines, bottled by the Eyal Winery; only these two wines, plus featured “wines of the month,” are available by the glass.
Everything at Deca is made on the premises, including the desserts (NIS 41-62), which are prepared by a dedicated pastry chef. Two very good desserts were a study in contrasts. The caramel chocolate mousse, layered with a hazelnut ganache, was decadently rich, thick and substantial.
And the “cones” – actually, crispy “cigars” – containing a sweet, creamy cheese filling, with almond streusel and cassis cream, was light and crunchy.
Throughout our meal, the service was impeccable. Toward the end, the waiter poured warm water on towelettes, and then wrung them out tableside, handing them to us with tongs. Deca also pampers its customers with its adjacent complimentary private parking lot, a welcome bonus in downtown Tel Aviv – and a critical component in rendering the restaurant handicap accessible.
The spacious restaurant spans two floors, comprising a number of alcoves and rooms suitable for semiprivate meals and private events. Deca offers discounted weekday business lunches – a perk that is extended to dinner hours, as well for Diners Club card holders.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Deca Kosher (mehadrin) 10 Hata’asiya St., Tel Aviv Tel: (03) 562-9900