Excellent fish and reasonable prices

Michmoret (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
This was by far the strangest review experience I have had so far. I tried for two days to call Michmoret, a fish restaurant in Jerusalem’s Mahaneh Yehuda shuk, but the phone number listed on Facebook did not seem to be working. I sent a Facebook message, but did not receive a response. Finally I just showed up at the restaurant.
The waitress, Abigail, said she would ask the manager if I could do a review. She returned and said, “OK, but he wants you to know he’s not trying to make a lot of money, just to offer good fish at reasonable prices.” He was too busy to speak to me, she said. When I asked why it was so hard to reach them, she said, “He doesn’t believe in social media.”
A few minutes later Abigail returned to tell me that only I would be a guest of the restaurant, and my companion would have to pay for his meal. I also paid for my soft drink (12 NIS).
Michmoret, in the heart of Mahaneh Yehuda, is a fish restaurant with the same premise as a meat grill restaurant. The bread and salads are all included in the price of the main course. In this case, the fish dishes vary between NIS 75-85, a very reasonable price for dinner. My companion and I chose two different types of fish. I chose sea bass and he chose sea bream (denis in Hebrew), both filleted and grilled, and both NIS 85.
The meal began with a hot crusty loaf of bread and six salads that were all homemade. The humus and eggplant salad were both very good, as was a wheat- based salad with parsley and cranberries.
The large portion of fish is served on an oval plate with a side of fries or vegetables and a tasty sauce of olive oil and herbs in a separate small dish. The fish was fresh, nicely spiced with just salt and pepper, and the sea bass was especially good. The thin-cut chips, while from frozen potatoes, were good. My companion’s side dish of vegetables, however, was quite skimpy with just one-quarter of a tomato, one-quarter of an onion, and a handful of green beans.
The restaurant was busy, and we had to ask for ketchup four times. We never got the water we requested several times. Usually when a restaurant knows I am doing a review, I get excellent service. In fact, it’s a problem, because I always wonder if that is typical, and I always make sure to look around and check if other tables are getting the same level of service.
So far, so good. But now the meal got really strange. We had been seated for 45 minutes and saw that the staff was frequently looking over and sending pointed glances that seemed to imply it was time to give up the table. There was one family waiting outside for a table.
Another waiter came over and offered us dessert – either tiramisu or cheesecake with a berry topping. Cheesecake is my favorite dessert, so I ordered one. Two minutes later, he came back and said, “I’m sorry, but we can’t serve you dessert. It’s too crowded right now,” and he looked yet again at our table and then at the people waiting outside.
At that point, we took the hint, paid the bill and left.
Hatut St. 7, Mahaneh Yehuda, Jerusalem
Sunday-Thursday: 12 noon-midnight (Friday until 4 p.m.)
Kashrut: Rabbanut Jerusalem
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.