(photo credit: Courtesy)
It had been one of those boiling hot days last week when the only way to survive is to hug the air-conditioner and stay indoors.
It’s difficult to imagine – while enduring 38 degrees centigrade in the shade – that the evenings actually turn quite chilly. So when we set off for our evening rendezvous at Sasha, the dairy restaurant attached to Ra’anana’s Sportek complex, we were lightly dressed, which proved to be a mistake.
It was cold, both inside and out, but luckily for us, the welcome was as warm as can be, with proprietress Liat Pinhasov rolling out the red carpet for us.
It would have been nice to start with a bowl of hot soup. Alas, no soup on Sundays. Also no fish. We settled for the vegetarian options and waited, looking around at the other patrons. Lots of families, parents with small children, young couples out for a night on the town and us. If it hadn’t been so cold, it would have been a perfect setting – the Ra’anana park with a fountain playing, green fields as far as the eye can see and the promise of a healthful meal.
For a first course I chose roasted artichoke in lemon sauce (NIS 32). This proved to be a fresh vegetable that had been sliced along its length and either grilled or roasted. It was very good and eaten with the whole grainy bread, and the lemon sauce was quite a delicacy.
My companion chose baked eggplant with labane (NIS 34). It was nicely soft and comfortingly warm, and the contrast with the cold labane made for an excellent starter. We drank a glass of very young Chardonnay and slowly began to thaw out.
For the main course, my partner chose Focaccia Sabich with tomato salad. Sabich is about the nearest one can get to a national Israeli dish. It is usually served in pita and contains hard-boiled egg, tehina, aubergine and salad. This one was very palatable, although the diced tomatoes on the side were a bit uninspired. They seemed to not have any dressing or flavoring at all (NIS 54).
I had the vegan rissoles, which tasted almost meaty, and it was hard to believe they were not. The tomato salsa on the side was very peppery, which was fine by me. (NIS 58). We shared a bowl of mixed basmati and wild rice that was perfectly cooked.
Liat came over to tell us about the desserts and we settled for a shared apple pie and ice cream (NIS 22). This turned out to be a generous wedge of pie crust filled with chunks of sweet and juicy baked apple with a lattice topping. The vanilla ice cream was very creamy and the dish vanished with nary a crumb remaining.
Before leaving, we sampled two very good cappuccinos and met the chef, Shlomo, who also runs his own catering business.
If you need to use the bathroom, it’s labeled “office” – an incongruous touch more to do with laziness than modesty. They are so busy at Sasha that they just haven’t had time to change it.
25 Rehov Sasha Argov, Neve Zemer Ra’anana 09-9747965
Open: Sun.-Thurs. 8-22:30. Friday: 8 a.m. to two hours before Shabbat. Saturday: Closed.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
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