Steak from Gillis Steak House.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
I always have a certain degree of trepidation when revisiting a restaurant that was so wonderful on a previous visit, in case the reality does not live up to the memories. This was especially true for my return visit to Gillis Steak House, as not only had it been several years since my last visit, but I had also planned a three-day trip to the Golan to make sure that we would be there for the Thursday night meat feast at Gillis. Fortunately, not only did the meal not disappoint, but it exceeded my expectations and those of my dining companion, who had heard me rave about the place for years.
Gillis is a family-run meat business on Moshav Nov in the Golan. The Gillis family live and breathe beef. By day, they run a cattle farm and butcher shop; and on Thursday nights, they open their converted barn as a restaurant so that patrons can enjoy the high quality of their beef. The menu is a meat-lover’s paradise, with several meat dishes to choose from, as well as meat platters and two tasting menus for those who want to try the full selection of dishes on offer.
So much of the charm of the Gillis Steak House is the setting and the hospitality of the Gillis family. We arrived just after they opened at 6 p.m., and there were already four tables of diners seated. We sat with a view of most of the restaurant, witnessing the efficient service of the team of young local waitresses. A bottle of water and an appetizing starter appeared within minutes of our being seated, soon followed by the menu.
As the evening progressed and the restaurant filled up, members of the Gillis family warmly greeted the diners, several of whom had driven considerable distances to partake of this special experience. The hosts were constantly on hand, be it talking to diners, checking in with the cooks in the open-plan kitchen or surveying the room to ensure that all was running like clockwork.
For our meal, we opted for the full tasting menu (NIS 238 per person). It included a selection of five meat courses, as well as mineral water, appetizers, a dessert and hot beverages. On the recommendation of our host, we accompanied our meal with a bottle of organic Cabernet Franc from the local Nov Winery (NIS 135 a bottle). The rich fruity wine paired well with the meat dishes and had a good body without being overly heavy.
We enjoyed all the dishes, but some stood out from the rest. The starter of hummus with slow-cooked beef flavored with lamb fat and warm spices was even better than I remembered. And the salads were fresh and crunchy and were refilled regularly throughout the meal.
As for some of the main dishes, the tasty burger was served without a bun, drizzled in a homemade BBQ sauce. The meat was juicy and light and was covered with crispy caramelized onions. The entrecote steak was perfectly seared on the outside and was tender in the middle. My favorite dish was, without doubt, the beef fillet. While most restaurants drown their steaks in sauces, Gillis honors the taste of the meat and cooks it with simple seasoning, yet it is extremely flavorful.
The success of Gillis Steak House is a combination of the quality of the meat and the simplicity of the perfectly cooked, delicious dishes. One has the feeling that the family’s mantra is to take pride in delivering the best.
In fact, Gillis delivers meat to most major cities in Israel (minimum order of 5kg). Although it does not compare to the experience of dining at the restaurant itself, the quality of the meat is first class, and it comes beautifully packaged, so the meat lasts well in the freezer.
If you want to take the experience to the next level, Gillis hosts a monthly meat workshop on a Friday morning, where participants can learn how to prepare and cook the meat. One can also arrange private workshops and events during the week. All the information is provided on their website: www.gillis.co.il.The writer was a guest of the restaurant.Gillis Steak House Kosher Moshav Nov, Golan Heights Tel: (04) 676-3555 Thursdays, 6 p.m. until last customer.