(photo credit: AYLA TOLOSA-KLINE)
Walking into the Touro restaurant in Mishkenot Sha’ananim, you feel your blood pressure dropping and a feeling of calm taking over. That is until you see the jaw-dropping view of the Old City out of the large windows. You can’t look anywhere else but at the walls of the Old City.
It’s worth tearing your eyes away, however, to look at the modern décor inside. Wood tables without tablecloths, gleaming white dishes, and high-quality wine glasses instill a feeling of well-being. That feeling is enhanced by the excellent service from restaurant manager Liat Pekker, and night manager Alex Mendelevich. Chefs Benny Ashkenazi and Ido Alkayam have created a menu that offers modern dishes with an Israeli flair.
Alex especially surprised me when he said, “You don’t remember me, do you?” I had to admit that I didn’t.
“I was the manager of Valentino’s (a now-defunct restaurant in what is today the Dan Hotel on Mount Scopus that was one of my favorite places when my husband and I were dating and first married in the early 1990s), and you used to come all the time,” he continued. “You haven’t changed at all!”
A lie, but nice to hear anyway. Alex insisted that my husband have a chaser of Beluga Vodka to start off his meal.
We put ourselves in Liat’s capable hands, and asked her to order for us. She brought a selection of appetizers along with a glass of Tulip Merlot wine.
Each starter was unique. My favorite was the sirloin carpaccio (NIS 61) with olive oil, balsamic reduction, basil aioli, red onions, radishes, rocket and croutons. It was visually arresting and the meat melted in my mouth. My dining companion raved about the salmon sea fish ceviche with avocado, pureed tomatoes, olive tapenade, hot pepper and cilantro (NIS 58). The endive salad (NIS 49), with lettuce hearts, rocket, endive, green onions, celery, apples, nuts, red wine vinegar and honey vinaigrette was refreshing.
There were also slices of fresh-backed sourdough bread (NIS 24) served with two dips, an excellent pesto and a tomato dip.
Liat brought us three main courses to share. The first, was hanger steak (also known as butcher’s cut), which consisted of slices of perfectly cooked, medium-rare meat, with mashed potatoes, shallots, garlic confit, carrots, asparagus and citrus caramel (NIS 131). It was absolutely delicious, even if the portion of meat was relatively small.
The second dish, called tagliata, consisted of very thin pieces of sirloin steak seared on a piping hot skillet with arugula and a bonfire potato (NIS 118). The idea is that you let the meat cook as long as you want. We took it off after a less than a minute. It was pleasant, but a little bland.
The star of the evening however were the pargiyot (NIS 92), boneless chicken thighs with garlic caramel, tahini, onion, bonfire potatoes, and cherry tomato. The flavors melded beautifully in this unique dish.
Dessert did not disappointing. We shared a large chocolate ball (NIS 52) filled with cream and other delicious ingredients. We sat silently, our gaze going back and forth from our plates to the amazing view outside.
SA Nachon St. 2, Mishkenot Sha’ananim, Jerusalem
Sun-Th: 12 noon until last customer
Sat: From one hour after Shabbat
Kashrut: Rabbanut Jerusalem
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
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