Dining: Jack of all shades

Jacko’s Street can satisfy many tastes and palates.

April 14, 2015 11:47
3 minute read.
Jacko’s Street restaurant

Jacko’s Street restaurant. (photo credit: PR)

Jacko’s Street is known throughout Jerusalem for its consistent style and high quality.

It is a favorite among many locals and visitors who are looking for a place where they can enjoy a fine kosher dining experience. With its seasonal dishes, this popular enclave by the Mahaneh Yehuda market takes dining to a whole new level.

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The restaurant consists of a main dining room, a bar area and an upstairs dining room, which offers privacy and specialized menus for any event.

Chef Zakai Hooja, who has been at Jacko’s since the start, is the mastermind of the seasonal winter menu. His knowledge of food versatility was apparent in the taster’s platters we were served.

We began our meal with tropical saltwater fish ceviche (NIS 58), which consisted of tropical fruit, wasabi cream, crispy lentils, hot chili pepper and eggplant caramel.

This was where Hooja’s exquisite presentation skill became evident. I was so mesmerized by the colors and the beauty of the dish that I almost didn’t want to spoil it by digging in. The ceviche was fresh and tasty, but this dish seemed to be more about delighting in the experience of being able to play with your food, mixing and matching the different accompaniments with the fish.

Next up was the grilled veal sweetbreads (NIS 66). This was a show stopper. The first bite of veal was an explosion of goodness that I wanted to savor forever. The sweetbreads were juicy, tender and cooked perfectly.

This was followed by the salmon and baby artichoke sashimi (NIS 66) with semi-roasted tomato, sundried cherry tomato, black olive tapenade and porcini sesame seeds. Very simple in execution and bold in complementary flavors, this is a must-order. The salmon was melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

After a bit of a breather, it was on to the main dishes. First up was Jacko’s legendary gourmet hamburger (NIS 78). The burger was so flavorful, I can honestly say it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. The patty was cooked medium rare and had a delectable, juicy flavor.

This was followed by the fish fillet (NIS 112). The combination of fish, asparagus, creamed corn, shimeji mushrooms and sweet potato formed a perfectly balanced combo. The seared fish was expertly cooked to a very pleasing texture – flaky, firm, yet yielding – and the asparagus provided color and nourishment.

Last was the 250gr. beef fillet (NIS 145), accompanied by asparagus, Kurdish stuffed onion with mushroom risotto and red wine sauce. Being South African, I was a very happy diner. It was fantastic. The meat tasted like meat, the portion was more than large enough, and I had to force myself to stop eating once I was full. It was so delicious and enticing that I wanted to keep eating past my capacity.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was the dessert. Rarely does one rave about parve confections, but here I go: The chocolate brownie cake was so decadent, just the way I like it. This was followed by a sort of multilevel strawberry parfait layered in a jar. I really liked this dessert. It wasn’t excessively sweet, and you could finish the whole thing without feeling like you had eaten something overly rich.

I went to Jacko’s with pretty high expectations and they were met, perhaps even exceeded. It’s encouraging to see chefs tackling the kosher scene with such creativity and skill. The food and atmosphere the restaurant offers are a true gift, and Jacko’s has deservedly become a beloved institution.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

Jacko’s Street
Mahaneh Yehuda, Jerusalem
Tel: (02) 581-7178

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