For most of us there comes a time when you want meat. Not the casual roast beef sandwich but the half-a-dead cow (or some other animal) grilled to perfection - hot on the outside and bloody rare in the center. And, if you're already going all out for the flesh, you don't want to choke down something that was slaughtered who knows when, frozen till the waiter leaves the table with your order.
Neve Tzedek's NG provides all that the real meat seeker loves.
Housed in one of the neighborhood's historic buildings, the huge space (on the second floor, just above the Caffe Tazza D'Oro - one of the best in the country) was once divided into smaller rooms, each one housing an entire family of early pioneers. Now, the place features high and low tables as well as a huge, full-service, crescent shaped bar. The style is more in tune with your grandmother's salon. Granted, your grandmother would've had to have been one hip chick, with a spectacularly stocked bar and a penchant for wood and leather.
Cozying on up to the bar, my ever so lovely, European dining partner, who's always impressed with the culinary and cultural scene of this quaint little quarter, started with a whiskey, neat and I went for the Dancing Camel - the Tel Aviv microbrew, not the camel. I was immediately impressed with its on-tap presence and even happier to support the local brew by drinking the stuff.
First courses were all hope and smiles. We shared the country veal liver pate (NIS 52) seasoned with truffles, wild mushrooms and hazelnuts, served with whole grain bread and an eggplant jam. We also had the surprisingly refreshing green hill (NIS 38) of chopped herbs and whole shrimp. Rounding off the trio of starters was the place's famed carpaccio (NIS 46) served in a most unique fashion, for which the recipe can be found on this page.
Our first main course was the conservative double t-bone lamb steak (NIS 140). A lot of meat for one person but conservative since NG is known for their ostentatious cuts of meat, serving different cuts, varying in weight from 550 g to 1.2 kilos. But, as the intro to this brilliantly penned write-up suggests, the meat was spectacular, seasoned and grilled to perfection. Gnawing on the bone was a real pleasure till that point of realization that every last morsel of flesh has been devoured. The second main was the porcini risotto (NIS 75), the proverbial "vegetarian option." One of the most decadent veggie dishes I've ever sampled, the risotto is baked on the cap of a porcini mushroom and covered in a truffle cream sauce. Needless to say, it was damn tasty.
Dessert was a welcomed simplicity with a couple scoops of homemade sorbet accompanied by well-pulled short espressos.
An experience worth traveling for, NG has even upped the ante, offering an impressive selection of soups this winter - Dutch lentil, lamb neck and chickpea, pea and bacon, and broccoli and cauliflower with aged English cheddar - all at NIS 48 each.
It's of little surprise that this place has earned Time Out Tel Aviv's Eating and Drinking awards for both 2007 and 2008. Were this magazine also to dole out awards, NG is already putting on a great show.
NG is located at 6 Ahad Ha'am St., Tel Aviv, (03) 516-7888. It is open from Sun. to Thurs. from 6 p.m. till 1 a.m. and Fri. and Sat. from noon till 1 a.m.; not kosher. The writer was a guest of the restaurant.