A dance to a great restaurant

Taste, luxury and an award-winning chef: Rishon Lezion's "Isadora Chef & Sushi Bar"

sushi 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
sushi 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Already one of Israel's biggest cities, Rishon Lezion is fast becoming known for its quality restaurants and places of entertainment. Among the noteworthy places to eat, Isadora Chef and Sushi Bar stands out. Named after one-of-a-kind dancer Isadora Duncan, the newly established eatery is also one of a kind. We stopped dead in our tracks at the entrance to the dining room, where we came face-to-face with an amazing orange crystal chandelier by Versace specially imported from Italy. After that spectacular first impression, being seated and handed menus in both Hebrew and English (with a separate sushi menu), we had a chance to look around. The walls are covered with textured black wallpaper, the tables are black and the windows are concealed by dark ceiling-to-floor curtains, cutting out the outside world. A beautiful floral arrangement complementing the chandelier is the only decor. Architect Ilan Pivko designed the interior, which garnered coverage on the pages of an illustrious Italian design magazine. We complimented our waitress on the beauty and luxurious feel of the place. "Wait until you taste the food," she smiled. Everything on the extensive menu seemed so appetizing and interesting that we and the couple we were with decided to share and sample several dishes. We started with a beautifully presented mixed sushi platter. The various sushi delicacies were fresh and tasted as good as they looked - not surprising, because Dror Shushan of the Japanika restaurant chain is the sushi consultant at Isadora. Together, Shushan and Isadora chef Benny Ashkenazi recently represented Israel at an international sushi competition in Russia, carrying off a silver and two bronze medals. We moved on to roasted calamari with oregano pesto (the calamari being oh-so fresh and crunchy), a seviche pyramid with guacamole and chili oil (a hit with all four diners), a "baladi" eggplant with cherry tomato comfit (my companions really enjoyed this, but, not being an eggplant lover, I instead savored the thinly sliced, perfectly seasoned beef carpaccio). As main courses, we tried the fish filet on a bed of spinach. The serving was large enough to be shared by all four of us, and the fish was light, delicate and cooked to perfection. The piece de resistance followed: beef fillet with Jerusalem artichokes, forest mushrooms in porcini sauce and truffle oil. The beef was tender and the bed of mushrooms and artichokes unusual and tasty. Being one of my favorite vegetables, I'm only sorry that the Jerusalem artichoke season is so short. For desserts, we chose cheese-and-white-chocolate dessert in crunchy dough, pistachios and berry syrup, which was rather sweet. For the first time that evening, I was sorry we had decided to share; the "semi fredo" creme brulée with bananas and caramel toffee was that exquisite. Unlike the usual creme brulée, which inevitably shows up in a too-small pot, this version was wedged between two large biscuits, its generous helping of cold, sensuous custard covered in fresh bananas and caramel toffee. It was at this point, feeling mellow and satisfied after an exceptional meal, looking around the luxurious room, cut off from the outside world, that I had the sensation of being overseas. I felt I was in a New York restaurant, and wouldn't have been surprised had Robert Redford sauntered in to join us... . Vegetarian fare is also on Isadora's menu, and it's a nice place for a celebration, with a private dining area that can be closed off. Parking is free. First courses range from NIS 32 to 50, main courses from NIS 52 to 115 and desserts from NIS 32 to 36. Business lunches, take away and children's meals are available. In fact, children under 12 eat free from the children's menu when accompanied by adults. ISADORA CHEF AND SUSHI BAR: 20 Hacarmel St., Rishon Lezion (03) 966-5353; open daily noon to midnight; not kosher.