A delectable meal for a song

Seeing the German Colony through Roza-colored glasses is a pleasant sight indeed.

Roza 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Roza 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The German Colony has so many restaurants that it has gotten tougher for new eateries to stand out and find a niche. One admirable way of attracting new clientele is to keep prices low while offering a wideranging menu of creative choices.
This approach was tried by Joy, which raised its prices after the restaurant became popular and is now as expensive as its counterparts on Emek Refaim, Jerusalem’s restaurant row. Even Hamoshava 54, which boasted a menu with no item higher than NIS 54, now has a list of entrees that cost NIS 64.
Enter Roza, a restaurant that remarkably managed to be successful for two years on Jaffa Road, despite its seemingly neverending construction. Roza is not named after a person but rather a song by Yehoram Gaon.
Roza’s owners were looking to open a second Jerusalem branch in the German Colony. They heard that the Coffee Shop chain was looking to leave, they met with the owner of the space on the corner of Emek Refaim and Rachel Imeinu, and the next day a deal was signed.
In a welcome change, Roza did away with Coffee Shop’s notorious smoking section, whose glass divider never adequately prevented the smoke from permeating the room.
We went to the restaurant on a cold, rainy evening. We were immediately impressed by the new décor, modern lighting fixtures, relaxing music and the muted bluish-gray walls.
The tables are still a bit too close for comfort, but they are not as tight a squeeze as they were before. The close proximity has its merits in that you get to see and smell the fajitas as they are served to your neighbors in a steaming cast-iron pan, ready to be prepared to their own taste in tortillas with all the fixings (NIS 53).
For appetizers we had what we referred to as a matza/focaccia with goose liver, mushrooms and a sweet pepper and Dijonnaise sauce drizzled on top. Other meatzzas include roast beef, lamb sausage, ground beef and carpaccio.
Focaccias are also available in meatless flavors. There is also a creatively named “hot-tempered” salad of hot peppers, tomatoes and purple onion.
The soups of the day were minestrone and the lentil soup we tried, which had a standard flavor and was thinner than we expected.
It was satisfying nevertheless and was a welcome change from the orange-colored soup that every other restaurant seems to serve.
The main courses range in price from a reasonable NIS 28 to NIS 44. There is a separate menu of specials that includes lamb ribs (NIS 82), entrecote, sirloin steak or filet of beef medallions (NIS 88), the chef's cut (NIS 45), Denis fish (NIS 78), a veal skewer (NIS 35) and ceviche (NIS 42).
For NIS 48 we had kebab on a bed of eggplant with Arab salad and fried onions (like fancy onion rings). This dish was delicious, even for people who don’t generally like eggplant. The meat was rare and juicy. We savored every bite.
Our steaks were served artistically on a bed of mashed potatoes. The steak was very tender and came with a wine and caramelized onion sauce on the side. For purists who don’t like the taste of their meat masked by sauce, this was a welcome gesture. The mashed potatoes, unfortunately, had vegetables mixed in, which although creative, didn’t work.
Our desserts were served with real English Tetley tea. We had trouble deciding but finally sampled the warm apple pie, the chocolate skewer and the vanillastrawberry coconut roll (29 each).
We wished we had room in our stomachs to finish them all.
Roza’s owners want to open another branch in Jerusalem soon and then spread to Tel Aviv and elsewhere in the country. If they succeed in the German Colony, then their future will indeed look Rozy.
The writers were guests of the restaurant.

Kosher Roza, Rachel Imeinu 2, (02) 563-8000