Filling and fulfilling

A return to Herzliya steakhouse Ad Ha'etzem was a true delight.

Filling and fulfilling (photo credit: Courtesy)
Filling and fulfilling
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Opened in 1988, Ad Ha’etzem (To the bone) was perhaps the first real American style steakhouse in Israel that served great steaks cooked to the desired degree and fabulous 300-gram hamburgers made from fresh minced prime beef and prepared on the premises (at a time when all burger places served frozen plastic-tasting burgers), as well as other American specialties such as Buffalo wings, onion rings and potato skins.
The restaurant was the brainchild of the Yarzin brothers, who have since ranked among the leading restaurateurs in the country, managing such establishments as the Moses chain, Toni Vespa pizza, Cafe Italia and Zozobra Asian bar, as well as The Tapas Bar at Tel Aviv Port.
A recent visit to Ad Ha’etzem proved that the restaurant has kept its high level of quality, service and inventiveness intact, despite the many years that have passed.
Located in the busy hi-tech park at the entrance of Herzliya Pituah, which is crowded with many restaurants and cafes, Ad Ha’etzem was the first on the scene when it opened 23 years ago. There were no other eateries in the area and hardly anything but small, low-tech businesses.
For us then it was a home away from home, and it still is one of our favorite places to go when we’re in the mood for a great burger or steak. We especially like to eat there in the quiet hours of the afternoon when we almost have the place to ourselves.
The restaurant was remodeled not long ago, and new dishes were added to the menu, including many lunch specials.
We started off with two appetizers – a classic vegie and one that was recently added to the menu and is not always available. The shrimp piripiri was so good, we had to fight over it. The same piri-piri sauce is usually served here with chicken liver, and it seems to be a favorite among diners. The piri-piri sauce is spicy but in a good way. The other appetizer we chose is one of my favorites – the baladi grill-roasted eggplant in tahini and olive oil. It was as good as I remembered, and a great start for what proved to be a very filling dinner.
All entrees are served with a large salad and a choice of baked potato, French fries or rice. There is usually a grilled zucchini or other vegetable side dish available if you insist.
On the menu, the main dishes are divided into chicken, burgers or steaks. Picking just one is not easy, since so many of the dishes listed sound too good to pass up. We longed for Ad Ha’etzem’s fantastic burgers (that we can only compare to ones we had in New York), but we went with our host’s suggestion of the specials of the day. The Irish entrecote was thick and succulent, made to perfection and served with an oven-baked potato in foil. The other was a special prime-rib steak, which the restaurant serves only when the quality they get is up to standards. Both steaks were excellent and bore a strong resemblance to New York’s best. The steaks are served on hotplates that continue to cook the meat as you eat it, and the aroma of the grilled meat adds to the experience.
A nice glass of Flam red and a bottle of ale from the local brewery Alexander were a great accompaniment to the meal.
It was still early and though we were full, we simply had to have at least one of the restaurant’s famous desserts. The dessert menu is not huge, but all the dishes are brilliant. We chose one chocolate souffle and two espressos. The souffle was really great – crunchy on the top, while and soft and fluffy inside.
As always, we weren’t disappointed in Ad Ha’etzem and will certainly be back soon for that hamburger.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Ad Ha’etzem Not kosher Abba Eben corner of Maskit, Merkazim building, Herzliya Tel: (09) 950-3138 Open Sun- Sat noon to midnight. Average NIS 60-NIS 120 per person. The restaurant also has a home delivery service and a catering service. Parking at the building is covered by the restaurant