Revolution on the green

Provincial Southern French cuisine in a charming atmosphere overlooking tennis courts at a country club? Must be Tel Aviv’s Rokach 73.

Dessert 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Dessert 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Upon entering Tel Aviv’s Rokach 73, you will notice the calming earthy decor and some of the freshest dishes you will have tasted in a long while. Chef Eyal Lavi’s carefully thought-out menu of delicious, colorful food with powerful flavors is very impressive. However, be prepared to pay for the privilege of dining at Rokach 73, especially if you splurge on the signature dish beef fillet, cooked in red wine and served with citrus orange sauce.
The extensive menu boasts fish, seafood, meat and pasta dishes. As my dining partner and I don’t eat seafood, I cannot comment on it, but it was highly recommended by our waitress and seemed to constitute the majority of dishes. For wine lovers, there is an elaborate list of more than 60 different types of bottles from boutique wineries, and many are produced in Israel. We loved the Cava and the dessert wine.
Most of the food was exceptional, from appetizers through dessert. Stand-out entree dishes included ceviche, which was beautifully presented with wild fish, avocado and tomato and refreshing yogurt surrounding the plate, which toned down the strong fish taste, as it was supposed to. This was perfectly complemented with the bread basket that came with delicious melt-in-yourmouth butter and a spicy tomato spread, a winning combination with the ceviche.
Our waitress recommended that we order the mushroom ravioli, which took my breath away. As I am not a lover of ravioli, I wasn’t excited about the prospect of trying it; however, it ended up being the best entree I have had in some years. Each ravioli is carefully handmade and stuffed with wild mushrooms and slathered in a superb cream sauce, drizzled with truffle oil.
The lentil soup was rich with lentils and vegetables but was incredibly salty. And the Caprese – mozzarella and tomato salad – was a big disappointment. This is usually my dining partner’s favorite dish, but he didn’t eat it. The presentation was off, but the soggy tomatoes and mozzarella were off putting. The good news is that I ordered a simple lettuce salad, and it tasted as though every lettuce was hand selected, washed and dried. It was dressed in an elegant Parmesan and cream sauce topped with croutons.
The main dishes were ridiculously tasty, including the drum fish fillet on a bed of roasted eggplant, almost melted feta cheese and tomato comfit enveloping it. Visually, this was a stand-out dish, and the taste blew me away. My dining partner, who is a self-proclaimed beef expert, didn’t stop talking about how fantastic his 300g succulent beef fillet tasted and how rare it is to eat such a magnificent steak these days, medium done and it got a score of well done. It came on a bed of roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes and was soft, elegantly presented and delightful.
With no room to breathe, I was reminded that we all have a separate stomach for dessert, so I ordered the tarte tatin and the chocolate ganache, both of which are made on site. The tarte tatin, we were told, would take approximately 15 minutes to make and made the evening complete. It was the best 15 minutes I would ever wait for a dessert. It was a magic combination of apples, ice cream and other heavenly ingredients, making it simply the best dessert I’ve ever had.
The chocolate ganache was also mouth-watering; however, it could not compete the tarte tatin.
Diners will be delighted to be pampered at the Rokach 73 restaurant. Even if you don’t eat seafood, you can still enjoy an array of food, as we did. But if you eat seafood, I imagine you would enjoy it even more.
As the restaurant overlooks a few tennis courts, go play a few games and work off some 2,000-3,000 calories. You’ll need to for the scrumptious dishes you will indulge in.
Rokach 73 - 73 Rokach St., Tel Aviv is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. till midnight; not kosher. (03) 744-8844.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.