Pushing out the sushi boat

Packed daily despite a total absence of advertising, Sushibar, in Jerusalem's Rehavia neighborhood, has had its teething problems.

With a sushi-loving relative sick at home, what could be better than to bring back something that would lift her spirits? A colleague had recently raved about a new kosher sushi bar on Rehov Aza, and we decided to give Sushibar Rehavia a try. Suitably impressed, the next step was to enjoy a full meal on the premises. On a cold, windy Jerusalem evening we entered the nicely heated and nearly full restaurant. We were a bit disappointed by the miso soup with wakame seaweed, scallions and tofu with which we started, for while a generous serving, it was lukewarm; the one we had as a take-away was far superior. The salmon tartar that followed was exquisite and beautifully served, with the thinnest slice of cucumber surrounding the avocado and salmon. It tasted even better than it looked. The seared tuna tataki on a bed of seaweed salad in miso/sesame sauce with thinly sliced fried onions was another delight, fresh and seared to perfection. The chicken gyoza was good, although the sauce was a little too thick and cloying. The assortment of sushi, futomaki, figri, sashimi, ormaki and hot tempura roll were all fine, the rice light and airy, and the assortment of fish deliciously fresh and served on a wooden boat. Albeit fun and attractive, such a presentation is a tad kitschy - not as elegant or appetizing as when served on a white china plate. We were too full at this stage to enjoy the noodles with chicken in coconut milk which followed, so our waitress gladly supplied us with a doggie bag. There are many noodle dishes, chicken wings and vegetarian dishes to choose from on the menu. Packed daily despite a total absence of advertising, Sushibar has had its teething problems. It has recently hired renowned sushi expert Dror Shushan (owner of Japanika in Tel Aviv) as a consultant. Dror visits the Rehavia eatery regularly, revising the menu, improving where needed, supervising Akki and Jacky, the two Japanese chefs, and David and Dudu in the kitchen, who are responsible for cooked dishes such as rice, noodles and stir-fries. Menus are in Hebrew and English (a majority of the clientele appear to be English-speaking), and there is a reasonable drinks menu with wine by the bottle or glass. Beers, arak, vodka and scotch are also available. First courses range from NIS 14 to NIS 32; main courses from NIS 38 to 60; sushi from NIS 12 to NIS 42 and combination plates from NIS 32 to NIS 156; desserts cost between NIS 14 and NIS 26. In addition, the restaurant offes a selection of lunch deals, and students can get free warm sake from 10:30 p.m. Take-away and delivery is available from noon till 7 p.m. Open Monday to Thursday noon to midnight, Friday from noon to 3 p.m., Saturday 7:30 p.m. through midnight. Sushibar, 29 Rehov Aza, (02) 566-7477; kosher.