Review: Yuppie kosher

Can a quality kosher dining spot succeed in the Tel Aviv area? Esteban seeks to answer "yes," with a creative menu and full bar.

yuppie kosher 88.298 (photo credit: )
yuppie kosher 88.298
(photo credit: )
Finding a quality kosher dining spot in the Tel Aviv area - one with a creative menu and a full bar - is sometimes more difficult than finding one in a major American city. Tel Aviv seems obsessed with calamaris, shrimp and pork. That is why Esteban, a new kosher bistro near the financial district of Ramat Gan, is a welcome addition to the city's dining scene, even though it's not in Tel Aviv proper. When Esteban opened two months ago on the ruin of Eduardo's (near Aroma and River Noodles Bar of the Moshe Aviv towers) it wasn't kosher. Then co-owner Nadav Gorlicki noticed that many people who live and work in the area are kosher eaters, so putting a kippa on the restaurant seemed like the right thing to do. "At first we were concerned with making it kosher because some think that the level of food is not as good," says Gorlicki. But then he discovered chef Moran Lidor, who was chef at the successful kosher Bistro 56 in Herzliya, and learned that with the right creative touch a kosher restaurant can rival the non-kosher spots. Lidor did a commendable job. The pate with sweetened onion (NIS 36) is mouth-watering, and the entrecote special served on au-gratin potatoes (NIS 79) could just as well have been served at any fine non-kosher meat restaurant. Some dishes, while tasty, fell a little short. Gorlicki envisions Esteban as a place for power business lunches (wireless internet available) and intimate dinners. He also built a bar on the outdoor terrace for professionals looking to unwind after work. With the mix of all these elements - kosher, Tel-Aviv style design, and two bars - Esteban could really fill a kosher void, or get lost in the many elements it mixes.