Yo'ezer is better

Dreams meet stomachs at Jaffa's legendary Yo'ezer Wine Bar - if you're cash starved, start saving now.

yoezer 88 (photo credit: )
yoezer 88
(photo credit: )
Legends, it seems, are born of three names: Yo'ezer, Wine and Bar. This Jaffa establishment has lived in my consciousness for a good six years now. I only visited it for the first time over a year ago and, on my 'official' visit, a couple months back. As such, a special out-of-town guest seemed like just the perfect moment to show off an establishment that could be equally impressive had we found ourselves in Manhattan or Paris or whatever other moot location - as if Yo'ezer could exist outside of Jaffa. Let me pat myself on the back. Not only did I succeed in realizing the obvious, but Yo'ezer proved a magical place to take my guest, a consumer of high-society as much as she is a graceful dining partner. We arrived to Yo'ezer in a Mercedes. A cab. No biggie. Getting out at the Jaffa Clock Tower is just, how do I say, cool. That feeling is accentuated with the entrance to the place - just down the alley - giving the impression of a high-class, not-too-well-hidden speakeasy. The space itself is otherworldly - somewhere between a bunker and a Medieval castle. The atmosphere whisks you away so quickly and so completely as to conjure up notions of whimsy and giggles in anticipation of the few hours to come. We sat down at a round table, one of the many eclectically collected pieces of antique furniture adorning the place for both style and function. Our skilled, capable and casual server arrived to help us find just the right wine to start with. We went with the Vieilles Vignes Chablis (NIS 190/46) and never looked back (with the one exception of the spotted glasses we received). To accompany our white beverage we took the house bread (NIS 18), of three varieties - hearty apparitions with beautiful crusts; the Blini with red caviar and crème fraiche (NIS 68); the Belgian endive salad with blue cheese and crème fraiche (NIS 50); the salmon tartar with red caviar and the yolk of a quail's egg (NIS 62); and tiny smoked octopi (NIS 38). Seemingly a lot of food, it was too tasty to notice and our stomachs begged for more. We obliged. We were treated to an intermediary course of: beef carpaccio (NIS 86), particularly thick making this a powerful dish beyond what is normally seen; fresh polenta with a poached egg and truffle oil (NIS 48); potato gnocchi with porcini mushrooms and truffle oil (NIS 116), the gnocchi had a decided pretzel flavor equals wonderful. Then, as if it were still humanly possible, we continued on to the main courses. Lucky, a good friend from Jaffa was passing by and he stopped in for a fork and a glass. To escort the mains down our esophagi, we again took the recommendation of our skilled server, enjoying a bottle of the Chateau de Puligny-Montrachet Monthelie (NIS 260). We all delighted in the entrecote steak served on a rosti (NIS 177/360). To say the meat was perfectly prepared is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Alongside, we also had the whole fresh truffle in a puff pastry shell (NIS 166). What can a person say about truffles that hasn't already been professed? Nothing really, so let's leave it at that. Finally, we concluded with a dessert of the old fashioned crème caramel (NIS 32), the coconut semifredo with chocolate truffles (NIS 38) and the yogurt ice cream with olive oil and candied orange peel (NIS 32). To drink we opted for the house Boukha (NIS 35/50), which I had never encountered before. This beverage, distilled from figs, was very close to a mild grappa, I wouldn't have identified the figs. To quote a famous Jew, "I like!" And that goes for the whole experience. Yo'ezer Wine Bar - 2 Yo'ezer, off the Clock Tower Square, Jaffa; (03) 683-9115 - is open Sun.-Thurs. From 12:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. and Fri. and Sat. from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; not kosher. The writer was a guest of the restaurant.