Jacko’s Street has been around for 10 years, quite an accomplishment in the notoriously volatile restaurant business. The secret is innovative food from chef Jackai Huja, excellent service, and a fun vibe.
My foodie son and I arrived at Jacko’s 20 minutes late for a 6:00 p.m. reservation, which is when they first open for dinner.
“That’s OK, we know that life happens,” the hostess said as I apologized.
The restaurant was mostly empty, with a few families eating an early dinner in the dim restaurant (Pro-tip: make sure the flashlight on your phone works, or better yet, do what we did and ask them to surprise you). By the time we left at 8:30, every seat was taken with a mix of families, work colleagues, groups of friends, and couples on a date. The noise got a little louder, but it was not overwhelming and the all-Israeli playlist could still be heard.
Not cheap, but excellent value
Jacko’s Street is not a cheap restaurant and it’s not fast food, but I think it offers excellent value for money.
Manager Amir Ohana, who takes great pride in the restaurant, says that on Sukkot and Pesach they’re booked solid with American tourists, some of whom come back every year. Manager Amir Ohana says all of the waitstaff must speak English well, and the menu is available in both English and Hebrew.
Ohana suggested we try tasting portions of several of the appetizers and that he would surprise us. We started with their signature cocktail that is based on rum and has a pine cone on top (NIS 62). My son tried a gin-based cocktail made with a za’atar (wild oregano) syrup (NIS 58).
The famous za’atar spice showed up again in the first appetizer we tried, Sashimi Beit Safafa (NIS 68) that was a unique combination of drum fish with za’atar oil, bamia (okra) in tempura and other good stuff. There was also a raw tuna dish in a spicy Thai sauce (NIS 68) that was delicious but had quite a kick. Next was a fricassee, a traditional Tunisian sandwich usually made with canned tuna and egg. This was elevated by using raw tuna instead of canned (NIS 68), although the flavor of the fish was somewhat lost in the soft bun.
We then tried a vegan appetizer, a roasted cabbage with chimichurri, za’atar and caramelized tehina. It could be a meal for any of you misguided folk, including my friend Estelle, who insists on eating vegan. (Note: That last sentence is a joke, not meant to offend any vegans so please stop writing that hate mail right now!!)
Moving on, we tried one of the most unique dishes I’ve had in a while, hamusta ravioli (NIS 70). Hamusta, of course, is a style of kubbeh soup made with lemon and mangold leaves. This soup had ravioli stuffed with slow-cooked siske meat and the soup was flavored with celery, garlic and Swiss chard. It was a nice homage to Chef Huja’s Iraqi roots.
Speaking of Iraqi roots, we also tried the kubbeh foie gras (NIS 88), kubbeh stuffed with siske again in a bright purple beetroot sauce. It was delicious although I, unfortunately, didn’t taste the foie gras.
For main dishes, we tried the mushroom and asado risotto (NIS 90) made with beef stock and date honey. It was the ultimate comfort food.
Our second main dish was a very well-cooked entrecôte steak (NIS 188) with burnt potatoes with garlic and chimichurri. If someone in your group has been longing for a good steak, this is a good place to go.
By this point, even my 21-year-old foodie son was full but he rallied for dessert, a large platter with fresh fruit and two desserts – the first of pastry shells filled with sorbet and the other a decadent chocolate mousse. If I wasn’t writing a review, I would have stuck to the fresh fruit. (And if you believe that, there’s a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.)
There is also an excellent wine list arranged by Israeli geography from the Golan Heights in the north to the Negev in the south. Quite a few wines are available by the glass and with my steak I enjoyed a glass of 2-T, a lovely blend of two Portuguese varieties from the Golan Heights winery.
Overall, the meal was delicious and a great place to go for a special occasion.
Jacko’s StreetAgrippas 74Phone: 02-581-7178Hour: Sunday-Thursday 6:00 p.m. – last customer (Reservations highly recommended)Kashrut: Rabbanut Jerusalem (much of the meat is Halak Beit Yosef)
The writer was a guest of the restaurant