Ruben is a chain of kosher meat restaurants in Israel and we visited the Petach Tikva branch recently to sample the food. The place is very much a family eatery with a friendly ambiance, and the décor, consisting of large amounts of wood, including a whole wall of wooden discs, is very welcoming.
You can choose to sit in three different places – outside, on the patio, or inside. We opted for the air-conditioned interior, it being a particularly steamy evening.
I must confess to a bout of amnesia, which led to me to start our meal with goose liver. I had totally forgotten that this delicacy is the result of force-feeding geese, a cruel procedure that was banned in Israel years ago. Apparently, the product is now imported from Hungary. So I will not say too much about this shared starter, except to say that lumping it with a cream made from Lotus biscuits did not add to its charm. (NIS 95).
Bad starter aside, how was the food?
For the main course, my companion chose the asado and I the pargit. Both dishes arrived very quickly attesting to the excellent service the restaurant offers. The beef was accompanied by green beans and half a baked potato plus various blobs of this and that, one purporting to be truffle mayonnaise, although one was hard-pushed to detect the magical taste of the fungus.
Although very fatty in parts, there was also plenty of meat on the plate and this was very tender and not the slightest bit stringy. It was consumed with apparent relish and little was left on the plate, including the chimichurri and the BBQ sauce. (NIS 149).
My dish was described as “Asian chicken” and consisted of a large quantity of pargit in a sweet soy marinade with tehina and peanuts, with the whole dish covered in sesame seeds (NIS 89). I particularly liked the slaw on the side with bean sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and cucumber in a mildly acidic dressing.
Although by this time we were barely able to move, the manager insisted we at least taste the dessert offerings. The first, a pecan crème brule, was not at all bad, considering it was parve and the chocolate éclair, with lashings of sweet caramel sauce, was also acceptable. (NIS 46 for desserts).
Luckily for us, we had a half-hour journey back to Netanya to digest the evening’s excesses. It was certainly a very good meal in very pleasant surroundings.
Ruben, 36 Rehov Shacham, Petah Tikva.Tel. (03) 715-3767Open: Sunday-Wednesday, 12 noon-12 a.m.; Thursday, 12 p.m.-1 a.m.; Friday, 12 p.m.-two hours before Shabbat.Kashrut: Petah Tikva Rabbinate.Wheelchair accessible.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.