Minato: Bringing kosher Japanese food to homes amid COVID-19

Based in Herzliya Pituah, the delivery operation reaches as far away as Tel Aviv and Netanya.

Minato (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Who are the unsung heroes of the corona era? Doctors, nurses, lab technicians? All of these, of course, but, for me, it’s the motorcyclists, helmeted and ready to deliver food to anyone who orders a takeaway meal.
We recently paid a visit to Minato, the kosher Japanese restaurant in Herzliya Pituah, and watched them in action, roaring off on their bikes laden with bags of food for some lucky customer’s evening meal.
The veteran restaurant has quickly adapted to the new reality, under the direction of Guy Bejerano, the manager, who has worked there for years. He started out as a humble waiter, while studying for a degree in political science, and rose to the present heights, overseeing the delivery operation to as far away as Tel Aviv and Netanya.
We arrived earlier than scheduled to pick up our meal so were able to observe what goes on in a popular Japanese restaurant, presided over by an authentic Japanese chef. Aki Tamura has been there for years. His parents run a sushi emporium in Tokyo.
Bejerano explained that in Japan there are no starters or main courses, but everything is laid out at once so diners can take whatever they fancy. However, we felt the tuna tartare would make a good opener for the feast to come.
Tartare, of course, is a posh way of saying raw, and raw fish is not to everyone’s taste. But this was great, very fresh chunks of tuna, marinated in something spicy and served on a bed of very crispy tempura flakes. It just needed a dollop of teriyaki sauce to make this a gourmet opener to our Japanese meal (NIS 91).
The next course was a cold noodle salad which was made from soba noodles, another Japanese specialty. “Soba” is the Japanese word for buckwheat or what we call kasha here in Israel. The noodles are thin, slightly gray in tone and chewy. The salad also consists of mixed greens, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, with diced tofu, wakame seaweed and tamago strips, which is another way of describing omelet. It was dressed with a mildly sweet sesame sauce (NIS 64).
Sushi is one of those foods one either loves or hates; there doesn’t seem to be a middle road when it comes to this staple of the Japanese cuisine. Fortunately, we are definitely pro-sushi. It’s exotic, healthy, aesthetic and filling, without being too calorific.
These sushis were filled with raw tuna and salmon, avocado and tiny cucumber sticks, and were as good as expected. The little containers of soy sauce came in handy for this course (NIS 39 for eight).
Two other containers held wasabi seaweed and some pickled aubergine to add variety.
We ended our meal with some mochi, a cake made from short grain glutinous rice filled with fruit ice cream, one lemon-flavored, one cherry. They were pleasantly refreshing and not oversweet.
So, until we can all travel to Tokyo again, Minato will have to do.
Minato, Kosher
8 Hamenofim Street
Herzliya Pituah
Tel. (09) 773-1703
Open: Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. until an hour and a half before Shabbat.
Saturday night: Opens one hour after Shabbat.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.