With a name like Entrecote, you would expect a good steak to be on the menu, and you would be right.
But for those who eschew beef, like me, there is a wide variety of other dishes to choose from, including fish, although a vegetarian would be hard put to find something to eat as a main course.
The place is glatt kosher and reminded me very much of Israel circa 1975, with a menu offering grills, skewers and dishes of hummus and falafel as starters.
So, feeling nostalgic, we settled down to an evening of gastronomic memories.
We chose the mixed salads as a first course, which are traditionally eaten with lafa, a large flat pita. For NIS 22 each, our sweet waitress – an 11th grader – brought small dishes containing a variety of fresh salads. Almost every vegetable ever grown appeared to have been commandeered into this expansive starter – tomatoes, beetroot, sweet potato, carrot, cabbage, corn and at least two types of eggplant.
The predominant spice used in most of these salads was pilpel harif, or chili pepper. Luckily, we have trained our palates over the years to enjoy spicy food, so the starter went down really well, and we marveled at the wonderful things a good chef can do with vegetables.
For a main course, my companion chose a grilled entrecôte steak and seemed very satisfied with it, although the usual “rare, medium, or well-done?” question had not been asked. It was tender, tasty and vanished with surprising alacrity (NIS 119).
My choice was grilled pargit, and a huge amount of the dark chicken meat arrived at our table. It required stamina and persistence to finish and, regrettably, I had neither (NIS 59).
The side dish of mushrooms made me think of a food critic employed at The Jerusalem Post many years ago, Haim Shapiro. He wrote well and was idiosyncratic both in his choice of words and food.
His bête noire was canned mushrooms – much more common in the ’70s than now – and he slammed them on every possible occasion. These, even with the addition of fried onions, would have had Haim going apoplectic (NIS 29/23).
We shared a cassata as dessert. This consisted of a mousse-like vanilla cream wedged between two wafers with a chocolate nut topping (NIS 34). It was passable.
For liquid refreshment my companion drank a very large glass of ale (NIS 23), and I had a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, which seemed the right choice for the somewhat earthy food.
Before leaving we inspected the private room behind a screen which is popular for small parties. It has the trunk of an old tree growing through the ceiling – quite an unusual sight.
The restaurant can also cater for parties of up to 130 people, and is very popular among the haredi residents of the area.
There is no English menu, but the helpful staff will explain what is available. But take my tip and learn Hebrew – it can be very useful.
Entrecote28 A.D. Gordon StreetPetah TikvaTel: (03) 934-2510Open: Sun.-Thurs., 11 a.m-11:30 p.m.Kashrut: Mehadrin Beit Yosef.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.