Where’s the beef? In this restaurant in the far north

Say hello to 300 grams, a bucolic, kosher meat restaurant that is worth the trek to Israel's north.

 The meat platter at 300 grams (photo credit: GILAD HAR SHELEG)
The meat platter at 300 grams
(photo credit: GILAD HAR SHELEG)

The venerable Michelin travel guides have a rating for notable restaurants that includes the phrase “worth a detour.” This description aptly applies to the rural restaurant 300 grams, located deep in the heart of Moshav Betzet, a stone’s throw from the Lebanese border.

Chef Itai Hasson relocated to this tranquil area after earning his culinary chops in the kitchens of the Dan chain of luxury hotels. He has opened his own place, specializing in steaks, and drew the inspiration for the name from the usual size of cuts served in fine dining establishments.

Much of Hasson's business comes from feeding tour groups sightseeing in the western Galilee, as well as company retreats and private events. Still, there is plenty of space in the several rooms of the rustic premises for smaller parties.

There is a limited bar and no specialty cocktails, as 300 grams focuses more on the full-bodied red wines that go so well with red meat. Of course, other varieties of wine are also available, along with beer and soft drinks.

The featured house wines come from two of Israel’s most highly regarded kosher wineries: Recanati and Gamla. Vintages from the former are available by the bottle or glass, while the latter may be ordered by the bottle or half-bottle.

 The mezze (salads) starter at 300 grams (credit: BUZZY GORDON) The mezze (salads) starter at 300 grams (credit: BUZZY GORDON)

There is a newly updated food menu (with an English version reportedly in the works), comprising five sections: Starters (NIS 25-120) and Main Courses (NIS 60-189), plus three set meals: the Combination (for two people, NIS 199), the House Tapas (also for two people, NIS 350) and the Carnivore (NIS 499 for four people). In addition, there are two Kids’ Meals (NIS 50), and House Bread with four dips (NIS 18).

The main difference between the two fixed-price options for couples is that, while the Combination includes three meat main courses, there are no steaks – the House Tapas adds entrecote to the mixed grill main course. While there are not a lot of choices for vegetarians/vegans, those eschewing meat can still enjoy a full meal consisting of salads and a vegan burger. There is no gluten-free alternative to the house bread.

The most popular starter – included in all set meals – is the tapas assortment, an array of eight mezze (salads) which reflect the true talents of the chef. The most noteworthy small plates here were the coarse hummus (whose pale hue belies its excellence); the vegan labaneh, seasoned with olive oil and zaatar; the startlingly sweet onion cream; and the particularly intriguing melon cubes dappled with zhug.

Another impressive starter was the pullet shwarma – a mound of surprisingly moist and juicy shards of dark-meat poultry, gently spiced and served with a robust homemade amba sauce.

Perhaps because we were being treated to a tasting menu, we were not asked how we wanted our meat grilled – an unforgivable sin for any steak restaurant. We were assured that customers are generally asked for their grilling preference; but if this omission should occur, they will gladly correct the oversight.

The house recommendation for grilling is medium – primarily, we were told, because otherwise many would request well-done. Unfortunately, we discovered that even what the grillman considered medium was actually well-done.

Our meat platter reflected just about everything on the steak menu; and when everything was grilled to our satisfaction, we enjoyed succulent filet mignon, marbled entrecôte that was tender and flavorful, and sirloin steak that practically melted in the mouth. The standard sides were tasty al dente green beans, as well as unremarkable baked potato wedges.

The dessert menu is not printed but rather recited by the wait staff. Like many pareve desserts, most of what we sampled – and especially the vanilla mousse – suffered from the absence of a dairy component. There was one standout, however: the Ferrero Rocher chocolate delicacy.

There is no espresso, but the Turkish coffee was a worthy hot drink as an accompaniment to dessert.

300 grams.Kosher.Moshav Betzet, Western Galilee.Tel. (072) 395-1758.

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.