Yama: Kosher sushi that’s not just for haredim

If you want to eat at the restaurant, reservations are recommended.

 Sushi from Yama (photo credit: Uriel Churgin)
Sushi from Yama
(photo credit: Uriel Churgin)

The Har Hotzvim industrial zone in northern Jerusalem has become a food mecca for the haredim in Jerusalem. A new addition is Yama, which is Badatz Mehadrin and has a hechsher from Rabbi Ruben, which is apparently as high as you can go. Chef Israel Miretzky, 35, says that as far as he knows, it is the first Asian restaurant with the Ruben certification in Israel.

Yama offers an extensive menu of sushi and Asian dishes from Vietnam, Thailand, Japan and China. Miretzky has worked in restaurants in both the US and Israel, including the Michelin-starred restaurant Alinea in Chicago. He says that’s where he learned the importance of keeping all of the ingredients separate until they are combined on the plate. So he has separate cutting boards and knives for vegetables, fish and meat and is meticulous about cleanliness.

He is also meticulous about his ingredients. The fish comes fresh from a fishmonger in Ashdod. The meat is fresh from the Golan Heights. Most of the sauces and condiments are made in-house, for reasons of both kashrut and quality control.

Before we even looked at the menu, we received an amuse bouche of tuna tataki in a ponzu sauce with seaweed dust topped with a salsa of cucumber, pineapple and kiwi. It was a great interplay of flavors and beautifully arranged on the plate.

The 50-seat restaurant has an extensive two-sided laminated plastic menu. One entire side is sushi, and the other side is all the other dishes On the sushi side, Miretzky suggested the Adumhi roll (NIS 58), a roll of shitake mushrooms, tamago (the omelet sushi) and cucumber wrapped in sea bass and topped with black garlic. It was unique and delicious.

 Sushi from Yama (credit: Uriel Churgin) Sushi from Yama (credit: Uriel Churgin)

For the main courses, I asked Miretzky to send me small tasting portions of a few different dishes so I can’t comment about portion size, although from glances at nearby tables, the portions looked quite large.

We tried the Mongolian beef strips of soft beef in a sweet sauce with green onions and green peppers (NIS 94), the kung-pao chicken (NIS 69) of chunks of white meat chicken sauteed with red peppers and cashews in a sweet and spicy sauce, and the fried rice (NIS 31) which is listed as an appetizer but is a large portion of fried rice with cauliflower, broccoli, peppers and bok choy in a delicious sauce. Next time I’ll try the pho soup (NIS 65), beef sauteed in garlic and goose fat with noodles and simmered in a beef stock that is cooked for 24 hours. I’ll also go for the Yama sushi roll of tuna, salmon, yellowtail and white fish wrapped in beets and crispy sweet potatoes.

Yama is also on 10-bis, the subsidized lunch program for hi-tech workers. So if you have anyone working in hi-tech in your household, steal (I mean borrow) his 10-bis card and go to town. If you want to eat at the restaurant, reservations are recommended.

YamaKiryat Mada 3, Har HotzvimHours: 12 – 11 pm Sunday-Thursdays, Saturdays an hour after ShabbatPhone: 02-6200400Kashrut: Badatz Mehadrin, Rav Ruben

The writer was a guest of the restaurant.