A Japanese gem in Jerusalem

JLM Sushi offers a genuine taste of the Orient

JLM Sushi offers a genuine taste of the Orient (photo credit: SIVAN SHUV-AMI)
JLM Sushi offers a genuine taste of the Orient
(photo credit: SIVAN SHUV-AMI)
On a recent trip to the US, I realized how much I miss authentic, clean sushi. So many of the sushi restaurants in Israel have adapted their menus to Israeli tastes by incorporating ingredients like cream cheese and smoked salmon, which have no place on a real sushi menu. Although there are some good sushi restaurants around the country, Jerusalem has very few.
So it was refreshing to find a sushi restaurant that offers simple, clean sushi, where the focus is on the quality of the fish. Despite the name, JLM Sushi is more of a Japanese bar with a variety of Japanese dishes, including sushi.
Chef Yankale Turjeman, owner and chef of 1868, Zuta and now JLM Sushi, hosted us in this intimate new bar. With such a small kitchen on the premises, it is not possible for the chef to create a menu to the level he desires, so he uses the larger kitchen in his 1868 restaurant to prepare some of the dishes on the JLM menu.
Turjeman prides himself on the high-quality selection of sake on the menu. Although I have tried sake many times before, I never particularly liked it, so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the various types of sake we tasted during our meal.
We started with the Nigorizake (NIS 19 for 50 centiliters), which was unfiltered and sweeter than standard sake. Next, we tasted the Noujun Shirataki sake (NIS 19/50cl), which was light and fruity, very much like white wine. Later, we sampled the Born Tokusen (NIS 210/300cl), which had been aged for two years at -5°C. We finished off with Beni Kikisu plum liqueur (NIS 25), which was delicious.
Although the food menu is not divided into traditional starters and main courses, we attempted to sample dishes from the various sections. We began our meal with a warming bowl of miso soup (NIS 18), which had a nice subtle flavor, with moist pieces of sous-vide chicken breast and cauliflower.
The crispy tartare dishes were all served in three homemade rice puffs, which themselves were flavorful and crackled as they entered the mouth. The red tuna and avocado tartare (NIS 26) had a subtle hint of spice, and the butcher’s cut tartare (NIS 22) was beautifully seared, with a crisp crunch from the accompanying pieces of apple.
From the gyoza menu (also served as three pieces), we tried the chicken with spring onion (NIS 24) and the veal short ribs with dried prunes (NIS 28). The dough on both dishes was delicate with plenty of filling. The gyoza were steamed and then seared on one side to create a crunch. The chicken gyoza had a wonderful kick of ginger inside, and the veal gyoza were rich and flavorful.
Next, we chose the veal short ribs steamed buns served with a barbecue plum sauce and pickled carrots (NIS 24). The dish was light but had a strong flavor, and the smoked sauce was a good complement to the veal.
From the salads section, we loved Turjeman’s Japanse take on Caesar salad (NIS 46). The lettuce hearts were served with a Japanese mayonnaise with a strong sesame oil flavor, candied pecans, fresh mango, dried orange, shallots, miso chicken and a traditional Japanese pickled egg.
Finally, on to the sushi. We chose a selection of both the maki and tamari (rice balls) sushi. The spicy tuna maki (NIS 38) and white fish maki (NIS 36) were both served as eight pieces, with well-prepared vegetables to elevate the taste of the fish. The red tuna tamari sushi (NIS 24) and salmon tamari sushi (NIS 22) had the same excellent quality of fish, but the fish was cut so thin that the slightly sweet rice overpowered the flavor.
The desserts were probably the highlight of the meal for me. It is safe to say that the coconut crème brulee with fresh mango (NIS 35) was the best parve crème brulee I have tasted, and I am a huge fan of crème brulee.
The most interesting dessert was without a doubt the trio of yuzu, soy sauce and green tea ice cream (NIS 19), with the soy sauce ice cream being the surprising winner of the three. The chocolate and yuzu mousse (NIS 39) was a good option for chocolate lovers but was elevated by adding the yuzu ice cream to cut the richness of the chocolate.
Dishes on the menu are marked as vegetarian and vegan, and the lunch menu includes Chirashi (Poke) bowls with a choice of fish (NIS 45) or vegetables (NIS 36).
JLM Sushi is a fun, informal choice for a date or a meal with friends. The menu is well suited to ordering lots of small dishes to share, and the sake selections are a very pleasant surprise indeed.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
JLM Sushi Kosher 10 King David St., Jerusalem Tel: (02) 622-2312 Sunday to Thursday, 12:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.