Attention, meat lovers

Harvey’s Smokehouse is new, it’s kosher, and it really hits the spot

A dish at Harvey’s Smokehouse (photo credit: Courtesy)
A dish at Harvey’s Smokehouse
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Harvey’s Smokehouse is only a couple of weeks old, and already the word about it is spreading fast. Real kosher barbecue has finally arrived in Jerusalem. For most of us, there comes a time when we are really in the mood for meat. Not the casual roast beef sandwich but a good cut of beef grilled to perfection. Harvey’s provides everything that the true meat lover seeks.
Situated in the city center, Harvey’s Smokehouse is the brainchild of Harvey Sandler, who ran Gabriel (in the same location) for six years. The Canadian-born Sandler has always had a passion about cooking with fire and wood. Having closed Gabriel in December, he felt there was a need for Southern style barbecue food, especially in Jerusalem. The restaurant has four smokers – one each for brisket, pulled beef, asado and chicken. According to Sandler, the menu is not based on just one region – it is a combination of Texas, Kansas City and southern Carolina barbecue.
My first impression was of a place that knows its nature. Sleek, modern and uncomplicated, it has a huge, impressively stocked bar that covers a large section of the downstairs area (there is an upstairs area for larger parties). It is accentuated by the works of Jerusalem street artist Solomon Souza, who is best known for spray painting portraits of contemporary and historical figures on the metal shutters of the Mahaneh Yehuda market.
My dining companion and I were served delicious cocktails to start, setting the tone for an evening of fine food. The Smoke Sour cocktail consisted of Laphroig, Jim Bean and mango. It went particularly well with our first starter called burnt ends, composed of cubes of caramelized brisket in a Kansas city style BBQ sauce, with a side of tasty yam chips (NIS 53). This was a hearty portion of delectable, tangy, meltin- your-mouth meat.
Next up was the popcorn chicken served with BBQ sauce, chipotle mayo and sweet chili sauce (NIS 42). It was delicious. The well-seasoned chicken was crisp and juicy. And the amount of batter was just right – not oily at all.
We were then served Harvey’s Smokehouse salad, which consisted of Mesquite chicken breast, cherrywood-smoked lamb “bacon” bits, Romaine lettuce, tomato, radish, avocado, crispy onions and creamy ranch dressing (NIS 52). The myriad of flavors and textures blended very well together. The chicken was tender and flavorful, and the dressing was light yet hearty.
This was followed by the pulled beef soft tacos with chipotle mayo, charred spicy pepper salsa, cilantro and guacamole (NIS 46). The tacos were sublime – the beef was especially juicy and flavorful, and the shells had just the right amount of crispness.
After a bit of a breather, we were presented with a meat platter fit for royalty. It included hickorysmoked brisket; cherrywoodsmoked asado; chorizo; hickorysmoked pulled shoulder beef slivers; hasselback potato; and a unique corn bread with chili peppers and pecans.
A clear favorite was the asado – served dry as all good barbecue should be. It was fall-off-the-bone tender with a nice crispy texture on the outside. The asado had a great smoky flavor that had infused itself throughout every bit of the meat. It’s a very distinct flavor and quite strong, as I was still able to taste it several hours later. We also really enjoyed the pulled beef shoulder, which was soft, smoky and well seasoned. The outside pieces were sweet and sticky from the slowcooking process. No knives were needed here. As for the brisket, it was a bit dry and needed more flavor.
For dessert, we tried the chocolate soufflé (NIS 34) and halva ice cream (NIS 32). As far as parve desserts go, these were very tasty.
Overall, it was a great satisfying meal that really hit the spot when craving some real barbecue. This may not be an elegant dining establishment, but it is a place for serious meat eaters to enjoy a truly sumptuous meal. In fact, the food was so abundant that I could only eat half and had the rest as a very flavorful lunch the next day. I will definitely be going there again.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Harvey’s Smokehouse
7 Shimon Ben-Shetach St., Jerusalem
Tel: (02) 624-6444