Como a feast for the eyes and stomach

I chose the local Middle Eastern dessert known as knafeh, and it was unbelievably delicious.

Como (photo credit: DANIEL LAYLA)
(photo credit: DANIEL LAYLA)
Herzliya Pituah is full of good restaurants and some of the best ones are also kosher. But not all are in and around the Marina. Como, the newest addition, is situated in the NYX, a hotel in the heart of the business area and a short distance from the sea. Designed by architect Ari Shaltiel with interior design by unconventional French immigrant Jennifer Abessira, the Como is a feast for the eyes and not just the stomach.
To get into the right mood, we ordered cocktails to drink while waiting for the food. My choice was gin and tonic cucumber, while my companion chose whiskey sour (each NIS 42). A curl of thin cucumber decorated my glass – in every other respect it was a standard, and very strong G&T, served with a large quantity of crushed ice.
To have something to nibble with the drinks we ordered hot focaccia with tabasco aioli. The fresh crispy bread tasted as though it had just emerged from the oven, while the spicy pungent dip did a marvelous job of stimulating the taste buds before the meal.
Several very tasty starters included two kinds of eggplant salad, labaneh, and a sea-fish tartare made from yellowtail which was exceptional – small chunks of raw fish highly spiced and doused in lemon mixed with diced salad vegetables and dill (NIS 58).
Another substantial first course was the porcini gnocchi with Parmesan and truffle oil (NIS 60). The potatoes, explained chef Lior Yaakov, who came over to say hello, were first baked for three hours with kosher salt to remove any moisture before being turned into gnocchi. The young chef was enjoying the challenge of cooking kosher after much experience in the non-kosher domain.
For main courses we both chose fish, my companion had the sea bass (NIS 89) and I chose the Asian salmon NIS 86). The crispy sea bass was served on a bed of black lentils and was pronounced very good. The salmon, according to the menu, had been marinated in sake, mirin and soya, all pungent and spicy flavors but the dish had an unexpected sweetness which was very appealing.
The accompanying vegetables were a buttery smooth potato puree and carrots of various shades, including deep purple.
We drank a glass each of Montefiore Colombard Chardonnay, a nicely dry white wine that complemented the fish (NIS 38 a glass).
While the starters and mains had been good, the desserts were outstanding. My companion chose the cheesecake, a thick wedge topped with a huge lemon-flavored tuile (thin curled cookie). Around this edifice were meringues and fresh cream (NIS 42).
I chose the local Middle Eastern dessert known as knafeh, and it was unbelievably delicious, a kind of shredded wheat topped with a mix of mascarpone and ricotta doused in syrup and decorated with cherries (NIS 42).
The service throughout was solicitous, the surroundings aesthetic, and the ambience warm and welcoming. For an evening out to remember, Como really fits the bill.
Como at Hotel NYX
Rehov Abba Eban 19, Herzliya Pituah
Tel: 09-890-5000
Sun-Thurs: 12 noon-10 p.m.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.