Dining downtown

David & Yosef Downtown unveils a special Sunday summer menu

David & Yosef Downtown (photo credit: AFIK GABBAY)
David & Yosef Downtown
(photo credit: AFIK GABBAY)
David & Yosef are two chefs whose loyal followers have enabled them to move their upscale, fine dining restaurant to a parcel of prime Tel Aviv real estate – Montefiore St. just off Allenby, right around the corner from the Great Synagogue – a location which the owners have even enshrined in the establishment’s name, alongside their own.
Accordingly, they have also invested in making their surprisingly compact property an attractive venue, comprising three indoor levels indoors, including two bars (on separate floors) and an intimate balcony. In addition, there is a pleasant al fresco seating area on the sidewalk.
 In order to get more people out on a balmy summer’s eve, David & Yosef Downtown has introduced a specially priced Sunday evening menu, loosely based on the widespread “business lunch” concept adopted by so many Israeli restaurants (this particular restaurant is not open for lunch): appetizers and main courses for the price of just the main course. The cost of this expanded Sunday meal ranges between NIS 115-210 per person. 
Happily, this evening menu is even more generous than most discounted lunch offerings. The free appetizers number no fewer than eight small starters, served to each table of one or two persons. Moreover, these small plates are accompanied by a large, warm, liberally herbed focaccia.
On top of all this, there is a special wine list associated with the Sunday evening menu: a choice of one of six bottles of wine for only NIS 99 a bottle. There are two vintages each of rosé, white and red on the list, making for a more than adequate selection.
First things first, however: There are four specialty summer cocktails (NIS 55-59), one of which is frozen. Since we were going to share a whole bottle of wine, we decided to order just one cocktail: the Watermelon, a blend of vodka, Aperol, watermelon, basil, lemon and sugar that was fruity and refreshing – just right for a warm summer evening.
It did not take long for the appetizers to arrive, and it was great fun tasting them all. I can honestly say that there was not a single one we did not like, but we especially enjoyed the smoky egg salad, the American coleslaw, the julienned beets with pumpkin seeds, the yellow and red cherry tomatoes seasoned with garlic and coriander, and a rather unique tabouleh of herbs, grapes and tiny morsels of raw fish.
The long list of main courses made deciding tough. One fact that stood out in this day and age is that there was not a single vegan option, and just one vegetarian dish – pasta.
We finally settled on one dish each of steak and fish. The succulent slices of seared tuna were a beautiful ruby red, gently enhanced by an exotic sauce of yogurt, pickled lemon and soy.   
Similarly, the slices of sirloin tataki were a perfect medium rare, and tender enough to cut with a fork. The delicious beef was accompanied by crunchy white corn kernels and roasted mango, pairings that – together with a coriander and ginger vinaigrette – imparted an unusual yet pleasant sweetness to the meat.
It was nice to see that four of the six wines offered at Sunday’s special price were meant to be served chilled. We were very happy with our Italian Pinot Grigio, which managed to be crisp and fruity at the same time.
The stunningly presented desserts (NIS 52-69) are not included in the Sunday deal, but it is worth splurging and splitting at least one. The Spring Blossom, for example – two slices of cheesecake draped in lemon-yuzu fruit leather, with mandarin sorbet and caramelized orange – was a sheer delight.
Another terrific – and surprisingly light – dessert was the Summer Brulée: lemongrass crême brulée with white chocolate ganache, blood orange and lychee-yuzu sorbet. The semifreddo crême brulée resembled a golden scoop of burrata, while the river of ivory ganache was garnished with colorful edible flower petals. A sweet feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

David & Yosef Downtown
Not kosher
Montefiore St. 21, Tel Aviv
Ph: 03-604-0036
Open daily 7 p.m.-midnight
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.