Extreme Kosher

L’Entrecote caters to a niche market within the world of mehadrin.

L’Entrecote (photo credit: DAN PERETZ)
(photo credit: DAN PERETZ)
I must have walked past the distinctive building on the corner of Ahad Ha’am and Nahalat Binyamin a hundred times without ever stepping foot inside. So I was happy to get the opportunity finally to enter the sanctum known as L'Entrecote and appreciate the handsome interior, with dark wood furnishings, leather chairs and an indoor brick wall.
There is only one specialty cocktail (NIS 39) on the entire alcohol menu: cranberry juice and fresh berries with your choice of premium vodka: Absolut or Finlandia. Either way, the result is a fruity and refreshing drink.
The food menu comprises two main categories, each one replete with choices. There are 12 First Courses (NIS 36-46), including several interesting vegan options, and an equal number of Main Courses (NIS 68-143), although with only one vegan option. There is a small subcategory of four Side Dishes (NIS 18), but each main course comes with one free side dish.
We started with the house focaccia (NIS 18), a warm and fluffy herbed loaf served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a mild red pepper spread, and a robust black tapenade. We barely had a chance to sample each when our first courses arrived with astonishing rapidity.
The dish that our waitress recommended was the liver pâté with spiced apple jam and berry confiture. This is always a winning combination, but here it also comes with thin slices of multi-seeded malt bread that elevates this version to something sublime.
Next was the beet and tomato salad, a colorful mélange of red and yellow cherry tomatoes interspersed with cubes of ruby-red beets. This delicious juxtaposition of slightly tart tomatoes with sweet morsels of beet was a refreshing change from the now commonplace beet salad with cheese and walnuts.
Our first choice of main course was the evening’s special: sirloin steak. The presentation of thick medallions with pink centers was stunningly beautiful, and our much anticipated first bites were – salty. After the second bites were the same, we had to call the waitress to inform her that the steak was too salty to eat.
She did not seem surprised. “It is because of the kashrut process,” she explained.
I begged to disagree. “I have eaten in many kosher restaurants,” I protested, “and the meat was not as salty as this.”
“Yes,” she replied, “but were they under Mahfoud supervision?”
To her credit, she immediately offered to replace the steak. She suggested we switch to the entrecôte, as the fillet was likely to be as salty as the sirloin.
The entrecôte was indeed a great improvement. It was accompanied by a heaping green salad dressed in a honey-mustard vinaigrette.
Our second main course was the mixed grill – a generous platter laden with lamb chops, pullet, and kebabs. The lamb chops and pullet – along with the side of roasted potatoes – were unremarkable, while the round kebabs were actually moderately seasoned entrecôte patties.
The separate dessert menu lists seven desserts (NIS 36-46), and there was one special dessert described by our waitress. Of the three chocolate-centric desserts, we went with the Galaxy Ball – a dark chocolate sphere over which the waiter pours hot chocolate sauce that dramatically melts the shell, revealing a white, lotus-flavored confection within. Truly a chocolate lover’s delight.
Our slice of apple pie, meanwhile, was an appetizing triangular wedge of rich, cinnamony apple filling on a thin crust. This more than compensated for the accompanying scoop of typically forgettable parve vanilla ice cream.
By the time we finished our meal, the restaurant was filled to overflowing, even though it was midweek. Clearly, L’Entrecote offers a menu that pleases a certain appreciative segment of Tel Aviv’s kashrut-observing population.
Ahad Ha’am Street 28, Tel Aviv
Tel: (03) 633-7733
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.