Just for the fun of it

Chefs Sasson and Raz have a field day with Hashedra.

Hashedra restaurant (photo credit: PR)
Hashedra restaurant
(photo credit: PR)
Situated in the heart of Ben- Gurion Street in Tel Aviv, Hashdera 34 has always been a local favorite known for its inexpensive and hearty food. A few months ago the restaurant was taken over by renowned chefs Elad Sasson and Nitzan Raz who, through a bit of a makeover, have turned Hashdera 34 into Hashdera Fun Food.
This place is terrific, with delicious and imaginative food in both smaller tapas type portions and full dinner size. The three-sided bar centers around the kitchen area, allowing guests to witness the creation of their meal step by step. From the relaxed decor to the meticulously selected ingredients, it is clear that a lot of thought and preparation went into developing this restaurant’s design and menu.
Chef Sasson is a colorful character on the culinary scene, and he gives the impression of someone who has dedicated his life to good food and drink.
We started with the On the Table section of the menu. This included a variety of interesting tapas dishes (1 for NIS 15; 3 for NIS 42; 5 for NIS 59). We chose the beet carpaccio, Nitzi’s famous hummus and the herb and quinoa salad. All were a delight; they were beautifully presented, and the ingredients were of the highest quality.
Sasson then presented us with his “crazy” pizza (not on the menu, as Sasson decides what ingredients to use on the spur of the moment). This pizza was what I had been waiting for – and it didn’t disappoint. What I noticed about this pizza in particular was the crust. Most places these days focus only on the outside crust, which is good, but they forget the center of the pizza, where the crust is thin and can be under-cooked. Not the case here. The crust was crisp and cooked perfectly throughout, and the fresh ingredients were applied afterward. With thin slices of artichoke, mushrooms, arugula and tons of beautiful cheese – both mozzarella and freshly shaved Parmesan – it was delicious.
After a bit of a breather, we were presented with the special of the day, which was a short rib burger. This was a surprising standout. The patty, a mixture of twice-ground short rib, retained plenty of moisture and flavor. It needed no condiments. The accompanying fries were great, too.
Last, we tried the minced lamb (NIS 56) with tehina, accompanied by pickled lemons, olives and small pockets of warm pita bread. The high quality of the meat was evident in the taste of the food. The lamb was perfectly seasoned, tender and juicy. It wasn’t fatty at all and very flavorful. I think the best way to eat it is to sandwich it in between the pita with a dab of tehina.
Already bursting, we politely declined dessert, but Sasson would have none of that, so we tried the devilishly decadent hot chocolate cake. A decidedly good choice!
From start to finish, the dinner was a great experience. The atmosphere was wonderful, and I would say snag a seat at the bar if you can.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Hashdera Fun Food (Not kosher) 34 Ben-Gurion Street, Tel Aviv.