Making America great again... in Tel Aviv

Cuisine from the red-white-and-blue makes its way to Israel in the form of home-cooked, BBQ fare with flare.

Tel Aviv restaurant and bar America (photo credit: BEN YUSTER)
Tel Aviv restaurant and bar America
(photo credit: BEN YUSTER)
It is always great to see a restaurant putting their own spin and creative riffs on classic American comfort foods. And this is exactly what restaurant and bar America does. Located on Tel Aviv’s bustling Ibn Gvirol Street, America is spread over 1,200 meters with beautiful outside gardens and eateries, including ‘Merica (Soul Food), Gringos Tacos, Johnson for cocktails and America Coffee, a food truck.
America offer two separate menus - one replete with Mexican dishes while the other chock-full of American classics, from cheeseburgers to mac and cheese and regional favorites like po’boys and jambalaya from New Orleans.
We began our culinary journey with the Al Pastor tacos (NIS 38). These tacos are a favorite in Mexico and Mexican restaurants throughout the world for good reason: The mixture of smoky, spicy chilies, sweet pineapples and fresh onions and cilantro is taco perfection. Traditionally, Tacos al Pastor is made by marinating chicken in chili sauce, layering the meat on a vertical rotisserie, adorning with a pineapple and roasting slowly for hours. America’s version of Al Pastor tacos were some of the most flavorfully-marinated I’ve ever had; I was worried the pineapples would make them too sweet but it was offset so nicely by the onions and other spices! The tacos were also packed full of meat.
This was followed by the fat man fried pickles (NIS 18). I’m not a huge fan of pickles but these were delicious. The batter was light and the pickle inside was crisp and sour The mustard sauce that was included was a great finishing touch to this dish.
Next up was the corn bread (NIS 24) Warm, right out of the oven, and oh so good. Super corny, super buttery. It had a nice outer crunch on the ends and was super soft and moist on the inside.
We were then served the scotch egg (NIS 38) which consists of a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and baked or deep-fried. I‘d been wanting to try this dish for awhile, and it was delicious! The breading outside was light and crispy, and one cut in with my knife revealed the crumbly yolk. The combination of the sausage and the egg was like brunch for dinner.
After a breather and some delicious cocktails, we were presented with the BBQ chicken wings (NIS 54). I am always hesitant to order wings because they are usually not cooked enough and have that raw fat on them. But these didn’t. The wings were seasoned well and fried perfectly crispy, even when eaten cold a day later!
Last but not least we were served the cheeseburger sliders (NIS 38). My issue with sliders is that there are usually too many ingredients for such a small burger, but this was very well put together. The burgers were cooked perfectly, which I always find tough when it comes to sliders, and were totally delicious. Two left me satisfied; three would have been better but perhaps a bit too much. Over the course of the evening, I saw many burger plates leave the kitchen, obviously a favorite with the customers.
We ordered hot drinks and took another breather. Then came dessert. We were pleasantly surprised by the corn flakes ice cream (NIS 38). It was incredibly nostalgic, bringing me back to my childhood. Remember when you would get to the end of a bowl of cereal and all that was left was the milk which absorbed the flavor of whatever cereal you were eating. It was really good and not too sweet, and the added corn flakes added a good crispy texture to the ice cream.
We then valiantly strove onto the crack pie (NIS 38). With just the right amount of salty-sweet, the crust is made from oatmeal cookie, and the filling is a mix of butter, sugar, heavy whipping cream and other goodies… but mostly butter! Just one bite, and you realize why it’s called crack pie.
Overall, you get a sense of their enthusiasm for real American home-cooked food, and their excitement at doing it in our beautiful city.
On Sundays from 4 p.m. - 12 a.m., diners can enjoy an all-you-can-eat special menu for NIS 100.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Not Kosher
26 Ibn Gvirol, Tel Aviv