Ran Shmueli and Raz Rahav venture into casual fare
By BUZZY GORDONUpdated: MAY 9, 2018 16:32
An important trend in Israel’s culinary scene that started two years ago has picked up additional steam in recent months, as several more chefs who helm leading fine dining restaurants have opened small eateries specializing in fast, affordable food of the highest quality.Acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant Claro has now spawned Kukuriku, a rotisserie chicken stand in Sarona Market that uses the same premium suppliers as its parent. The plump chickens are fresh (never frozen) and free of additives or antibiotics. The side dishes and salads are made fresh daily with seasonal vegetables delivered straight from the farm.Kukuriku’s chicken is marinated for 24 hours in garlic, rosemary and extra virgin olive oil, then grilled in French rotisserie ovens. Whole chickens and deboned chicken breasts can be observed rotating on spits as they slowly turn golden brown.Chicken dinners come as whole or half chickens (cut into quarters) or as chopped boneless white meat in a choice of three sauces: olive oil and herbs, lemon and herbs or spicy paprika.This is not your supermarket rotisserie chicken. It is the juiciest and tastiest poultry of its kind I have had in recent memory. And the chopped chicken on frena bread is a sandwich that is hard to top.Both the half-chicken dinner (NIS 67) and the chopped chicken dinner (NIS 58) are large enough for two to share, accompanied by a choice of two generous side dishes: roasted potatoes and onion; rice with lentils; quinoa with vegetables, preserved lemon and garlic confit; a market salad of coarsely cut vegetables tossed in an olive oil dressing; or grilled Mediterranean vegetables antipasti, with olive oil and thyme.Chicken soup is no longer on the menu, but there are mildly spicy chicken wings (6/12 for NIS 20/38) in a red pepper and honey marinade that is finger-licking good. It is advisable to go at least an hour before the place closes (at 8 p.m.) because with food this good, they sometimes run out of certain menu items.KukurikuNot kosherSarona Market, Tel AvivTel: (03) 527-5275Barvazi Urban SandwichFans of prodigy chef Raz Rahav, of the exclusive OCD restaurant in Jaffa, know that his social media handle is Razi Barvazi. Now he has institutionalized that name with the recent opening of his Barvazi Urban Sandwich shop in downtown Tel Aviv.Anyone who has eaten at OCD knows that Barvazi is not content with making the best possible version of familiar, or even classic, food. Every one of his dishes is original, and that is the rule for his sandwiches as well. If an ingredient seems common, you can rest assured that the homemade condiment – or whatever combination it is paired with – is not.There are two separate sandwich menus daily. There are seven morning sandwiches (NIS 26-45) served from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m., and seven afternoon sandwiches (NIS 33-53) served from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., which is closing time. Most of the morning sandwiches are vegetarian; three of the afternoon ones are, and one is vegan.Sandwiches are made (or at least toasted) fresh when they are ordered, but the examples in the display cases – which are never more than an hour old – show the kinds of bread and fillings available. For the time being, free homemade pickles can be requested.The distinctive sandwiches I sampled were the mac and cheese on white toast; the purple cabbage with goat cheese and rocket on whole grain bread; and the baby ribs with aioli and onion on croissant. I was wary about a pasta sandwich, but the manager insisted I try it, and I was pleasantly surprised. The thin slices of bread were basically just there to hold the macaroni with smoked Gouda and corned beef together. Still, forks are provided for those who want their comfort food without the extra carbs.The cooked purple cabbage was excellent, but it overpowered the cheese, so it is advisable to thin it out a bit. The shredded boneless rib meat on buttery croissant, meanwhile, was decadently rich.There is only one non-sandwich item on the morning menu: yogurt with muesli; and two side dishes in the afternoon: roasted potatoes with a cheese sauce, and a unique coleslaw with corn kernels and dill.One dessert is served all day long: soft serve ice cream. Even here, the Barvazi touch is evident. The flavor changes daily. On my visit, it was sweet potato, drizzled with silan (date honey).Beverages at Barvazi include beer, soft drinks and excellent coffee. As summer approaches, I would go back just for the exceptional iced cappuccino.Barvazi Urban SandwichNot kosher17 Tchernihovsky St., Tel AvivTel: (03) 556-6774The writer was a guest of the restaurants.