Yummy at Nomi

Chef Yoram Nitzan serves gourmet kosher Israeli cuisine in his new restaurant.

Nomi (photo credit: AFIK GABAI)
(photo credit: AFIK GABAI)
Chef Yoram Nitzan was among the first to bring the new Haute Cuisine to Israel. For years he served excellent gourmet food in Mul Yam, until the restaurant burned down. He then took his talents to other places, including the wonderful Bindella, which, unfortunately, has been closed. But now, it seems, he found his place at the new Nomi Restaurant located at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv. There he serves his take on modern Israeli cuisine, offering exciting interpretations to world dishes.
“We worked on the menu for almost a year,” he tells us when he makes his rounds, stopping at every table in the restaurant. It seems that having to find kosher solutions has taken the chef’s cuisine even higher, and resulted in innovative, amazing flavors that are very tasty yet restrained. The dishes he presents showcase this chef’s sure hand and lack of need to shout his ideas, but rather whisper them.
“It is a challenge,” says Nitzan. “And I am very excited about it.”
To open the meal we got a bread basket with freshly baked breads and two dips. The wine list is comprehensive and offers many good Israeli as well as imported options.
The menu presents an exciting variety of fish, meat and vegetable dishes. 
For starters, I took the Dover sole (NIS 78), fillets served in a delicate turnip lemongrass broth, umami and Granny Smith apple bits. It is a very subtle dish with gentle aromas. The fish was perfect and the glass of Flam Orchards’ wine complemented it perfectly. Across the table, my companion took the roast beef (NIS 62), which, surprisingly, was served in a dark and deep soup plate. The sirloin was excellent, and the accompanying home-made pickled shallots and radishes, truffle aioli and mini baguettes were delicious. My only complaint was that the serving dish didn’t show the beef at its best. White crumbles on top of the beef, resembling cheese, turned out to be olive oil that through some sort of process, was turned into white crumbs that melt in your mouth, leaving a wonderful buttery taste. The chef said that many diners mistake it for cheese and wonder how cheese can be served over beef in a kosher restaurant.
We took our time, and the kitchen didn’t hurry us. The tables, unlike in most restaurants in Israel, are placed far enough from each other to allow for quiet, private conversations, and we took full advantage.
FOR THE main dish, I ordered the corn agnolotti (NIS 83). Agnolotti (spelled incorrectly on the menu) is a type of stuffed pasta, folded over a filling of roasted meat or vegetables. Here the agnolotti were stuffed with sweet corn puree. The hand-made fresh 40-yolk pasta was fantastic, served with greens, asparagus and a little tomato, over a green pea cream. The dish was very light and pleasing and the lack of butter or Parmesan cheese was not noticeable. In fact, it was refreshing. I loved it. 
The other main dish we ordered was the grouper (NIS 176). A wonderful fish – grouper can be disappointing sometimes – was here perfect. Served grilled with tomato salsa (the menu says Sicilian, and we say delicious), Kalamata olives, baby spinach, capers and olive oil. A dish you cannot stop eating.
Also on the menu, the lamb (NIS192) looked very enticing, but we decided to leave it to our next visit. Vegans can choose the mushroom risotto (NIS 85) with Jerusalem artichokes and Italian arborio rice. There are three vegan starters to choose from: a white root-vegetable soup, endive salad and asparagus tempura. So vegans or vegetarians are able to enjoy a meal here, too. 
The attention to details was most pronounced in the desserts, and we had a hard time choosing only two. We ended up taking the Five Shades of Cappuccino (NIS 45), a dish the waiter recommended. It was divine. Not too sweet and very complex, it was constructed of home-made coffee ice cream, served over a bed of cocoa streusel, and a delicate chocolate chip cookie, with chocolate truffle and espresso sauce. The other dessert was our favorite: Apple Tart Tatin (NIS 40). Here it was, of course “deconstructed” – meaning the caramelized apple was served separately from the sable Breton (shortbread pastry), with homemade vanilla ice cream. This dessert was sweeter than the first dessert, and very pleasing.
Our waiters and hosts were very knowledgeable, and friendly, without overdoing it. They came to the table as soon as we raised our eyes – but didn’t bother us when we didn’t need them. 
We noticed that there is a private room that is perfect for small groups. 
Nomi is a great restaurant whether you keep kosher or not. The high-level cuisine and service make it a must for any foodie visiting Tel Aviv.
Nomi, Kosher
Kaufman St. 12, Tel Aviv
Tel: 03-795-1255 www.nomitlv.com
Open: Sun-Thu 1 p.m.-3 p.m. and 6 p.m.-10 p.m.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.