Meat Kitchen: A restaurant worth the trip

“This is the best steak I’ve ever had in my life,” my son said. “I could literally date this steak, or even marry it.”

Worth the shlep from Jerusalem (photo credit: NIMROD SONDERS)
Worth the shlep from Jerusalem
(photo credit: NIMROD SONDERS)
Even with the new fast train, there are not a lot of restaurants for which I would make the trek from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. But Meat Kitchen is worth it, especially as my companion was my 19-year-old foodie son, who really enjoys a good steak.
The restaurant used to be on Yigal Allon Street in Tel Aviv, and has now moved to Tel Aviv Port. It’s not easy to find. The taxi driver dropped us off nearby with a shrug, and nobody we asked seemed to have heard of Meat Kitchen.
When we finally found it, we walked through a glassed-in porch that was cold, with a few of the employees smoking there. It was not a pleasant welcome. Things began to look up when we entered the large dining room, which can seat 350 in several seating areas, and which has a large bar dominating the center of the restaurant. There is a separate menu for events, and some great business lunch deals (free appetizer with main course), served 12 p.m.-5 p.m.
The tables are large, and the chairs are comfortable, inviting you to sit back and relax. On each table is a bottle of a wine made especially for the restaurant by Shiloh Winery, one of the best boutique wineries in Israel. It’s 100% cabernet sauvignon and aged for 18 months. It accompanied our meal very nicely.
The menus are available in Hebrew, English and French, and I heard all of those languages during my visit. Most of the patrons seemed to be couples out for a special date night.
Our waiter was Shmuel Ledani, 25, one of those young people who really enjoy their jobs. He was a great ambassador for Meat Kitchen, explaining all of the dishes. We put ourselves in his capable hands, and he soon returned with an array of appetizers, and chef Nadav Netzer did not disappoint.
For me, there was goose liver. There are actually two appetizers with goose liver (NIS 79). The one I had was a medallion of goose liver with salty caramel foam and a churros. It was not a large portion, but the combination of the goose liver and the foam was delicious. My son had the steak tartare (NIS 72) which was chunks of raw filet mignon with black garlic cream and almonds. It disappeared almost immediately.
We also tried an appetizer of veal sweetbreads (NIS 76) served on warm hummus. It was creamy and salty and delicious. There are several vegetarian and vegan appetizer options, including sweet potato tortellini (NIS 62), fried cauliflower (NIS 59) and polenta made from fresh corn (NIS 62).
For the main course, I was tempted by the Tournedos Rossini (NIS 197), a filet mignon topped with goose liver, with truffle mashed potatoes. But Ledani encouraged us to try the flagship dish, the prime rib (49 NIS per 100 grams). It is an entrecote steak on the bone that has been aged at least 30 days, and usually closer to 45 days. The aging gives it a depth of flavor and a chewiness that made each bite a delight.
We asked for the steak medium-rare, and he said that it comes on a hot plancha and will continue to cook as we eat it, getting to medium by the time we finished. My son said, “No, my mom likes it pretty rare, so bring it rare or it will get overcooked.” He was right. The huge steak came on a sizzling platter, with a large piece of bone marrow, crispy potatoes and grilled vegetables. It was presliced, topped with roasted garlic, and we dug in with gusto.
“This is the best steak I’ve ever had in my life,” my son said. “I could literally date this steak, or even marry it.”
Not quite what I had in mind for a future daughter-in-law, but clearly the dinner was a success.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Meat Kitchen
4 Yosef Yekutiel Street, Hangar 27, Tel Aviv Port
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 12 noon-midnight
Phone: (03) 566-4755
Kashrut: Rabbanut Tel Aviv (although some cuts are halak)