The meat eating experience of Pikhana

The restaurant has a television screen which shows a constant stream of meat cuts in all their gory glory as well as images of chefs preparing them for cooking.

Meat without borders (photo credit: Courtesy)
Meat without borders
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Pikhana, situated on the busy industrial estate of Ra’anana, is strictly for meat-eaters. It has been open for over a year, and well-informed carnivores come from near and far to taste the burnt offerings of this South American temple.
It started out life as a non-kosher restaurant until the owners had a Eureka! moment in which they decided that working seven days a week was very hard and didn’t allow for any family life, something Shabbat-observers have long internalized. Thereupon the restaurant switched to being kosher and has never looked back.
We began our meal with a selection of starters, some South American, some Israeli. First to arrive was chimichanga (NIS 43), a variation on the tortilla, a dough pocket which was filled with a chicken mix and deep fried. There were also Uruguayan empanadas (NIS 45 for three) which had also been fried not baked. “When it’s fried the dough is much more tasty,” explained our waiter. The fillings were minced beef, corn and sweet potatoes.
The food is not highly seasoned.
“We prefer it if the client adds his own salt and pepper to taste,” the waiter said. It’s certainly an original idea, but on reflection makes sense.
Another starter to arrive at the table was feijoada – a traditional stew made from black beans, rice and pieces of beef, a kind of South American cholent. It was very tasty and we had to be careful not to eat too much of it as it would not have left room for the main course.
To offset the consumption of so much meat we were also given a plate of roasted aubergine with tehina, now a classic Israeli starter. The eggplant had been nicely scorched on hot coals giving it a good smoky flavor.
Chipotle mayonnaise came with the starters and added a nicely harif (sharp) element.
For a main course we shared a platter of sizzling meats straight from the hot coals and kept warm by a gas ring underneath. It included chorizo on skewers, a piece of very soft and long-cooked asado beef, fat sausages and a piece of juicy lean chicken steak for the diet-conscious.
The side vegetables were garlic potatoes, little cubes of the vegetable smothered in garlicky flavor, and a fairly conventional salad. The liquid refreshment throughout the meal was a Har Bracha Cabernet Sauvignon, one of our favorite wines.
We were offered the specialty dessert but declined it when we heard what it was. Called 90-60-90, it’s a Belgian waffle topped with a filet mignon steak, goose liver and onion confit (NIS 99).
“We have one couple who come in once a week just for this dish,” said our waiter. “It can be served either as a starter, or a dessert.
Plumping for the more conservative variety we chose a pareve version of Ferrero Rocher candies and a no-sugar chocolate mousse, which satisfied the urge for a final sweet taste.
The restaurant also has a television screen which shows a constant stream of meat cuts in all their gory glory as well as images of chefs preparing them for cooking. This place is great if you are a dedicated carnivore but don’t bring your vegan friends or family here.
Rehov Haharoshet 14,
Open: Sun.-Thurs. 12 noon-11:30 p.m.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.