Meet your meat

At Rak Basar, diners are invited to select their own choice of cuts.

Rak Basar 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Rak Basar 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With a name that means “meat only,” it’s not hard to tell what the Rak Basar restaurant specializes in. On the border of Florentine and Jaffa, this eatery could easily be mistaken for another dilapidated building in the area.
However, upon entering, one is transported to an intimate cave-like setting that any meat lover would die for. For those who aren’t afraid of seeing exactly where their food comes from, at Rak Basar diners are invited to choose the specific pieces of meat they want.
It is important to note that all the meats are kosher, but the restaurant is not considered fully kosher because it is open on Shabbat.
As for wine, there is an option to spend NIS 20 and receive unlimited wine throughout the evening. I thought that this would mean some sort of cheap and nasty wine, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was good quality. I ordered red, which came in a pitcher, and my friend ordered white, which came straight from the bottle.
The service in general was of a very high standard, with the hostesses making sure that everything ran smoothly.
The meats are the main attraction at Rak Basar, but the starters are well worth a mention. I went for the roasted eggplant served with tehina and tomato salsa (NIS 22). This reasonably priced version of a classic Israeli dish was tasty and had a strong smokiness that was offset by the creamy tehina.
My friend went for herb salad (NIS 18) served with nuts, dried fruits, lemon juice, olive oil and date honey. The freshly cut herbs provided a great backdrop to the nuts and fruits, which meant a great starter that wasn’t too filling.
Rak Basar has a unique concept that differentiates it from most other restaurants. Although there are many restaurants that specialize in meat, there are not many that let you choose the specific cut yourself. At Rak Basar, each diner is invited to go to the specially designed meat counter and choose the piece of meat they want.
Each table is called individually to pick out the main courses. When it was our turn, we could not contain our excitement. The novelty of seeing your dish before it’s cooked certainly adds to the experience.
Each type of meat is priced per 100 gram. It is like going to the butcher in the sense that you choose your desired meat and then ask the man behind the counter to cut off the amount you want, and he prices it according to the weight. There is a large selection on offer, ranging from entrecote and fillet steaks to goose liver, spring chicken breast and hamburger.
The great thing is that you can choose as many different types of meat as you want, so the dilemma of not knowing what to order is somewhat eradicated.
I went for my favorite – fillet steak (NIS 33.5 per 100 grams) and choriso meat, which comes from South America (NIS 19 per 100 grams). My friend went for the entrecote (NIS 43 per 100 grams) and also tried some goose liver (NIS 39 per 100 grams). After we chose our meats, we each received a receipt with our order on it and went back to the table to wait for our dish to be served.
Our meat came on a grill that was brought to the table by the waiter, who explained exactly what each thing was. It was fun to pick out what we had ordered. With all the meat being placed in the middle of the table, we could easily share. Each cut was very tasty, with our requests for how we wanted it cooked being honored. Every main course comes with a side dish of roast potatoes.
Everything we ordered was of a very high quality and cooked well.
We polished everything off, including the tasty potatoes.
I am never one to pass on dessert, even if I am very full like I was this time, so I looked at the dessert menu. Even though I had tasted enough meat to last me for the next week, when I saw that there was also one dessert that included meat, I was so intrigued that I just had to order it. The Belgian waffle with goose liver served with figs and coconut sorbet (NIS 42) was so rich that I struggled to finish it, especially since I had already had so much meat that evening. It was extremely sweet and quite sickly, but at the same time it had its own unique taste. I would recommend it for those who are looking for something a little different.
The second dessert of halva parfait served on a bed of halva strings with chocolate sauce, shredded coconut and sugared nuts (NIS 29) took a back seat to the goose liver, but under any other circumstances it would have taken first place. I love halva, and I would only recommend this dish to those who also share the love because it was very rich and sweet. The texture of the frozen parfait went well with the halva strings, and the chocolate sauce finished everything off well.
Even though Rak Basar plays heavily on the theme of being able to choose your own meat, it is a very good quality restaurant with an elegant and relaxed atmosphere.
The meat is of a good quality, and the selection is quite overwhelming.
Although some of the meats can work out to be expensive, the relatively inexpensive starers, desserts and wine ensure that a trip to Rak Basar will not break the bank. The friendly service and intimate setting only add to the reasons to check out this meat lover’s paradise.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
19 Salame Street, Tel Aviv
Not kosher
(03) 681-3590
Open Sunday to Saturday from noon until the last customer leaves
Other branches: 14 Raul Wallenberg, Ramat Hahayal, Tel Aviv, (03) 644-4822/33 15 Ben-Gurion Boulevard, German Colony, Haifa, (04) 855-1872