Blue Sky soars

Meir Adoni’s kosher rooftop restaurant in the Carlton Hotel wins int’l acclaim.

Meir Adoni’s Blue Sky restaurant (photo credit: Courtesy)
Meir Adoni’s Blue Sky restaurant
(photo credit: Courtesy)
For Tel Aviv’s Carlton, 2017 was another banner year for the hotel and two of its prized tenants: The World Travel Awards recognized the Carlton as “Israel’s Leading Business Hotel” for the second consecutive year and the fifth time in its history, while the Meir Adoni restaurants Blue Sky and Lumina garnered Israel’s top scores in La Liste, France’s highly regarded rankings of the world’s 1,000 best restaurants.
The La Liste results are a coup for the restaurants and the hotel. Blue Sky and Lumina were the only two Israeli restaurants to rank in the world’s Top 100; and the Carlton is now home to the only two Adoni restaurants remaining in Israel, since the celebrity chef closed his flagship Catit (as well as Mizlala) and left for the bigger culinary stage of New York.
In addition, the restaurants’ global wins represent a triumph for kashrut.
The fact that both Lumina and Blue Sky are kosher restaurants puts adherence to Jewish dietary laws in a whole new light. (Blue Sky came out just ahead of Lumina in the rankings.) Rabbinic restrictions prevent Lumina (meat) and Blue Sky (dairy) from occupying the same kitchen space, but nothing prevents the two restaurants from sharing specialty cocktails (NIS 46), created by a mixologist who meets exacting Adoni standards of creativity.
On a recent visit, we put the bartender’s talents to the test with the Ginger Passion – a blend of vodka, Aperol, ginger, passion fruit and lemon, served neat in a martini glass with a slice of lemon as a garnish; and the Basil Vibe – tequila, passion fruit, basil and green chili on the rocks in a tumbler, garnished with a basil leaf.
The former was on the sweet side and the latter rather spicy, but both were excellent.
The restaurant menu comprises seven appetizers and seven main dishes, with one vegetarian option in each section; 12 of the 14 dishes feature fish. The primary difference in the categories is that the fish in the starters is, by and large, raw.
A meal at Blue Sky begins with a basket of white bread with coriander seeds and brown bread with raisins, served with butter, olive oil, and a smoky paprika aioli. It is altogether too easy – but obviously not advisable – to fill up on the warm, fresh bread.
Our first appetizer was the Andalusian Tuna (NIS 116) – seared tuna on eggplant salsa, with Jerusalem artichoke, black and white eggplant cream, yogurt, chipotle vinaigrette, cilantro oil, and miso tuile.
The ruby-hued tuna highlighted this dish’s harmony of flavors, accented with a tingle of heat.
Next was the White Velvet Ocean (NIS 106) – amberjack tartare, chopped almonds, kohlrabi carpaccio, cured lemon and rosewater cream, cured ginger cream and herbed oil.
Again, the extremely fresh white fish was the star of a wonderful interplay of flavors and textures.
Many of the main courses bore the names of exotic destinations, such as Marrakech (NIS 167) – morsels of grouper in a thick sauce of sweet pepper confit, fennel roasted with citrus, chickpeas, rata potato and fresh cilantro, with sides of couscous and pumpkin tershi. Our waiter told us that this was Blue Sky’s take on Moroccan khraime, wherein the meaty chunks of fish stood up nicely to the complex sauce that enhanced the component elements without overwhelming them.
The Mushrooms Sea Bass (NIS 149), meanwhile, was fillet of sea bass topped with shimeji mushrooms on a bed of “forbidden” (black wild) rice with root vegetables and porcini butter, garnished with edible gold leaf.
This delicately seasoned dish was simply exquisite. It alone would be sufficient reason for Blue Sky’s stratospheric ranking.
The wine list, which is predominantly Israeli, is not extensive but is carefully curated; and there is an adequate selection available by the glass. My companion enjoyed her 2016 Gewurtztraminer by Yarden (NIS 48), while I took advantage of the opportunity to sample the sole rosé on the list (NIS 48), from Edmond de Rothschild (France, 2015).
There were five desserts on the menu, each one – like all the restaurant’s dishes – comprising a multitude of distinctive ingredients.
The Exotic Soup (NIS 67), for example, was a gently chilled broth of passion fruit and coconut milk scented with English pepper and studded with fresh seasonal fruits, ginger and mango jellies, a tuile of tropical fruits and lychee sorbet. It was a great, nonfilling finale to a memorable meal, a paean to the expression “good to the last drop.”
Finally, the Lemons of Love (NIS 71) had an intriguing name that was hard to resist, and components to match: lemon cream tart, sugar tassos, meringue, mint powder, raspberry cream, blood orange marmalade, berries, licorice ice cream. There was also a lone basil macaroon that practically stole the show, while the pie’s lemon filling was an expert balance of sweet and tart.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Blue Sky Kosher Carlton Hotel 1 Eliezer Peri St., Tel Aviv Tel: (03) 520-1830