Kosher cooking Italian style

Sorrento in Rishon Lezion is well worth a return

Kosher Italian restaurant (photo credit: PR)
Kosher Italian restaurant
(photo credit: PR)
The Kadosh brothers, Itsik and Or, of Rishon Lezion come from a family that has always been involved in the catering and wedding business. So when it came to starting out on their own career path, they chose to open a restaurant, called it Sorrento and situated it in the trendiest part of Rishon, the entertainment complex known as The Rova (the Quarter).
Once it was the industrial area of the town outside the city center, but today The Rova has become the “in” place for bars, cafes and open-air performances.
“The city fathers modeled it on the Tel Aviv Port and hope it will become just as popular,” says Itsik, who is the spokesman for the duo, while Or stays in the kitchen and does the cooking.
The brothers decided that their place would be dairy and kosher, as there are very few kosher places in The Rova.
“We come from a traditional home, and I’m against desecrating Shabbat,” says Kadosh. “We also decided that Italian food lends itself more to dairy than meat.”
The restaurant is a large, brightly lit place with plenty of room to dine inside and out.
As it was a very warm night when we visited, we opted to sit in the air-conditioned interior rather than brave the elements.
The seats are comfortable armchairs covered in a synthetic upholstery printed with enlarged newspapers, a very striking feature, although how typically Italian it is, I have no idea.
The service was quick and attentive, and I liked the fact that the serving spoons were already on the table when we sat down.
Quite hungry by the time we arrived after a 25-minute drive from the center of the country, we were happy to nibble on piping hot homemade Italian bread served with butter, dips of tehina and black olive tapenade while waiting for the first course.
We were recommended to try Pinuk Sorrento (NIS 36), which is a plate of several breaded, deep- fried Portobello mushrooms stuffed with mozzarella cheese.
Someone had clearly gone to a lot of trouble to make this amuse bouche. Another starter was a plate of rolled eggplant slices filled with cheese, which came in a pink tomato-based rose sauce sprinkled with grated hard cheese (NIS 44). On the side were individual fresh salads, garnished with vermicelli-like strips of sweet potato.
When the main courses arrived, we were impressed with the look of the dishes even before tasting the food. Clearly, presentation is high on the chef’s list of priorities.
Cherry tomatoes impaled on bamboo sticks and sweet potato garnish made the dishes look very appetizing. We both had fish dishes. One consisted of two very fresh fillets of sea bream, lightly grilled and served with sweet potato slices (NIS 89). The other was a salmon steak with spicy salsa (NIS 89). Both dishes came with a filo basket filled with sweetened diced potatoes. Other main course offerings were salmon in filo (NIS 56) and fish and chips (NIS 59).
The dessert we had, called Little Switzerland, was a sinfully delicious combination of dark chocolate, white chocolate, meringue and lashings of Chantilly cream. We cleaned the plate to the last crumb.
Sorrento has a room upstairs for private parties that caters to up to 80 people. There is also a business lunch (NIS 49).
After a very enjoyable evening, we felt that “Return to Sorrento” was more than just a great Neapolitan song. It is a distinct possibility.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.
Sorrento Kosher dairy 8 Barshavsky Street The Rova, Rishon Lezion Tel: (03) 654-320