The celebrations have faded and a return to normalcy is in full swing. But before I bid adieu to my 25th birthday, I have to tell you of the incredible experience L and I had this past Friday night.
I walked up to the glowing restaurant that is Zahav with a hop in my step. We were finally going to the restaurant we have been missing out for the past several years without reason. I walked up the steps feeling wonderful in my newly purchased dress from my trip and grandmother’s earrings. Greeted my very pleasant hostesses I took a seat near the door and waited; watched the symphony that was Michael Solomov’s kitchen.
Soon my date arrived and we were seated at a copper topped table in the room to the left of the main dining area, one I would highly recommend for a special evening. The music played softly and the environment was far different than the beautiful chaos of the main room.
Our waiter arrived and explained to us how Zahav, self described as “Modern Israeli” small plates, works in terms of ordering.
We elected to go with the Tayim tasting menu. For $38 it’s an incredible bargain that is well beyond the needs of two hungry diners. With that, you receive a selection of Salatim (cold salads), a hummus to share with house baked laffa, a choice of two mezza (small appetizer-like hot dishes) per person, a kebab per person, and a dessert per person. Phew! It’s a lot a food. Better, it’s a lot of well-prepared food.
Our Salatim arrived and we dug right it. About two bites per person and by the end I was already getting full. I believe these change on a somewhat regular basis but for your sake I hope you get the eggplant salad and beet salad- both divne.
We chose the hummus with grilled fava beans on top and wiped the bowl clean with the piping hot laffa. Both were incredible and would be wonderful to indulge in on a normal happy hour perhaps accompanied by a Dessert Rose or other unique cocktail.
The mezze were so unique, so perfect that I almost wished I’d just ordered every one and forgot about the rest. Together we had Crispy Haloumi (a cheese fried and over a peach puree), Roasted Zucchini, Baked Kibbe, and Crispy Grape Leaves. Of the four, I’ll speak for the two of us and say the Haloumi and Kibbe were the best. Incredibly unique and delicious.
At this point, I was getting rather full and found myself hoping that the next course was small (to my own horror, trust me). It turns out the Al’Haesh is rather modest in portion but perfect when you’re eating so much. I had the grilled salmon with a tomato chickpea sauce. Straightforward flavors that were welcomed after the rich culinary experiences of the rest of the meal.
The desserts offered were equally tempting and I think we picked two of the best in my impartial opinion. L had the Konafi- an almost bird’s nest looking treat of shredded wheat around a mild cheese with labneh ice cream. My dessert, coming out from the kitchen with a candle melted to the side of the plate, was Roasted Apricot with sorbet and homemade Turkish Delight.
We left the restaurant blissfully happy and vowing to return as soon as we could. We strolled home through the brisk last night of Summer, already reminiscing about our favorite parts of the meal.
It should come to no surprise that I highly recommend Zahav for the adventurous eaters among us who enjoy Middle Eastern food. The restaurant books up during peak times so reserve ahead. Also, if it’s a special occasion let them know and perhaps you’ll be seated in the lovely room at left.
237 St. James Place