Fink's Jerusalem, IMHO Israel's best kosher restaurant!

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Fink's Jerusalem, IMHO Israel's best kosher restaurant!

Postby Gabriel Geller » Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:14 am

Wed Dec 28, 2011 12:55 am

Hi Folks, I just returned from a dinner with friends at what was a revelation to me as being not only the newest but also the new best kosher restaurant in Israel and IMHO one of the 3 best kosher restaurants in the world!!! So I had to share my experience here with all you folks either living in Israel but also for your next visit, if you don't.

I will start by saying that I am lucky enough (baruch hashem) to have been in my life to most of the best kosher restaurants in Israel, the USA, France, Switzerland, Italy and many other countries.

The restaurant's name is Fink (and has nothing to do with the homonym one that was shut down about a decade ago not far from there) and is located across the street from the Mamilla Hotel in Downtown Jerusalem. It is a 2-stories modern designed (but with very good taste I thought) small restaurant with a bar on the first floor. It is a true gastronomic experience of french modern cuisine with a not overwhelming touch of molecular techniques. Great quiet music as well in the background

The concept is unique in Jerusalem as the restaurant features a different menu every day displayed not "a la carte" but on a big flat screen on each floor with 8 dishes to choose from including appetizers, entrees and dessert. One can choose 3 different options: a 3-course meal, a 5-course meal or a full 8-course tasting, the dishes will be served in the appropriate size upon the choice and will be priced accordingly (a bit high I first thought but now I think it's worth every penny!).

We were a party of 4 and chose the 3-course menu. I had as appetizer a mushroom soup made out from 15 different sorts of mushrooms including black truffles from Perigord that was absolutely divine and served beautifully, the most original soup I ever had and one of the best. As an entree, I had a medium-rare filet mignon with white Alba truffles "popcorn" and chestnut squash lying on a "bed" of panned foie gras (goose liver) made to perfection, it was served under a bell that allowed it to be wrapped with smoke, it was heavenly GOOD, the best filet ever, again! In between we were generously served with country french style bread and molecular aioli and olive oil but also with complementary tastings of some of the other dishes available this night such as a Buffalo skewer and Kiwi Granita (served on a plate filled with liquid nitrogen). As dessert, a vanilla flavored cream of foie gras with a home-made pear sorbet accompanied by a piece of caramelized foie gras again, simply amazing.

The service was absolutely great, the sommelier is a northern Californian guy and is very knowledgeable and all the staff, from the Maitre D' to the waitress and up to the MASTER chef were all nice, friendly, smiling and efficient. A true 5 stars experience, a very rare finding in Israel!

One con: The Wines offered at the restaurant are all great but not original at all and outrageously overpriced (Petit Castel 2009: 350 shekels!!!) Pro: Ultra friendly corkage policy: One can bring a bottle of wine of his choice, even if found at the restaurant and there is no corkage fee! It just has to be kosher, that's all. As I had called before to inquire about that, we randomly but geniously paired the meal with one of my last bottles of Yarden Ortal Syrah '04 that was the perfect match tonight! My best restaurant experience in the past 3 years! I highly recommend it to all the foodies! My friends and myself were blown away!

The hashgacha is Rabbanut Yerushalayim although they do have a few mehadrin meat options which they actually arranged for one of my friends that eats only chalak meat at no extra cost. As the chef wanted us all to taste also the dishes ordered by my "glatt" friend, we were all given complementary tastings of buffalo skewers as well as goose breast, both were incredible just as the rest of the food. You know, I've worked at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills where the service and overall quality is hard, if not impossible to beat and I'm so happy to say that the service and food quality at Fink were on the same level and I can't believe that I've discovered such a place not only in Israel but precisely in Jerusalem! I hope they will remain consistent and if you or anyone else here decides to check it out, the experience will be as good as mine was. That's what we call in french "demarrer du pied droit", to start off on the right foot.

My score: 19/20.

Best,

GG
Last edited by Gabriel Geller on Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Amazing wines at Fink's Jerusalem, my 2 reviews!

Postby Gabriel Geller » Wed Mar 07, 2012 5:15 am

Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:52 pm

Hi guys,

My business partner and myself along with one of my best friends went to Fink's for dinner tonight as we had planned 2 months ago after our first meal there on going back to celebrate the shop's opening.

A fellow forumite had as well dinner there on his own a few days ago and though he mentioned to me having enjoyed his meal, he wasn't as impressed as I was which made me worry a bit but obviously, there was no reason to... .

So I'd like to first advise anyone wishing to go there with a bottle of wine that the corkage policy has changed: They now charge 35 shekels (less than 10 bucks) as long again as the wine is kosher and not featured on their wine list.

However I've explained who I was (having written the above first review on the forum which seems to have directly and undirectly brought them a fair amount of business since) so they still comped the corkage fees for us. Why feeS? because we brought over with us a bottle of Binyamina Avnei Hachoshen Yahalom 2008 and, to pair with the dessert and close the meal festively.... GHW Yarden Blanc de Blancs 1998! We skipped however the Galil Yiron '05 for this time.

The meal first started a bit off compared to the last time because:

1) The Maitre D' (his name: Yoni) did not wear a suit as opposed to last time (I know what you might be thinking right now but believe me that it is one of the little details that can make a difference).

2) One of the dishes featured on what's supposed to be the daily-changing menu wasn't available (called "mushroom bonanza").

3) The 3 of us ordered the bizon hanger steak skewer as appetizer but while it was very tasty, the meat was slightly dry and the dish' size was quite tiny.

But then the party started and all the above was forgiven: We immensely enjoyed the Yahalom (TN following) with both the first and second courses.

My partner and myself had the buffalo skirt steak (there was again a piece of foie gras, they seem to like that very much, well so do I!!!) that was cooked to perfection with some great though hard to describe sauce. My friend had the same smoked filet mignon that we had the first time and was amazed with the perfect cooking, presentation and tenderness of the meat but also embarrassed to admit that he loved the foie gras as well!

My partner asked then the server if he may order an additional filet for himself as he was still hungry (I could still eat but didn't need to) so the chef Guy (גיא) came upstairs and said that he wanted us to leave happy so they would send up a few more complementary dishes! They brought 2 plates: one plate of goose breast, one of bizon meat (couldn't tell which part of the meat it was but it tasted amazing). Both were a treat!

As well, we had a nice chat with Dan, the sommelier, and he was quite impressed with our Yarden Blanc de Blancs 1998 so we gave him a glass to enjoy it with us.

Dessert: We received like last time 3 different desserts: a hazelnut icecream with roasted coffee beans (couldn't believe it was parve! melted in the mouth. wait! it's icecream... ); sort of a cream/mousse of pecan nuts and dark chocolate that was too good for me to be able to describe it and a soft meringue that was a bit too sweet but looked nice on the plate.

The service and the way we were treated in general was almost unbeatable. Pierre Miodownick (Royal Europe and Netofa's Head winemaker, Pierre seems to share winemaking philosophy well matching Dave Raccah's preferences according to what he just told me and Dave's last published thoughts on israeli wine being often overripe), stopped by the shop this morning and inquired about Fink after he read my first review and is willing to check it out, so I'm looking forward to hear his opinion as he's obviously a much more experienced connoisseur than I am!

My score remains 19/20.

Best,

GG
Last edited by Gabriel Geller on Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:42 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Fink's Jerusalem, IMHO Israel's best kosher restaurant!

Postby Gabriel Geller » Sun Mar 18, 2012 5:51 am

David Rhodes wrote:the only thing I wouldn't agree with is matching a dry sparkling wine with sweet desserts...that's a classic food pairing MISTAKE at least by everyone wine pairing book I've read and my own experiences... (...)that's why I enjoy hosting wine pairing dinners(...)

maybe you and I can host one together at Finks


I know and knew that it is not exactly recommended by the professionals but personally, it has never disturbed me in anyway to have champagne with or after dessert although I agree a sweet dessert wine is much better suited for such pairing. With that said, we essentially brought the Yarden BdB as a celebratory wine for the sake of, celebrating yup!, and we enjoyed the most of it prior to eating the sweeties anyway.

Regarding your offer, it could be indeed a good idea (I've already discussed future cooperation with the chef and Maitre d' at Fink's).

Best,

GG
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Re: Fink's Jerusalem, IMHO Israel's best kosher restaurant!

Postby David Woolf » Tue Dec 25, 2012 3:00 pm

We are new to this discussion group and have read most of the posts with great interest. We have a number of favorite Israeli restaurants. They include Roberg in Livnim (near Tiberias), Makom B'Sejera (just south of Tzomet Golani), Tokopaya (in Nes Tziona), Bechatzer (Jerusalem), Arnold's (near Nahariya) and Etnika (Herzliya). We would love to see favorites of others who are on this list.

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Re: Fink's Jerusalem, IMHO Israel's best kosher restaurant!

Postby Yossie Horwitz » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:56 pm

Just got back from Vino Socco in Hertzlia Pituach and it should definitely be added to the list - one of the best I have been. Went to Makon BaSanjara yesterday and was disappointed. Roberg and Hachatzer are great as well. Deca in TA is also great.
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Re: Fink's Jerusalem, IMHO Israel's best kosher restaurant!

Postby Mark Lieser » Tue Dec 25, 2012 7:31 pm

Thanks for the addition to the list, Yossie. I have been planning on trying Lili24 - a new French restaurant on Lilienblum in TA where Gerard, formerly of Trocadero is now working. I know you were not as enamored of Trocadero as were Gabriel and I. In addition, Gabriel has "cautioned" me about my choice since it will be a night out for our 25th anniversary, and he thinks I should be leery about risking the unknown for such an occasion. Perhaps I should try Vinno Socco instead, since at least I know have one positive review. I've been to all the others mentioned.

For the record, it's been over a year, but we had a good meal at Makom Be'Sejera.

I would also add Olive Leaf in the Tel Aviv Sheraton as quite good.
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Re: Fink's Jerusalem, IMHO Israel's best kosher restaurant!

Postby Yossie Horwitz » Wed Dec 26, 2012 3:44 am

Vino Socco is HIGHLY recommended. It has a smallish menu but everything we had was great. I went with a non-kosher, discerning diner who indicated that his meat and foie gras were among the best he has had... It is expensive but worth it.
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Re: Fink's Jerusalem, IMHO Israel's best kosher restaurant!

Postby Gabriel Geller » Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:47 pm

I've just posted a list on the other thread but I won't anymore post publicly detailed restaurant experiences out of some sort of ridiculous superstition on my part. Indeed, a scary number of the restaurants I've been raving about on this forum and elsewhere over the last few months have closed... :shock: :evil: :cry:
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Re: Fink's Jerusalem, IMHO Israel's best kosher restaurant!

Postby Mark Lieser » Wed Jan 02, 2013 3:25 am

Yossie, thank you for the recommendation. You were spot on. Vino Socca is superb. I also had the meat/foie gras as a main course and they pretty much melted in my mouth. And as for my wife - she had to restrain herself from eating the bones of her lamb chops.

And Gabriel - next foray out of Jerusalem toward to coast, try this place. (And considering our track record, hurry before it closes! Although I really hope it lasts a good long while.)

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Re: Fink's Jerusalem, IMHO Israel's best kosher restaurant!

Postby Gabriel Geller » Wed Jan 02, 2013 4:37 pm

Unfortunately Mark you are so right, guess what? Moise closed this past Sunday... :cry:

So I'm definitely not writing publicly any more about restaurants...

Anyway if Vino Socca is so much recommended by both you and Yossie it is now topping my list of must-try restaurants outside Jerusalem.

Best,

GG
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Re: Fink's Jerusalem, IMHO Israel's best kosher restaurant!

Postby Mark Lieser » Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:55 am

To continue the French restaurant theme - since we had earlier discussed Trocadero - I dined at Lili24 last evening. This is a new French restaurant where supposedly Gerard (the proprietor of Trocadero) is working.

The consensus after dinner was that I doubt that this establishment will last. The food is ok, but not great. The prices are VERY high - way out of proportion to the quality of the food. For the price, the restaurant itself could be nicer - I would at least expect linen, not paper napkins if you're shelling out this kind of money.

A decent wine list without a terrible markup - Ventura, Flam, Tanya, Castel, among others.

If you're looking for a special kosher restaurant experience, I wouldn't put Lili24 very high on the list, and I certainly wouldn't recommend going out of the way to eat there.

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