From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

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From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Gabriel Geller » Tue May 22, 2012 7:56 am

Hello Folks,

The Culinary Corner has not been very active lately so this is actually a good opportunity to try and revive it a bit!

I have enjoyed a great meal (first time) last night in Tel Aviv, there to catch up with a fellow wine lover and friend visiting from Switzerland at a recently opened restaurant (about a year), Le Trocadéro, located in the Nachalat Binyamin compound which is also one of the nicest areas in the city with beautiful buildings, many have undergone a complete renovation over the last few years.

Le Trocadéro is a fine dining kosher restaurant that is owned and managed by Gérard Kalfon, owner and former manager of Le Chateaubriand, one of the best kosher restaurants in Paris, and IMHO also one of the 10 best kosher restaurants in the world.
Gérard made Alyah (immigrated to Israel) in 2011 and decided to open a restaurant in the same spirit in Tel Aviv with many similarities with Le Chateaubriand menu-wise. By the way, Le Chateaubriand in Paris is still there and was taken over by Gérard's son.

I brought with me a bottle of Hevron Heights, Isaac's Ram Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 to pair with the meal and Gérard was kind enough to not charge me with a corkage fee (but was happily rewarded with a glass to enjoy it with us :) ), as I reported the last time I had it a few weeks ago, the wine is drinking great now and is obviously at its peak so drink up if you have bottles left.

Le Chateaubriand has always been known for its large selection of Foie Gras (goose/duck liver) dishes and most the same dishes are also available on Le Trocadéro's menu. So if that's your main reason to check it out, I'd recommend considering bringing with you a white dessert wine such as a Sauternes, Ice Wine, late harvested or similar such as GHW Yarden Noble Semillon, Carmel Kerem Shaal Gewurztraminer or Chateau Piada...

The restaurant's wine menu is quite traditional, they have decided to focus on some safe bets such as Yarden wines as well as a few relatively good values from France like Chateau Le Crock and the prices for such a restaurant, while far from being low, are still reasonable and standard the more or less.

I had as appetizer a Salade Perigourdine (poached egg, green salad, foie gras, gizzard, duck confit) which was absolutely delicious while my friends asked for a Terrine de Foie Gras that was served with toasted bread and a caramelized whole pear, among the best foie gras dishes I had in a long time! 8)

My main course was a huge veal chop roasted to perfection that was served with a mouth-watering forest mushrooms and pepper sauce. My friends both ordered medallions of beef filet which they were more than happy with and all that was accompanied by green beans, carrots and mashed potatoes that I would almost swear had butter in them if that wasn't a kosher restaurant! I was told that they instead use a soja cream which I should have asked where to find it unless it was home-made.

To end that great meal on a sweet note, we ordered the frozen nougat with red forest fruit (red currants and raspberries) coulis which was a treat! :D

The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, the service efficient and classy. Would have been absolutely perfect if they were serving some more original side dishes but otherwise it was a great experience based on which I can recommend Le Trocadéro without hesitation.

As I like scoring restaurants (unlike wine, some exceptions put aside) for my "personal reference", this one is well deserving of a 18/20.

Le Trocadéro, 30 Nachalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv
Tel: (+972) 35100308
http://www.rol.co.il/images/sites/trocadero/eng.html
Kashrut: Rabbanut Tel Aviv

Best,

GG
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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Mark Lieser » Tue May 22, 2012 4:37 pm

Since Gabriel is trying to "revive" the culinary side of the forum (and since I am more of a "lurker" than poster on the wine side) I will do my part here with the food.

My wife and I dined at Trocadero a few months back. I agree with Gabriel's assessment regarding the food and the overall atmosphere of the place. Unfortunately, it has been so long that I cannot be specific as to what we ate. (For what it's worth, David Ventura of the Ventura winery - a Frenchman - assures me that this restaurant has the best foi gras he's had in Israel since making aliyah.)

Our only complaint was that when we asked for a pitcher of water, we were told that they would only serve us bottled water, but would not provide free-of-charge water from the tap. This was quite bizarre, and was the only damper on an otherwise fine meal.

(Someone has since told me that restaurants in Israel cannot legally refuse to serve free, non-bottled water. I do not know if that is the case, and we didn't put up a fuss at the time. I think we just drank more wine.)
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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Yossie Horwitz » Tue May 22, 2012 5:50 pm

Between this place and Fink's, I'm begining to think either Gabriel gets massively preferential treatment at French owned restaurants (or I get treated horribly), or we have diametrically opposed opinions about what should go on at them.

I dined at Trocedero a few months ago at the enthusiastic recommendation of a friend and was tremendously disappointed (I should add that Chateaubriand in Paris was also dissappointing especially when compared to a much better culinary experience at Osmose). The service was appalling (we waiting for 45 minutes to get water and menus due to the owners insistence on taking all the orders [but he gave up after 45 minutes realizing he couldn't get to everyone]), our courses took forever to arrive and they ended up charging us another table's bill (that was 500 NIS higher than ours) and then proceeded to take over half an hour to resort things out. The food was passable at best and especially disappointing was the foie gras dishes. The disproportion between the amount of apple and the amount of foie gras was comical at best. I wouldn't return until there were some serious management changes (i.e. the owner stuck to cooking and hired professional staff and a dining room manager).

Among the best kosher places in the world, I'd include Gabriel in Israel (pre it becoming mehadrin), Osmose in Paris, Deca in Tel-Aviv and Terra Sur in California (where i have not been but have heard nothing but enthusiastic endorsements from everyone I know who has dined there). The list used to include La Guta and Ragu in Jerusalem as well. Next level down on the list would be Mike's Bistro in Manhattan which gets a deduction for never changing the menu and a lack of creativity. While there are many top-notch kosher restaurants and purely from reading reviews of non-kosher ones, I don't think there are public (i.e. restaurants) kosher dining experiences equal to the best the world has to offer. I'm not sure why exactly, but it is extremely disappointing (as someone who would happily travel for hours for a mind-blowing meal).
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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Gabriel Geller » Tue May 22, 2012 8:01 pm

Mark Lieser wrote:Our only complaint was that when we asked for a pitcher of water, we were told that they would only serve us bottled water, but would not provide free-of-charge water from the tap. This was quite bizarre, and was the only damper on an otherwise fine meal.

Hi Mark! I'm glad to "see" you finally on the forum! :) This indeed quite bizarre AND illegal! :shock: There must have been a misunderstanding because I've never come across such an absurd situation, anywhere! We were given a pitcher of tap water which was filtered and served with ice cubes and lemon slices (as requested), free of charge of course!
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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Gabriel Geller » Tue May 22, 2012 8:42 pm

Yossie Horwitz wrote:Between this place and Fink's, I'm begining to think either Gabriel gets massively preferential treatment at French owned restaurants (or I get treated horribly), or we have diametrically opposed opinions about what should go on at them.

I dined at Trocedero a few months ago at the enthusiastic recommendation of a friend and was tremendously disappointed (I should add that Chateaubriand in Paris was also dissappointing especially when compared to a much better culinary experience at Osmose). The service was appalling (we waiting for 45 minutes to get water and menus due to the owners insistence on taking all the orders [but he gave up after 45 minutes realizing he couldn't get to everyone]), our courses took forever to arrive and they ended up charging us another table's bill (that was 500 NIS higher than ours) and then proceeded to take over half an hour to resort things out. The food was passable at best and especially disappointing was the foie gras dishes. The disproportion between the amount of apple and the amount of foie gras was comical at best. I wouldn't return until there were some serious management changes (i.e. the owner stuck to cooking and hired professional staff and a dining room manager).

Among the best kosher places in the world, I'd include Gabriel in Israel (pre it becoming mehadrin), Osmose in Paris, Deca in Tel-Aviv and Terra Sur in California (where i have not been but have heard nothing but enthusiastic endorsements from everyone I know who has dined there). The list used to include La Guta and Ragu in Jerusalem as well. Next level down on the list would be Mike's Bistro in Manhattan which gets a deduction for never changing the menu and a lack of creativity. While there are many top-notch kosher restaurants and purely from reading reviews of non-kosher ones, I don't think there are public (i.e. restaurants) kosher dining experiences equal to the best the world has to offer. I'm not sure why exactly, but it is extremely disappointing (as someone who would happily travel for hours for a mind-blowing meal).


:lol: :lol: :lol: OK, you're right this is quite strange but also very funny as Osmose in Paris is my worst restaurant experience ever! However I had there in Paris some very nice meals, all excellent to great at Le Chateaubriand, Le Jaguar and Le Telegraphe z.l. .

No, I don't get always special treatment at french-owned restaurants in Israel but I tend to sympathize quickly with the owners when they also happen to be sympathetic themselves and perhaps since I can speak french, english and hebrew that makes communication better so that can often lead to a better treatment. Now I agree that great service at any fine restaurant or hotel should be the same royal treatment for all the guests, no matter who they are and where they are from. Anyway, I didn't know Gerard personally until last night but he actually was very much interested in my business and we found out that we share some common friends so naturally that newly established relationship probably had some influence on our overall experience at Le Trocadero. The Foie Gras dishes were also served in very fair proportions and Gerard was taking care of the guests together with the waiters so he was obviously not handling the cooking this time.

Now Yossie the good news is that aside having often a common appreciation of the same wines, we still can agree also on some restaurants as well. Gabriel, La Guta (though last time, which was a few months ago, was disappointing at La Guta), Ragu (z.l. now for 4-5 years!), Deca and Tierra Sur are all on my top list as well. I dined only once at Mike's Bistro in NY and loved it and my other favorite NY eateries are Solo, Le Marais and Abigail's. I used to dine (call me fancy... :oops: ) every Thursday at La Guta back a few years ago when I was a student in Jerusalem. As well I've also developed a friendly relationship with the owners of Gabriel and had meals there countless times being treated like a royalty (I was one of the first customers the week of the opening in 2005). Dedi the owner sees my face every day in his office as I was there when the photographer for Makor Rishon newspaper was taking the photos for the first ever article that was published on the restaurant (the title was "Good start Gabriel!" in the "Good Life" section with me on all the 4 pictures, I liked that, wonder why... 8) ).

You have also commented on this forum back a little while ago about a few other restaurants in Jerusalem that you didn't like at all, I wont cite them here but I totally agree with you (very very close to my shop, and I recall Dave Raccah also shared the same disappointment). Anyway if you wish, next time you're in town you can always let me know and I'll happily serve as your concierge and try ensure you'll have a good experience with your restaurants! :wink:
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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Yossie Horwitz » Wed May 23, 2012 11:51 am

Looking forward to being convinced otherwise (and pretty funny on Osmose). I agree with you on both Telegraph and Jaguar though...
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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Mark Lieser » Wed May 23, 2012 1:24 pm

Yossie:

Maybe these establishments have preference for people who live in Israel? (Just kidding). And I don't speak French, so that can't be it.

Actually, I enjoyed Fink's as well, but as I told Gabriel when I met him in the store, I was not quite as enraptured as he was. The food and service was excellent. Including the quirky sommelier, Dan. However, the chef seems - at least to my taste - a bit too obsessed with oddball presentations. Lots of smoke, dry ice, etc. Very showy. ("faltzani" would be the best Hebrew word I could use to describe it.) I'm all for presentation. But, the food was good enough that all the other stuff was a bit over the top and unnecessary.

In addition, Deca - a huge yes. A mainstay to impress visitors from abroad. Gabriel - was also there the first week they opened, but haven't been back, so can't say if the quality has been maintained. Same for La Guta - it's been about 6 years. Too many other places to try.

But, since we're on the subject - Gabriel, what ever happened to your idea of using Finks as a venue for an organized dinner to discuss wine pairings?

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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Gabriel Geller » Wed May 23, 2012 1:48 pm

Mark Lieser wrote:Very showy. ("faltzani" would be the best Hebrew word I could use to describe it.) I'm all for presentation. But, the food was good enough that all the other stuff was a bit over the top and unnecessary.

I know what you mean, but I actually think that even if it's not "necessary", all the smoke and show off at Fink's is part of what characterizes that restaurant, I guess that many people already refer to it as that "strange and dark place where people play check mate while food is served wrapped in smoke"... But since I talked with the chef several times I can say that he's a very nice guy who definitely loves what he is doing.

Mark Lieser wrote:Gabriel - was also there the first week they opened, but haven't been back, so can't say if the quality has been maintained.

Overall the quality has even improved and has been maintained since they got the mehadrin certification so I do miss a lot my foie gras dishes but my last meal there, last november, was excellent as always (they pamper me almost always with a complimentary dessert...) :mrgreen: . I did have one bad experience there a few years ago which was embarrassing as my friends visiting from Switzerland had looked forward to dine there for a long time upon my raving recommendation (a bit like Yossie's experience with Fink's) :oops: . They eventually tried to make it up to me the next time but since my friends weren't there that time they couldn't really... :(

Mark Lieser wrote:Gabriel, what ever happened to your idea of using Finks as a venue for an organized dinner to discuss wine pairings?

Good question! There are so many things I want to do marketing-wise and running a business in Israel is quite hectic so I've not yet had the chance to really get to try and setup such an event with Fink's but perhaps in a few weeks, we'll see (I'll let you know).
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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Yossie Horwitz » Wed May 23, 2012 5:38 pm

I speak Hebrew like a native (25 years in Israel will do that to you) but my French is rusty... Oh well, I will take Gabriel up on his offer on my next trip and see if the food and service gets miraculously better...
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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Mark Lieser » Wed May 23, 2012 6:12 pm

Gabriel:

Not to beat this to death, but I have to side with Yossie on this one. First of all, both my wife and I speak Hebrew and English - it will be ten years here, come this July. But, to complete my Trocadero saga - our waiter was a young man who was quite obviously American. He made a valiant attempt to speak about the menu and take our orders in Hebrew. Unfortunately, it was just too painful to listen to him and watch him struggle, and we told him (to his relief, I think) that English was quite fine for us.

So, I don't think language played a role there. Gerard came over (as did his wife) and that conversation was in Hebrew.

At Finks, the entire experience was in Hebrew, except for Dan - who is clearly more comfortable in English.

Clearly, the level of service in Israel has improved - especially over the past ten years. However, it still is occasionally not up to expected standards of a high priced restaurant. And even at expensive places in Israel, the experience can be hit or miss, depending on the staff that given night. I, too, have had "we'll never come back here" experiences at some pretty pricey places in Israel. It sounds like we both were fortunate - and maybe you should accompany Yossie next time. (I'll come too, if you're paying :lol: .)
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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Gabriel Geller » Wed May 23, 2012 7:12 pm

Mark Lieser wrote:It sounds like we both were fortunate - and maybe you should accompany Yossie next time. (I'll come too, if you're paying :lol: .

I'd love to go out for a meals with you guys, at Fink's or anywhere else but I suggest another "solution": You will pay for the food and I'll take care of the wine! :lol:
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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Mark Lieser » Mon Oct 29, 2012 11:25 am

Alas, as Gabriel and I discovered last night, Trocadero has closed, and is no more.

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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Yossie Horwitz » Mon Oct 29, 2012 12:35 pm

No surprise there - both had spotty service, eh food and were overpriced...
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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Mark Lieser » Tue Oct 30, 2012 5:13 am

Yossie:

While I agree that the Trocadero service was "iffy," I have to side with Gabriel on the quality of the food. I was looking forward to another visit to see how things were doing there, and was disappointed that it wasn't able to survive.

On another note, I have to thank GG - who after confirming to me that Trocadero had bitten the dust - suggested I try La Regence at the King David in Jerusalem. We were looking for a nice night out, and this place didn't disappoint.

I will admit, it is rather expensive - I'm not sure I'd say over priced, since the food was superb. However, the prices do push the limit. Tongue, duck liver, fillet - melt in your mouth, perfectly prepared dishes. Including an odd, but tasty palate cleanser - a sorbet made out of green herbs and spices. Excellent service, without being intrusive. The biggest drawback is the wine list which is decidedly unexciting - short, and restricted to the biggies, like Castel and Yatir. And the markup was in the 100% range for wine.

The other wonderful aspect - and this contrasts to other high end places in Israel - NO crying or misbehaving children. It never ceases to amaze me how people in this country will bring a small child to an expensive restaurant, and ruin the evening for everyone else.

As long as I didn't focus on the bill, it was thoroughly enjoyable. Not a bad or poorly prepared dish all evening.

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Re: From Paris to Tel Aviv: Restaurant Le Trocadéro (K) Tel Aviv

Postby Gabriel Geller » Tue Oct 30, 2012 6:58 am

Hi Mark, great to read so about La Régence! Going there tomorrow night G'd willing.

Best,

GG
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