Sitting with my daughter Shachar at Burgers Bar in Petach Tikva's city centre, I can see that we are dealing with an entirely different set of wings – in this case, a huge steaming bowl containing a half kilo of chicken wings, covered in sweet chili sauce, and fried in a wok until the aforementioned sweet chili is super hot and shiny. Because the wings are giving off such an appetizing aroma, we can hardly wait for them to cool off a little before we dig in. For Shachar, who normally refuses to eat any meat that isn't schnitzel, the wings are quite the revelation – not just the taste, but that with wings you are not only allowed but encouraged to eat with your hands! She carefully takes hold of the first wing, takes a little bite…and then happily announces: Yummy!
The place is already starting to fill up with evening diners. The impression we got was that this is a burger joint that suits absolutely everybody. On one hand, this is the only Glatt-kosher restaurant in the centre of Petach Tikva: no vegetables from the Shmita year and Mehadrin kosher meat under the supervision of Rabbi Mutzafi. On the other hand, the atmosphere is welcoming and honey, with lovely international background music, and the prices are very sane, which brings in lots of teenagers, soldiers and entire families – and that's in addition to the delivery service that takes dozens of orders daily. The secret of good food is freshness: every dish at Burgers Bar is prepared on the open grill upon order – burgers, chicken breast, schnitzel, sausages, chicken strips and steak. Along with the meat comes fresh hand chopped salads and 12 (!) types of sauce, the majority of which are made on-site daily. Diners order the meat of their choice, in the bread of their choice – a bun, a ciabatta or wrapped in a tortilla, their favourite sides and sauces, and enjoy a complete, satisfying and tasty meal.
The wings which we so gluttonously consumed were only the start of our meal: Shachar was finished with trying new things, so for her main she went back to her tried and true schnitzel, in a bun, without salad, but with a lot of pickles, ketchup and, obviously, chips on the side. An enormous bun containing 2 pieces of schnitzel arrives. The schnitzel is thin and crispy, having been coated in breadcrumbs and sesame seeds before being deep fried. As Shachar takes a bite and indicates that this is better than the schnitzel she gets at home, I don't know if I should be insulted by the not very complementary comparison, or be happy from the pleasure this schnitzel is providing. In the end, I enjoy the fact that her enjoyment of this massive sandwich has spilled all over her face. For myself, I chose the house burger, a combination of veal and mutton (which lends the burger a special flavour) with chimichuri and tehina sauce, along with a side of fresh green salad in house vinaigrette dressing. From time to time I steal a few chips from Shachar and teach her the best way to eat chips – dip each in a different sauce from among the many on the table, thereby giving each one a new taste. Hmm…yet another new discovery.
After all those savoury flavours and spices, Shachar feels like something sweet. Chocolate is preferable, if possible. Hot soufflé? Exactly. The soufflé comes crispy on the outside, melting on the inside, and surrounded by chocolate sauce that Shachar licks off the plate until it's all gone. Bon Appetite!
89 Rothschild, corner of Herzl, Petach Tikva.