''The steak of L’Entrecote is jubilation for meat-lovers: thick, ‘chewy’ and very succulent…'' Shifra Zach and her husband refused to share a steak, one that carries the name of the Tel Aviv restaurant. Considering the quality of the meal, it is quite understandable.
Let’s travel 20 years back in time: The day I left the advertising firm for which I worked. I am on my way to independence! In my boyfriend’s car lies a treasure which will unlock all the doors I will soon face – my portfolio, containing all the ad campaigns which I created over my career. Where do we celebrate? At L’Entrecote restaurant, of course, with their expertly-prepared steaks and the crispy potatoes served beside them. Full and content from the meal at L’Entrecote, we make our way to where we parked our car – and the car is gone! My irreplaceable portfolio is gone with it! The shadowy thief can now use it to kick off a career as a copywriter. Well, only after recovering from the shock do we realize that we simply parked illegally. Never was a person happier to discover that her vehicle had ''merely'' been towed away…
Twenty years have passed, as aforementioned. My boyfriend of back then has since become my husband, the vehicle has been replaced a number of times, and we have learned to thoroughly take care as to where we park in Tel Aviv. L’Entrecote has since relocated to the street corner of Achad Ha’am and Nachlat Binyamin, in a building erected over 80 years ago, its interior redecorated in a warm and inviting style. The menu of L’Entrecote has been upgrade, as well, but the steak and potatoes are still the triumphant banner meal that they always were. Another trump card in the deck is Sharon, the manager of the restaurant, who never ceases to move from table to table – advising, inquiring, suggesting. No small challenge considering the variety of diners – a large table of women, couples around tables-for-two, families, and a table which is clearly all business - seating an American, 2 Chinese, and several Israelis trying to converse in stammering English.
We are in no rush to get to the entrees. They are a worth the build-up. Beforehand, the first courses are served: eggplant stuffed with ground-mutton, with chickpeas and tomato-puree – a satisfying and tasty dish. However, the true surprise actually comes courtesy of the lighter dishes served in L’Entrecote, those in which the delicate combination of tastes in each one manages to stimulate the palette and pique the interest for the things to come: warm and meaty hearts of artichoke, with olive-oil, lemon, and parsley. Even better is the seared tuna, a dish that has become somewhat trite as of late, but which manages at L’Entrecote to avoid the trappings of banality, sliced ultra-thin and gently seasoned with soy, ginger, and lemongrass.
Finally and at last, we come to the reason we are at L’Entrecote this evening. In divergence from our usual custom when dining out, which is that it always advisable to try two different meals, this time neither of us is willing to forgo the steak. We both choose a cut of Entrecote and we both prefer it to be prepared medium. The only difference between our meals is the sauce – mustard sauce for him and wine sauce for her. The steak of L’Entrecote is jubilation for meat-lovers: thick, ‘chewy’ and very succulent. Served beside it are baked potatoes, crisp yet softened, just as we remembered them, as well as a greens salad with cherry tomatoes and nuts – all together something we find highly palatable.
When it is time for dessert, we have no more requirements. Fruit-salad? That’ll be fine. A chocolate-fudge will also do. Full and content from our meal at L’Entrecote restaurant, we make our way to where we parked our car. This time, the car is even there.
Achad Ha’am 28, on the corner of Nachlat Binyamin, Tel Aviv