From the moment I stepped foot into Columbus in Herzliya (which has gone kosher, by the way), the following words were already on the tip of my tongue: ‘Where’s Brenda? And Dylan? I’ve just got to tell them that the Peach Pit is back!” So yes, the diner that accompanied my friends and I through our teenage years suddenly appeared before me, with all its classic American motifs. Football helmets, hockey sticks and American flags in every corner.
A cute waiter called Guy (no, not Brandon unfortunately) wearing a Bob Marley style beanie brought our nostalgic gushing to a stop in order to explain what the story is at Columbus. He managed to get through his greeting before suddenly apologizing and joining a group of waiters and large wooden chicken over at the next table.
My friend and I looked over at the group curiously, wondering what was going on, when the band of waiters started belting out a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. Another few things also happened at the table before Guy came back over with a smile. Like admiring tourists, we knew that we didn’t really understand what was going on at Columbus, but decided to set aside further investigation for later – first we eat.
We chose to start with the onion loaf and baladi eggplant with tehina, both worthy choices, and the entrecote steak with sea salt and coarsely ground pepper and the flank steak for our mains.
The onion loaf. Utterly depraved and crispy, unbelievably tasty and even more evil due to the accompanying creamy chili mayonnaise sauce. The singed eggplant swimming in tehina received its green card only on the basis of the chili, ginger and citrus sauce.
We waited for the main dishes while playing trivia games on the touch screen at our table (how did I get stuck with all the sports questions I’d like to know!?!)
Meyer, one of the owners, joined us for a while and told us the story of the wooden chicken and good luck. The chicken, it turns out, was born 180 years ago. Meyer got it as a gift from an American-Indian Chief he met in America, and since then it has held the coveted yet challenging role of granting birthday wishes to the diners at Columbus.
Two well-filled plates made their way towards us. The good entrecote served alongside chimichurri sauce and the tender and juicy flank steak were both exceedingly generous portions providing us with a substantial challenge. Like during the trivia games, here too we failed, but at least we know how to loose with honour.
I asked the chicken if he grants wishes even if it’s not your birthday, but he didn’t respond. I guess he didn’t hear me, the team of waiters was bellowing out another happy birthday into his ear.
4 Aba Even, Herzliya Pituach