Wednesday, February 2, 2011
City Bites: Wasabi over skhug
The success of the Sushi Rehavia chain is emblematic of Jerusalem’s gravitation towards more specialized cuisines.
As with many other culinary trends that sweep through the Western world, it took a few years before sushi gained a tooth-hold in this country, and even when it did, for a while Tel Aviv was the sole place where one could get a solid salmon roll.
Thankfully, marine delicacies swathed in rice and nori have been available in Jerusalem for several years, mostly on the menus of general-purpose Asian restaurants. However, it was only with the opening of Sushi Rehavia that the Japanese treats truly became a staple of the city’s diet.
Despite its sushi-centric bent, Sushi Rehavia’s recently revamped menu encompasses many of the flavors of the Japanese kitchen, extending to such delicious appetizers as negimaki (sirloin and asparagus skewers in tariaki sauce), wakame salad (a seaweed and cucumber salad on a bed of glass noodles in a soy and sesame vinaigrette); entrees that include excellent noodle dishes (be sure to sample the Red Sun spicy noodles dish with crispy chicken chunks, coriander, peppermint and scallions in a Vietnamese pepper sauce) and meat delicacies such as the Niko Don (grilled entrecote on a bed of stir-fried rice with vegetable); and of course, a practically endless (within the confines of the Jewish dietary code) selection of sushi combos that include many special rolls and the exceedingly yummy hot tempura combination.
The flagship Sushi Rehavia restaurant now graces the 31 Azza Street space that was the home of the legendary Atara Cafe for decades, a switch that embodies the city’s gravitation towards more specialized cuisines. There is also a Sushi Rehavia on Emek Refaim Street in the nearby German Colony and a recently renovated branch on Hapalmach that is the hub of the chain’s burgeoning delivery business. With further branches slated to open in Mamilla and the city center, one can declare wholeheartedly that the sushi revolution has taken the city by storm, perhaps signaling once and for all the ascendancy of wasabi over skhug in the battle of the spicy green condiments.