Goshen, 37 Nachalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv2013-06-29
Kosher Food in the Land of Egypt
Before you mistaken this website/food blarg for eateries in Egypt because your knowledge of ancient Egpytian towns tell you that Goshen is another name for Egypt, let me tell you that Goshen is most definitely in Tel Aviv, on the popular street of Nachalat Binyamin. But why a Tel Aviv restaurant would call itself “Goshen” is beyond me. Maybe it’s because we had our exodus from Egypt and Jews have a hard time letting go. Maybe it’s because it was part of the 1979 Peace Treaty with Sadat that one restaurant in each Israeli town has to have its roots to said exodus town or…
Maybe because it’s just fun to say:
I finally had the chance to catch up with one of my former Birthright Israel participants Micah since he moved and got married in Israel. It’s been a few years and a lot has changed since he was a student in Pittsburgh. For starters, he got married and lives in Israel. Pretty bold for someone 24 years old. He also keeps kosher, and for that reason we found Goshen thanks to a Google search, and it was in a familiar part of town on Nachalat Binyamin. I had to resort to Googling a place, since the original restaurant I wanted to take him to was no longer kosher. I guess it might be a economics thing in the dog-eat-dog world of restaurants. (Especially since dog isn’t kosher, but I digress.)
Micah tells me where he lives in the southern part is a boon for kosher restaurants, and they are more affordable there too (I’ll have to vist this magical area later).
So here we were in the land of Goshen, eating kosher food.
It’s a fancy restaurant, and we determined this by three elements:
1) They serve you ice cold water. Micah realized that most places will give you water but not have ice to spare or offer at all. It is the desert after all. And I can only surmise that the electricity bill to have a freezer to produce the mass quantities of ice needed as being astronomical. So check 1 for fancy.
2) They coordinate the ending of the appetizer with ordering your main meal. This particularly impressed me. Our waitress approached us and asked us if we were almost done our appetizers and if we would like her to put forth our main meals. This ensures that our main courses are served fresh and hot and our table is not overwhelmed by all the incoming dishes. It saves you the trouble of having to shuffle around all the cutting boards and plates like some bizarre version of table Tetris. Check 2 for fancy.
3) They get your fresh cutlery with every course. Mind you we only had two courses – appetizers and mains, but that it’s a sure sign of fancy-shmancy in my book. And that’s a hat-trick for 3.
Over all the food was fine. We started with fresh foccachia and a ceviche appetizer. Micah ordered the Spring Chicken (pargiot) and I cannot imagine them messing that up. With that you get something they call “Pappas Fritas” which Micah didn’t indulge in, but I can’t resist. Could you. Just say it, rolls off the tongue:
I ordered the Angus beef and root mash, which was basically strips of meat resting nicely on a bed of mash potatoes. Oh, I’m sorry… root mash. (Potatoes are a root vegetable right?) It didn’t seem all that appetizing, since I actually thought I ordered the beef spare ribs but then I realized that I did order the ribs but they did not have them available.
In fact one of my critiques of the place was that I think I tried to order 2-3 dishes that ended up not available. The appetizer of the Seared Red Tuna and the mains of the Veal Prime Rib and the Beef Ribs all ceremoniously unavailable. Our waitress was really friendly and did a great job offering recommendations. Although I did find that she tended to suggest the more pricier options. Like they have a tasting menu for 170NIS. Don’t get me wrong, I like having the chance to catch up with friends, but I don’t need to impress him that much with my ability to eat a variety of meat dishes.
“Oh it’s been three years since we have seen each other. Let me consume copious amounts of animal to show you I have retained my manliness.”
And anyway, I’m pretty sure Micah does that all the time to impress his Israeli wife.
This is what we did get:
- Focaccia 22NIS
- Ceviche fish 48NIS
- Spring Chicken & papas fritas 72NIS
- Angus Beef w mashed roots 115NIS
- Melon schnapps (free chaser)
I think Goshen serves a particular clientele, seen by the octogenarians around us. (They were an older crowd is what I’m trying to say.) I think we were the youngest people there, which is why our waitress offered us a free chaser of watermelon schnapps. Further proof that they were trying to impress upon us that Goshen is hip, since rightly so no one over 35 would dare drink watermelon schnapps.
My suggestion is go to Goshen if you want to impress your in-laws or your own parents who keep kosher. It’s a really nice restaurant with decent food. It’s in a central part of town and you’ll look real smart when you tell your wife/girlfriend’s folks that Goshen was the region given to the Jews by the Pharoah of Joseph, and ultimately the place where the Exodus began. Also, try to make a game of how many times they can say “Goshen” or even “Pappas Fritas”
Go on, just say it one more time: