"Dafna welcomes us with a big smile and an inside out roll consisting of red tuna, campio (sweet Japanese pumpkin), cucumber, sweet potato and a lot of love…."Michal Zamrany took her troubled friend to Neto Sushi in the Haifa Mall, and was convinced that in the right circumstances, sushi is a healing food.
When Rinaty is in distress, or needs to pour her heart out, sushi is an excellent way to soothe her sad soul. That's how it was a couple months ago when she left her Tel Aviv office for another in Haifa. That's also how it was this week, when she told me that she decided to leave her Haifa office for another Haifa office (a better one), after a long chapter of painful torture. But I'm putting the cart before the horse. Many maki rolls were necessary to get to this point. This time around, the supplier was Neto Sushi, a small and charming sushi stand in the Haifa mall.
Neto Sushi has been open in the Haifa mall for about 6 months, and provides healthy, organic, clean, and almost fat free sushi to mall and nearby high tech park workers. The owners and main sushi chefs are Dafna and Roee, an adorable young couple who returned to Israel not long ago after 4 years of travelling the world. It was actually in Australia, where they lived for a year and half, that they fell in love with Asian culture, specifically with sushi. When they got back to Israel, they opened Neto Sushi.
The stand is designed along a single clean line, and is characterized by bright invigorating colours. Dafna welcomes us with a big smile and an inside out roll consisting of red tuna, campio (sweet Japanese pumpkin), cucumber, sweet potato and a lot of love. The roll is coated in crispy panko, which adds a delightful and fat free crunch, and is served with salty soy sauce and thick and sweet teriyaki. With the sushi, we also get some dim sum – a meat gyoza and sweet potato gyoza, which are nice and crispy, and disappear in seconds. Rinaty washed them down with a diet coke, gets herself together, and gets started on the goings on at work.
Dafna and Roee give us our space. Every so often they appear with new treats. Here, for example, is the Wapo salad, which manages to break me of my salad aversion. This greenish salad consists of wakami and cabbage, and is dressed with sesame oil, a bit of soy and mirin. It's tasty, a bit tart, and according to Dafna, full of amino acids. Then the tuna sushi mix arrives – 8 pieces of sushi filled with tuna salad "like the one you make at home", with Japanese mayonnaise, green onion, campio, cucumber and covered with panko. According to Dafna, this is 'sushi for beginners' – because it opens their mouths to something familiar, but different. Another unique roll follows – maki with chicken teriyaki, sweet potato and pumpkin served with spicy mayonnaise (made on site) and sweet teriyaki sauce.
In the meantime, Rinaty is feeling a bit better, and thus we credit not just her outpouring, but also the lovely, healthy and young atmosphere which surrounded us. For dessert we choose the vegetarian inari – a sweet tofu skin pocket filled with rice, teriyaki and house vegetables. The dish somewhat resembles a Mexican burrito in shape, but tastes sweet and surprising, and brings a suitable ending to such a well suited meal. On the way out Rinaty is joyful once more, and even has some words of praise for her new office. I would have taken all acclaim for this upon myself, but the sushi at Neto Sushi is made with so much love that I am happy to share credit where credit is due. When you've earned it, you've earned it.