Ran had been gone for 3 months - off somewhere tropical lugging around a boom mic as a sound man on the season two shoot of the Israeli Survivor. Though he was contractually forbidden from revealing just about any detail the shoot, we were nevertheless in line for a good catch and a particularly good meal.
Ran is a meat man. Almost always up for a hearty hunk of flesh and a side of carbs. Preferably potatoes, preferably mashed.
I made the executive decision that Chez Romy fit the bill – a quiet little French bistro on Herzl Street. Long and narrow with tables along the wall and then opening up to a cozy square dining room, Chez Romy is the classic antithesis to the trendy Tel Aviv oversize restau-bar scene.
We chose a table at the back and perused the short menu while Ran detailed the various forms of insect bites he was now intimately acquainted with. Luckily, it takes more than a couple infected inside bite stories to spoil my appetite, and I quickly decided that I'd be starting with the onion soup. Ran, who we already established is a meat man, selected the chicken liver pate.
The soup was a lovely dark brown, rich and savory, chock full of onions a ridiculous amount of melted Gouda…but not that ridiculous as it turned out, because I almost finished it. Ran found his pate to be on the delicate side, which meant that I was also able to enjoy its creamy richness with the fig jam without being overwhelmed by the super dominant taste of chicken liver.
We decided to follow our traditional French appetizers by sticking with classics – entrecote and lamb chops. The entrecote was a little on the rare side of medium rare, in other words, perfect – just cooked enough to melt the fat. The thinly cut, tender and delicious lamb chops revealed an interesting fact about my accompanying carnivore – he doesn't know that the best part of a lamb chop can only be attained by abandoning the propriety of cutlery and just picking them up with your fingers. Instead, Ran made good use of his fork going to town on the mashed potatoes. Light and fluffy with just the right amount of creaminess, they were the perfect vehicle for the lingering meat juices, especially the peppery lamb sauce.
Washing down our rich meal with a couple glasses of house cabernet sauvignon – Jean Belmont which also offers merlot, syrah, sauvignon blanc, and Anjou, all of which are available at extremely reasonable prices by the glass or carafe or bottle – and with soft French music playing in the background, we selected toffee and nut tart and the chocolate soufflé for dessert. All the tarts, are handmade by Belgian Chef Romy Ani.
Taking our time after dessert, Ran regaled me with a few more non-contractually classified Survivor set stories as I sipped my espresso. The meal was great, but it was even better to have Ran back.
10 Herzl St, Tel Aviv