My friend and I were looking forward to Thursday night all week long. After all, it's not every day that we get a chance to eat at a restaurant backed up by over 200 years of family tradition.
Founded in 1795 by Nathaniel Hess, "Hess" was famous throughout Europe as a producer of high quality meat products, all following the strictest laws of kashrut. Since then, members of the Hess family have continued and expanded this tradition, offering a wide range of fine meat products.
Marcel Hess, a sausage 'maister' and a 6th generation member of the family, decided to move the business to Israel several years ago and with locations in Jerusalem and Ra’anana, Marcel offers an impressive selection of dried, cured, smoked and pickled meats, quality steaks, deli sandwiches, soups and more.
Hess is a mecca for homesick New Yorkers and Europeans who crave quality cured & smoked meats. But you don't have to know from salami or prosciutto to appreciate Marcel Hess's commitment to quality. The secret to the delicious sausages is simple, according to Marcel “As opposed to other producers, who add starches, soy products and other substitutes, all of the products sold at “Hess” are made exclusively from meat”.
Entering the restaurant is like making a quick trip to a Jewish restaurant in Europe, the walls are decorated with family memorabilia, Marcel's antique and old menu collection, photos of Marcel alongside prominent Israeli leaders and politicians and an impressive armoire with a collection of crystal and an assortment of rare fine whisky.
We started off with a platter of cold meats and liver pates. The cold cuts left us speechless, my friend who's had his share of non-kosher meats while living in Europe, said that this is definitely the most non-kosher seeming Mehadrin meat he's ever sampled. Ask for the “lamb-shpeck” and the bresaola, both are sliced paper thin and leave you craving more.
The soups were tasty as well, while my partner had the meat and pea soup, I enjoyed a classic lamb consume with a couple of matza balls. Served in individual clay pots, the portions were generous and on cold Jerusalem night, the soup warmed us body and soul
For our mains, we decided to order an assortment of homemade sausages and pickled meats, served alongside classic French choucroute and potato salad. The choucroute is often referred to as the 'chullent' of northern France – plenty of white cabbage, an assortment of meats and spices all cooked slowly in beer and wine. We particularly enjoyed the corned beef, pickled tongue and the caraway – garlic sausage.
In the near future Hess will also be offering customized burgers, which allow you to choose your cut from a variety of high quality meats which will then go into the grinder and be prepared to your liking.
Time and time again, Marcel has proven that kosher deli and sausages can be just as good, and in some cases even better, than the non-kosher versions.
9 Heleni Hamalca St., Jerusalem