'It’s about time someone opened a kosher meat restaurant in Ein Kerem', my friend declared while we carefully maneuvered our way down the winding road leading towards the Jerusalem neighborhood. While there are several dairy restaurants in Ein Kerem (as well as an excellent chocolate shop and ice cream parlor), until recently, the dining options for carnivores like my friend and I were quite limited.
We arrived a bit early and decided to wander around for a while and work up an appetite,, which in retrospect turned out to be a smart move. Greeted with a smile, we were given the option of sitting inside or on the enclosed and heated deck area. Since we wanted to enjoy the view overlooking the narrow alleyways, churches and surrounding hills, we opted for the deck and began reviewing the menu.
The menu at Kerem offers a variety of generous salads (the adjacent table ordered the chicken salad and were quite satisfied), stews, tarts, chicken, meat and even a children's menu.
The waitress recommended we try the meat pastry, ground beef sautéed with dried cranberries and pine nuts all wrapped in crispy phylo dough. Drizzled with a raw tahina and silan (date honey) the dish was devoured in no time. Good contrast of textures and flavors, a combination of sweet and savory, this was a treat. The second starter, a Jerusalem artichoke stew, was a bit disappointing. Although it sounded great on the menu, (Jerusalem artichokes and artichoke tango with beef cooked in a lemon-thyme sauce) in reality the Jerusalem artichokes were undercooked and the sauce was quite bland. On the upside, the waitress quickly noticed that we weren't satisfied with our dish, apologized and asked if she could get us anything else.
For our main courses, following recommendations from a good friend, we ordered the mullard breast in a cherry and wine reduction. The duck was cooked to perfection, slightly crispy on the outside and pink and juicy within. Served with a side of string beans and bulgur, this dish was immediately declared the star of the evening. We also sampled the grilled lamb chops and the entrecote skewers. It is evident that Kerem takes their meat seriously, with all cuts aged on premises in special refrigerators.
Another bonus at Kerem is the fact that their (parve) deserts are prepared daily by their own pastry chef, Inbal. The phylo fingers filled with a quince and apple marmalade were a treat. Served hot with a scoop of coconut sorbet this was definetely the right way to end the meal.
Great service, meat dishes, location, warm and welcoming décor and a certified kosher. What more could we ask for!
25 Ein Kerem, Jerusalem