When we got a little bored at home, we decided to go out for a dinner and a show. Mike's Place, originally established in Jerusalem in 1992 by Canadian photographer Mike, offers plenty of alcohol and good music. Given its success, some Israeli partners joined the business, and opened a few more branches in the country, all of which follow the same format.
To get good sits and grab a bite to eat before the show (Wednesdays at 10pm), we got to the Herzliya branch at 9. I can't say I felt like I was abroad the moment I walked in through the door, but maybe a little bit: I was surrounded by a variety of languages – French, Italian, English, Hebrew and several more I couldn't even recognize, and while some of the waitresses were local, others were foreign students.
It was the end of October, and the Halloween decorations reminded me of winter. The menu, written in both Hebrew and English, always combines American and Mexican food in Mike's Place, like many sports bars and diners in the US.
We started with cheesy fries and bacon, bangers and mash, and tacos with spicy ground beef. Our drink orders came right away; I guess this is one of the benefits of sitting next to the bar. My partner had the Jamaican Spirit which is a cocktail made of midori, rum, coconut liqueur, banana liqueur and orange juice, and I stuck to a beer – Kasteel rouge – Belgian with a relatively high dosage of alcohol and strong cherry taste, true delight.
Right after the drinks, our table was served with sauces. In the American tradition, Heinz stars here, with ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard. We also received the essential tabasco sauce, and American hot chili sauce. Our serving turned out to be one impressive mountain covered with a thick layer of melted cheese and bacon cubes. This is a wonderful surprise for all you bacon lovers, and the rest of you can have the same dish without it. In my opinion this is one of the best bar snacks in Israel.
We had to abandon the fries to attack the main courses. Three large sausages were served with cabbage and rich mashed potatoes, vegetable salad on the side. It was really hard to stop having it, if it wasn't for my partner's pushing I would probably forget we were sharing. Our second order was make your own tacos: a generous amount of tortillas and bowls of cheese, guacamole, sour cream, tomatoes, lettuce and of course beef stew. Not too many trials later and even we managed to avoid splashing all over the place. This dish is indeed a little messy, but very good and definitely worth the effort. We wiped the leftovers with a spoon and fork, like the well-behaving kids that we are.
Moments before the stand-up show, the place was packed with people. The entire show that included some familiar performers and some not so much, was in English, with maybe just few words in Hebrew. Check out Mike's Place website, where all music shows and stand- ups are updated.
Will we be back? For sure. For the drinks, for the food, and for the great atmosphere.