Was it All a Dream?

“We attacked the eggplant special, intoxicated by (my) excellent choice. In between bites, we sipped the Marquis de Castilla wine, red and sharp…” After years of promising it to himself, Daniel Rom finally went out to eat at Meatos restaurant and bar in Tel Aviv.

Last Thursday evening was the coming-full-circle of a nostalgic path. I remember myself two years ago working insane hours, running from meeting to meeting, up and down the floors of the office-buildings at the junction of Weizmann and Shaul HaMelech streets. There was always a split second in which it flashed before my eyes – Meatos restaurant, shining like a red and noble pearl. From the outside I could only see the spacious exterior and faintly hear the mixture of conversations at the tables. During lunchtime, the restaurant looked like a sunny caf?, and in the evenings, it seemed to morph into a lively nightspot.

Millions of times I imagined to myself how she looks like from the inside and decided that when the day was over I would go and sit there. During that workaholic period, the days ended so late, that these promises remained no more than fantasies. A week ago, I discovered, by sheer coincidence, from a friend that Meatos was kosher. This complex combination of bar-restaurant-grill-gourmet-kosher finally made me decide: that’s it; I am going to eat there. So I took my girlfriend, my expectations, and my empty stomach, and was on my way.

We were greeted by a smiling hostess who led us through the roofed terrace to the very spacious and stylized interior: long tables for families next to round intimate tables for two, dark blacks flashed by plasma screens in every direction, and a large light source which gave the plush interior a warm atmosphere. We stretched out in comfortable armchairs, a small candle in salt-crystals on our table giving off light, and were quite taken by the giant wine hives by the walls. The extensive alcohol menu called to us, with its tempting cocktails, numerous beers, and an interesting selection of Israeli boutique wines.

I followed the recommendation of our knowledgeable waitress and went with the interesting specials listed for the evening. My predictable companion debated for a long while and finally settled on cabbage and mushroom tapas. Both were fried to a crispy texture. We dipped them in sweet-spicy chili and pesto. It was a delicious start, no doubt, but I insisted on going further so I ordered the eggplant special – three small eggplants, filled with lamb meat, in a thick, sweet plum sauce. We attacked the dish, intoxicated by (my) excellent choice, enjoying the combination of sweet and salty seasoning. In between bites, we sipped the Marquis de Castilla wine, red and sharp.

When the moment of truth arrived and we had to choose our main courses, my girl decreed: “we choose the best dishes on the menu! We are eating in a restaurant called MEATos, so we might as well go all the way!” All the way we indeed went and ordered beef fillet medallions, served over potato puree and steamed vegetables in a red bordelaise sauce; and a chateau steak – fillet and goose liver on a bed of potato puree and steamed vegetables. This was a natural choice: the steak fillet was a choice cut of meat, juicy, seared with black smoky grill marks, and wrapped in a gentle red wine sauce. The goose liver was soft as butter and exquisite. Together, they made for the sort of culinary experience we had hoped to have. We shared our food with each other, with the 2 dishes somehow combined, as we finished them slowly and quietly, as we only do with the most sumptuous of meals. Undoubtedly, a good steak fillet reigns supreme and can turn any meal from causal to luxurious.

After the main feasting was completed, I decided to give the desserts a place of honor. Such a meal needs a grand finale. I told her to choose any dessert she wishes, knowing full well what I was getting myself into. Let’s just say that decisiveness is not her strong suit. On the one hand, nothing beats chocolate; on the other hand, warm pie sounds wonderful; but still, why not have a fruit dessert after such a large meal?! Anyway, we wound up full and content with a warm pecan pie served with almond cream a