Saturday Fun at Café Masada

"I luxuriated in the 300 gram entrecote floating in a rich pepper cream sauce together with an excellent gnocchi. The steak was juicy and the gnocchi melt-in-your-mouth soft…" Instead of heading to his in-laws, Daniel Rom ate a slightly alternative Saturday night meal at Café Masada on the Tel Aviv Boardwalk

Last weekend was especially hot and sunny. After getting through a crazy week at work with a brutal cold, and even worse, with my girlfriend's terrible cold, I decided it was time to celebrate those unpredictable rays of sunshine. A quite apologetic call to her parents, a little quarrel, and some praise of her Friday night meal – to which nothing compares– and there we were, on the road to Tel Aviv's Boardwalk. The sea always lets me completely disconnect. There is something relaxing about the infinitude of water, the soft sand that gets your shoes dirty, the little children running around the beach barefoot for the first time, and the last sparkles on the water minutes before the sunset. A gust of salty wind blows in from the sea, flooding the nostrils and giving us an appetite.

It's 19:00 on Saturday night. We'd already gotten to know Café Masada last summer, when we'd enjoy sitting near the glass wall, opposite the sea, watching the red sunset and eating Belgian waffles. This time we decided not to satisfy ourselves on sweets alone, so we got ready for a proper Saturday night meal.

Don't be confused by the name "Café Masada". The menu is varied and the Chef's specials crown the café a refined princess. During the daylight hours, the café provides a breathtaking view of the sea and a casual atmosphere. At night, candles are lit, bottles of wine places on the table and the place is wrapped in nighttime romance. We are seated opposite the glass wall, in a secluded and cozy corner. We immediately get started with a couple glasses of wine, a white Gamla Chardonnay and a Columbian red. The wine puts me in a relaxed state. My girlfriend, who has learned her lesson about drinking wine on an empty stomach, tries her best to wait for the food. A lemonade granita with fresh mint makes for an excellent replacement in the meantime.

We start with an anti-pasti of cheese and roasted vegetables and the chicken liver pate with onion jam and toasts on the side. We are both starved, and fall all over the dishes which surprise even hungry us with their generous size. Assorted lightly browned roasted vegetables rest on a huge platter alongside hard cheeses and cashews. Along with the platter came pesto, butter and white rustic bread. We break off a piece of hot plentiful bread, along with a piece of cheese, which tastes like goat, until we've polished it all off. Elegantly, we move on to 'deal' with the next dish: Soft pieces of chicken liver, adorned with an excellent onion jam, on ultra thin and crispy triangle toasts….ah...what a treat.

The starters were almost too tasty for us, as we planned on getting to the main, but they also served to increase our expectations. We chose the dishes that sounded the most interesting and sophisticated for our mains. For myself, a guy that doesn't ever pass up a steak, I ordered entrecote and gnocchi in a pepper cream sauce off the specials menu. My love ordered the salmon filet n teriyaki on a bed of mashed potatoes and didn't forget to remind me that fish is much healthier than red meat (not that it prevented me from requesting, in a self-satisfied tone, that my steak be done medium rare). The wait did its job and prepared us for what was coming. A carnal lust for meat had been awakened, and grew stronger with every sip of wine.

After a few more minutes of eager anticipation, I luxuriated in the 300 gram entrecote floating in a rich pepper cream sauce together with an excellent gnocchi. The steak was juicy and the gnocchi melt-in-your-mouth soft. How great it was not to be short on sauce so that I could drown every bite in creamy flavour. The dish was as inventive as it's predecessors had been, and was plated in an especially aesthetic manner. The piece of salmon, well seared on the outside, brown and sweet from the teriyaki, was sell matched with the buttery potatoes. As per usual, we shared the dishes, or more accurately, each one of us focused on devouring as much as they could from their own plate and at the same time, from the other's plate.

For a sweet finish, we ordered the crème brulee. No, no. It's not just another crème brulee, but an airy vanilla cream adorned with a thin, crispy caramelized brown sugar zigzag. Along with this treat were some fried bananas, also covered in the same wonderful caramel. From there we headed out into the night air, to stroll by the rough waves, drunk off the sea air and our excellent choice for a Saturday night dinner. And by the way, we told her mother that there is nothing better than her cooking…

Café Masada
83 HaYarkon, Tel Aviv
Tel: 03-5103352