“The Asado is a cut of beef intended for advanced meat-eaters only. Each bite requires some investment, but in the end – supreme satisfaction.” Shai Vaknin wishes to extend his gratitude to the Jewish Agency, thanks to which Marcello Morgenfeld came to Israel, and opened a great restaurant called Morgenfeld Steak House in Liman (a Moshav in Israel).
Boy meets girl, boy dates girl for a year and a half, boy and girl part ways for eight or nine years, and boy and girl get back together for another go. Two years later and still in love, my girl and I are traveling around Israel on the 2nd anniversary of our reunification. She, as befitting a woman who keeps her true age somewhat hidden, is celebrating 20-something winters (in actuality 20 with an additional 10 winters but don’t say tell a soul). After this exposition, you would undoubtedly agree with me that this event calls for a major celebration. Therefore, we left our Zimmer (a term for an Israeli bed & breakfast), and went off for a carnivorous feast in the restaurant known as Morgenfeld Steak House.
Finding the restaurant was no trivial matter. Morgenfeld Steak House, which is kosher by the way, shies away from view, among the zimmers, fields, and cows in the area. However, the mission was accomplished successfully, and as of this writing, the number of cows in the area has dramatically declined.
The restaurant, loyal to her founder’s origins, is constructed as a quincho – a traditional Argentinean structure built entirely out of wood, spacious and with plentiful windows. Adi, our charming waitress for the evening, wastes no time and places a number of starting dishes on our table: antipasti served on a metallic,2-level platter, the house bread with sun-dried tomatoes which comes accompanied by an olive-spread and chimichurri sauce. The owner, Marcello Morgenfeld, treats us to a bottle of red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon 200), and takes the opportunity to tell us a little about himself.
Marcello first arrived in Israel in 1989, as Argentina’s rowing representative in the Maccabiah – the local Olympic Games which, once every four years, unite Jewish athletes from around the world. He returned to his native country when the games ended but Israel’s impression on him permeated, and he eventually immigrated here in 1993. Marcello began his culinary career as a grill-man in a known grill-restaurant chain and eventually made his way up to become the chain’s head Kitchener, a role that included ensuring a level of uniformity in the food-preparations across the chain’s restaurants. Eventually, he left the position and decided to open his own restaurant. The connection to Moshav (agricultural cooperative in Israel) Liman can be attributed to his wife, a resident of the Moshav. The rest is history.
At this point, Marcello returns to his work, and we return to the task at hand – eating. For the next course, we are served chicken liver p?t? with onion marmalade, presented on a square dish. The round portion of p?t?, mousse-like in texture and garnished with a cinnamon stick, is placed on one corner of the plate. In the cross-corner, a clove of garlic over a baby green leaf is displayed. The fine onion marmalade is on the third corner. Finally, the forth corner remains bare, possibly hinting that those who don’t finish their food get sent to the corner as a punishment.
The space once occupied by the first courses is cleared to make way for a small charcoal-grill, which houses crackling hot coals. Topping the grill in a perfectly lined pair are 2 juicy beef chorizos, bursting with flavors, 2 crispy empanadas, stuffed with meat and mushrooms, and 2 delicious mini kebabs. I would give my kingdom for a third.
An interlude is in order and we are served passion-fruit sorbet – a yellowish scoop of sorbet, dotted with black passion-fruit seeds. The yellow and black colors remind me of Jerusalem’s soccer team in an ice-cream dish. Just thought I’d mention that.
Next up are the entr?es: cuts of entrecote for my companion and cuts of asado for myself, both served on sizzling skillets. The cuts of entrecote, as I am told by my sweetheart who refuses to share them, are wonderfully juicy, prepared to a perfect medium, as desired, so that each bite releases the juices in the meat and provides a celebration