20 years have passed since the first time I read about the European kitchen's decadence before I got to try a properly made Tournetos Russini, this week. Adam and Mia Bar look down at us from Azrieli building's 49th floor, where 2C restaurant is located.
But let me start at the beginning. Back in the 1980s former journalist Gabi Nitzan wrote a restaurant review column. One broke student (guess who) used to read his wonderful articles and fantasize having these exciting dishes in Tel Aviv's fine restaurants. I heard about one of them for the first time in a story about composer Gioacchino Rossini whose culinary caprice brought about one of the most corrupted dishes in the classic European kitchen: Tournetos Russini. I can't remember which restaurant Nitzan was referring to back in then, but what I can say is this: first – the dish description was burnt in my memory for life, and second – despite this burn, I have not yet had the opportunity to taste it, maybe it's because very few restaurants actually rise to this challenge.
So what was it all about? Tournetos Russini is made out of round fillet portion. On top of it proudly lay foie gras. Both are ornamented with truffle fungi chips, while all of these components are immersed in beef sauce. Now you can understand why this dish shares a sentence with The Barber of Seville and William Tell – Russini's "other" pieces of art.
One hour earlier we said goodbye to Tel Aviv while taking the elevator to Azrieli's 49th floor. It was our anniversary and we've decided to exhilarate ourselves. From the top of this round building you can't see the filth of the city. 2C is specious, it has dark, massive wooden tables, wide glass windows, quiet music and flattering soft lights. We looked down at everything, and I can't say I didn't enjoy the thought of the rest of the world being down there while we're up here.
We started with a Lemonchello and Vodka cocktail, spiced with pickled lemon and coriander seeds. The great olives that we were served opened our taste buds. Warm bread with 3 dips (Tehina, Aglio e Olio and olive tapenade) has been a wonderful companion while we read the menus. 2C's waiter advised us yet allowed us enough privacy.
For starters we had a duet of marinated Norwegian Salmon and tartar of Sea bream on a caramelized miso spread, its design resembling a boat. Across from me, Mia was enjoying warm foie gras in phyllo and apple confit layers that was served with calvados sauce. It was sweet and gentle, and the anise star on top of it was like an excellence award.
The pleasure we got from the first courses is what drove us to order the Tournetos Russini mentioned before. Well, no one should wait 20 years to fulfill a dream; life's just too short. We made sure the Sea bass and the pumpkin risotto wouldn't feel neglected too. In this mission we used the helping hand of an organic Merlot by Odem Vineyard which made us forget any Merlot anemic taste we've had in the past.
We ended this meal with a great pear pie. "Happy anniversary!" We congratulated each other, smiling at the couple sitting next to us; they have just decided to get engaged.