“The chicken-liver p?t? in a vinaigrette fig-chutney is pleasure-filled. The p?t? has a thick, smooth texture, and a creamy rich flavor. At one point, I simply decide to forgo the fresh rolls, adorned with nigella, and merrily eat the p?t? with a fork, as though it were a mousse cake.” Michal Zamrany celebrated getting her new degree at Pastis restaurant and left exhausted, but highly-satisfied.
It was one of the happiest days of my life. I had been through a sleepless night, true, but at the end of it I could go to the copy shop, leave with some 400 bound pages, board the train to the University, hand in the work at the secretary office, and finally say: “Here is the project! Hand over my Masters degree!” Now, I didn’t actually get anything in hand, and I need to fill out the paperwork needed for graduation, but my obligations for completing this degree have been fulfilled, and the only thing preventing me from running out to the school lawn while crying out “freedom! Glorious freedom!” was my sheer exhaustion. At this point, Shay and myself, could both officially declare our vacation week has begun – a week that would include my birthday and our two-year-as-a-couple day. In order to most fittingly mark the start of the festivities, we were off to Pastis.
Pastis is the perfect restaurant for all manner of celebration. The locale is excellent, and we had the pleasure of walking past the artwork displays on Rothschild Boulevard on the way over. It has impeccable d?cor, is spacious, and offers large comfortable tables, and windows which bathe the interior with light and afford a view of the Boulevard. The service we received from Nofar and Vered was some of the bet we ever encountered: courteous, pleasant, tentative, and unobtrusive. The two waitresses would tread silently, glance at our plates, scurry away if they were still full, or invisibly whisk them away when empty. Utensils would be collected and replaced, the table kept clean, and fresh dishes would arrive just in time.
And then there’s the food itself. The menu is overseen by Chef David Goldwasser, who has been here for seven years - starting off as a grill-man, moving up to Sous Chef, and then finally being handed the keys to the kitchen. The dishes, his own concoctions, which carry a French-Mediterranean style, are described by him as “not pretentious, yet not simple.” Goldwasser’s approach is fresh. He approaches food, as one would a game, enjoys experimenting with new items, includes elements that are not necessarily French, makes the most of the ingredients he uses, and constantly creates new dishes, which make their way to the specials-board. If these new creations prove popular, they make the menu. “Food is like Lego,” he tells us. “You take the blocks, and create something new. In my judgment, we get good results here.”
This Lego approach is apparent in the courses themselves. For example, the salmon tartar, served with purple-onion, chipotle, chives, and diced peppers (in three colors), which combine to give the dish the look of a miniature dice game. Another example is the eggplant terrine with feta cheese, basil, peppers roasted with pine-nuts and hyssop - a dish which is prepared in layers and which reminds shay of building-blocks, causing him to enjoy the meal, as though it were a game of sorts. Meanwhile, I savor the mussels in Roquefort cheese, served with chives and fried leek, and crusted with bleu cheese, into which I dip anything edible – the mussels, the vegetable garnishes, and the bread. The next dish, the chicken-liver p?t? in a vinaigrette fig-chutney is also pleasure-filled. The p?t? has a thick, smooth texture, and a creamy rich flavor. At one point, I simply decide to forgo the fresh rolls, adorned with nigella, and merrily eat the p?t? with a fork, as though it were a mousse cake. Shay admires me and smiles. “Admit that if we were all alone here, you would pick up the plate and lick it clean,” he says, as I finishing scraping the remains of the mousse off the plate with my fork. Quite true.
Small cups of Jerusalem artichoke soup with spinach, parmesan, and vegetable-oil make way to our table, allowing us to refresh our palates, preparing them for the entr?es: corvina fish stuffed with roasted eggplant, feta, and basil, with cream of tomato sauce, for Shay. It is a handsome and meticulously pre