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Zahav, Modern Israeli in Society Hill - 2011 James Beard Award Winning Chef Michael Solomonov on St. James Place

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DonRocks   

Going to Philly the weekend of 2/20 - Vetri, 10 Arts, Le Bec Fin, and Bibou have no availability. Osteria is only available at 5 p.m. I made a reservation for Chifa but the menu doesn't really seem very appetizing - actually very little in terms of Peruvian or Chinese food. What else should I investigate, especially things that I can't find in DC?

Zahav (reservations are imperative - it's also a two-minute walk from Amada if you want to sample both) and John's Roast Pork (open M-F 6:45 AM - 3:00 PM only).

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jparrott   

bitto cheese

blink.gif Dat's a gooood cheese.

an Israeli restaurant in Philly called "Zahav."

Got "dragged" here one night by some local friends. Was all prepared for it to be scene-y and useless. Then I got to eat a whole dish of PERFECTLY cooked rabbit organs.

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Zahav (reservations are imperative - it's also a two-minute walk from Amada if you want to sample both) and John's Roast Pork (open M-F 6:45 AM - 3:00 PM only).


What's good at Zahav? The Mesibah (party time, salatim & hummus,with laffa, selection of mezze, whole-roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate & chickpeas) sounds good.

What the heck is house smoked sable? Is this supposed to be sablefish? Menu here

Going back in February, will trying to squeeze in two lunches and one dinner. Staying at the Marriott next to City Hall. What are some interesting lunch options as we will do Zahav for dinner? Does John's Roast Pork have heated indoor seating with highchair?

ETA: forget John's, we're there on a weekend.

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Had Jim's yesterday and Steve's Prince of Steaks today. There's no doubt that Steve's is better but the meal of the trip is the Mesibah at Zahav. When I first checked out Zahav, I wasn't inclined to go since it seems like just another middle-eastern restaurant. What ultimately persuaded me to go is the finale of their tasting menu - whole roasted lamb shoulder. The "mesibah" turned out to be 8 courses for $48. This is an unbelievable bargain.

Before the meal started, they bring out some pickles and 3 dips. The green stuff is very spicy, like the stuff you get at Shamshiry or Rose.

First course is the hummus and laffa bread. The bread is soft and pillowy, much lighter than the bread from Lebanese Taverna, almost like the crust of a great Neapolitan pizza. The hummus is creamy and wonderfully seasoned, better than any hummus that I've had. Frankly I didn't know hummus can be this good.

Second course is salatim, 8 salads, including eggplant, beet, parsley (tabouleh), squash, cucumber, carrots, cabbage. These are great to snack on and you need the fiber anyway.

Third course is a roasted eggplant soup. I've never had eggplant soup before but I liked it alot.

Fourth course is foie gras with molasses and tahini on laffa bread - the combination turns out to be terrific.

Fifth course is fried haloumi - sheep's milk cheese. I don't know shit about haloumi. I've had them before and I'll probably have them in the future but I'm not a cheesehead so I'll just say they were fine.

Sixth course is the smoke sable fish on challah and egg yolk. This is not a mild fish. Fortunately for me I love fishy fishy fish.

Seventh course is the lamb, roasted, grilled and braised, altogether for 48 hrs, served with crispy Persian rice. We were given a pair of tongs to pull the meat off the plate. It was dark in the dining room (my wife blew out the candle) and the lamb shoulder included plenty of skin and fat. But for the darkness, I probably would not have ate the fat which immediately melted in your mouth and spilled forth wonderful flavor. And the rice was fantastic. If you like the lamb at Komi, you'll love the lamb here. I'm tempted to say the lamb is better here (especially if you love fat and skin). I think we ate only 1/3 of the plate and took the rest to go (we brought a cooler on the trip so this made it home today for dinner).

Eighth course is dessert. I have to say that Zahav does not believe in bland dishes - if they err, it's on the salty side. The service was very friendly and accommodating. When we asked them to pick up the pace for our daughter's sake, they handled it with no problem. I was so impressed that I tipped over 20%. All this for $48 per person.

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The kibbe nayyeh at Zahav is the truth.. Haven't been back because I wasn't sure about the sourcing of some of their ingredients (settlements in W. Bank v. Israel proper) and didn't feel like being the political asshole that asks those types of questions..

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ad.mich   

We did the party time at Zahav last weekend, and our menu was pretty similar to Ericandblueboy's but a different soup (chicken and chickpea) and no foie gras. We received a fried cauliflower dish with a dill sauce that was delicious. This is a crazy amount of food for $45/pp and if you can find a reservation I'd strongly suggest you consider it.

On the low end of things, Paesano's and Sarcone's are still kicking ass in case anyone was worried.

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collije   

Love Zahav's 'Mesibah' tasting menu. $48 is a steal for what you get (that roasted lamb shoulder is sooooo tasty). You'll want to reserve in advance by a few days to ensure the have the lamb available (at least that's what I've always been told in the past). I do like that they size the amount of food based on party size (i.e. a 2-top will get likely a 1/2 shoulder vs. a full shoulder which is way too much food).

Good choices above (another fan of Kanella).

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DonRocks   

A delayed visit to Philly yielded much gluttony

Love Zahav's 'Mesibah' tasting menu. $48 is a steal for what you get (that roasted lamb shoulder is sooooo tasty).

If you eat too much lamb, is it considered muttony?

I am sorry.

If you eat too much lamb, is it considered muttony?

Perhaps. The real question is what you would call a person who went back for 6 or 7 servings of LaCroix's foie gras milkshakes :)

A future participant in a clinical trial? :)

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Marty L.   
Highly recommend all of these places, but ZAHAV is a don't miss.

Couldn't agree more -- my meal at Zahav this year, as a solo diner, without even trying the lamb shoulder!, was by far the best meal I had anywhere. Just one swoonworthy dish after another. If only DC had a a place like this.

(OTOH, my meal at Osteria was very good but not life-changing.)

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jparrott   

The way my dining companion described Zahav to me before I went 3 years ago, it sounded like the silliest, scene-iest place on earth. It ain't. It is fantastic.

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DonRocks   
We plan to spend four nights in Philly in early May. What are some great places for pre-concert dinners near the Kimmel Center and the Academy of Music? We don't eat meat but we love fish.

Kirite, it's a 1.2 mile cab ride to the Kimmel Center from Zahav. What else do you need?

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kirite   

Kirite, it's a 1.2 mile cab ride to the Kimmel Center from Zahav. What else do you need?

You're right, of course. My surgically repaired knee won't allow much walking now, but by May I should be cruise to Zahav. Sorry to be a pest.

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DanielK   
You're right, of course. My surgically repaired knee won't allow much walking now, but by May I should be cruise to Zahav. Sorry to be a pest.

And you can still do the "Tayim - Taste of Zahav" tasting menu, because there are veggie/fish choices for every course.

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DonRocks   

[These paragraphs were copied from The Mother Thread as part of larger posts.

Use the Snapback Function (the little icon at the top-right of each entry) to view each post in its entirety.]

Zahav – Another Philly restaurant, another set of two-tops jammed together. But what can perhaps be called a tale of two tables, the environment at Zahav was a lot more pleasant than Osteria. Turned out it was restaurant week in Philly, so we were forced into the RW menu…which wasn’t a bad thing. They basically offer the Taste of Zahav menu for $35 (normally $39). Dinner started with the Salatim (a selection of 6 salads, inducing tabouleh, spiced carrots, chopped roasted beets, Israeli-style chopped cucumber, pureed eggplant, green beans), a plate of excellent house pickles, hummus (surprisingly weak), and excellent laffa. Next each person orders two mezze, we went with an excellent crispy haloumi, an ok sea bass crudo, solid fried salt cod, and awesome smoke sable. Next each person gets one selection off the Al Ha’esh (grilled kabob) section, the kofte was very good, the grilled spiced eggplant decent. Finally you each choose a dessert - peanut baklava and a phyllo-based dish called konafi…plus a bonus dish of rugelach. I would definitely put Zahav on the short list of places to return.

Thanks to this community, ate like kings this weekend in Philly.


...


Dinner at Zahav, however, was worth the drive alone. Dollar-for-dollar, the tasting menu at $48 was the best meal I've had all year, and that includes stops this year at Inn at Little Washington, Fiola, Proof, etc.

First, you start with one of the best hummus' I've ever had, and outstanding house-made laffa bread. This is quickly followed by "salatim" - a daily collection of salads that included carrot ginger, spicy green beans, beets, pickles, and a few others I can't remember, all of which were outstanding. My kids rolled right through the salads even though they featured ingredients they usually resist. There was enough of each salad for each person to have a few spoonfuls.

Then comes the progression of mezze - I think there were at least 8, and again, enough on each plate for each person to have at least a few bites. From the online menu, I can spot at least 6: crispy haloumi with dates walnuts apples, marinated brussels sprouts with whipped feta, fried cauliflower, house cured salmon with potato latkes, grilled duck hearts, house smoked sable with challah french toast and poached egg. Not a miss in the bunch.

Then, of course, the signature "whole-roasted lamb shoulder, grilled over coals, then braised with pomegranates & served over chickpeas with crispy Persian rice." Descriptions cannot give this dish justice. Tony Bourdain couldn't do this dish justice, though he strongly praised it on The Layover. We were all getting close to full when this monster shows up at the table, and though we stuffed ourselves silly, there was still a TON left on the plate which they happily packed up for us. My only minor complaint for the evening - they deboned the shoulder when they packed it to go, and I would have liked to take the bones home.

If you weren't already stuffed like a goose, then a progression of desserts shows up. I vaguely remember a pumpkin cake with vanilla custard, chocolate mousse with sour cherries, rugelach, and "konafi" - shredded phyllo with ricotta and apples.

Highly recommend all of these places, but ZAHAV is a don't miss.

A delayed visit to Philly yielded much gluttony (see below) and a little (horti)culture. Overall, I'm really impressed by Philly and I'm glad we made the trip.

...


Zahav - ordered the roasted lamb prix fixe. Overall the food was quite good but a touch oversalted. I was actually most impressed by the laffa bread and hummus. The lamb shoulder must have been 2 pounds of tender flavorful meat and I'm shocked that we finished it all (with +1 doing most of the work). As good as the lamb was, I think we will probably order mezzes a la carte in a future visit.

Back from a quick weekend in Philly.

...


- Dinner at Zahav. It was restaurant week in Philly but Zahava was great. A nice mezze came out with pickled vegetables, baba ganouj, hummus and other delights. The fresh cooked lavash was very good. We had too many items to list, but the kibbe naya and hosue smoked sable were particularly good.

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DanielK   

Is the "tasting counter" menu different than the regular tasting menu? They normally have two flavors of tasting menu - Tayim (choose apps and a kabob) or Mesibah (a parade of apps and the lamb shoulder). My review of Mesibah is here. One of my best meals of 2012.

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Is the "tasting counter" menu different than the regular tasting menu? They normally have two flavors of tasting menu - Tayim (choose apps and a kabob) or Mesibah (a parade of apps and the lamb shoulder). My review of Mesibah is here. One of my best meals of 2012.

Yes, but not a easy task getting a reservation. :(http://philadelphia.foobooz.com/2012/08/01/reservations-for-zahavs-chef-counter-going-live/

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For the Zahav tasting counter, you can try to get lucky by monitoring their twitter for last minute cancellations (though challenging to travel there if it's really last minute).  A couple of example tweets here and here

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DonRocks   

For the Zahav tasting counter, you can try to get lucky by monitoring their twitter for last minute cancellations (though challenging to travel there if it's really last minute).  A couple of example tweets here and here

Based on my experience at Zahav, it's entirely unnecessary to partake of their tasting counter - just go to the bar and order. I don't think you could spend $90 there on food if you tried.

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Based on my experience at Zahav, it's entirely unnecessary to partake of their tasting counter - just go to the bar and order. I don't think you could spend $90 there on food if you tried.

Likely my best option. My daughter will be turning 21 soon and thinking Zahav will be a good choice to celebrate her birthday.

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DanielK   

There are so many errors in that story, I don't know where to begin.

It's not only available on pre-order - in fact, you CAN'T pre-order it. They make a limited number every day, and when they run out, they run out. Note: except for really busy weekends, they rarely run out.

It's not only available to parties of 9 or more - the minimum is 4.

I've been twice, and had it both times. It's stunning, and worth a trip to Philly for.

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