Published On: Tue, Aug 16th, 2016

The art of dining in Israel

Review: Following a devastating fire, Segevart reopens with an overhauled hi-tech kitchen that turns out dishes that are feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

The art of dining ISRAEL FOOD 1 RESTURANT Segevart

The good news for lovers of gourmet food is that celebrity chef Moshe Segev’s flagship restaurant in Herzliya Pituah is back in business. Just six weeks after a fire ravaged the premises, the refurbished restaurant opened its doors again, looking sleek, modern and attractive, with a semi-open kitchen that is now equipped with appliances representing the latest in culinary technology.

As the restaurant’s name implies, great emphasis is placed on presentation; those dishes that have been designed with aesthetics in mind are denoted with a hashtag (#) on the menu.

 

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Even the specialty cocktails are served with a flair. The Lychee Chili features fresh lychee juice poured tableside into snifters of vodka, lychee liqueur and lemon juice, garnished with a slice of red chili pepper. The heat of the chili cuts the sweetness of the drink a bit, although not quite enough. The classic kir royale, on the other hand, was well balanced.

As we sipped our drinks and perused the menu, a bread basket containing savory muffins and sesame breadsticks was served, with a pistachio and truffle aioli and Dutch butter. It is difficult to keep from filling up on these tempting carbohydrates.

Segevart offers a two-course business lunch (with intermediate palate cleanser) seven days a week, for NIS 135 ($35.45) on weekdays and NIS 155 ($40.70) on weekends. The menu comprises the gamut of meat, fish, seafood, chicken and vegetarian options.

 

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Our first appetizer was the beetroot and Parmesan risotto, served in a small skillet on a tray dusted with Parmesan curls. The creamy, cheesy risotto—laced with shreds of New Zealand spinach and sprinkled with beetroot powder—was delicious and left a pleasant tingle of heat in the mouth.

Next were liver pâté cubes glazed with mandarin orange, crème de cassis and green apple, served on a dish decorated with a rubik’s cube motif. It is for dishes like this that the phrase “almost too pretty to eat” was coined. Fortunately, we overcame our artistic sensibilities and delighted in savoring the melt-in-your-mouth morsels.

The palate cleanser—somewhat exaggeratedly called an intermediate course—consists of a custard of yogurt, mandarin cream and watermelon. It was a tad sweet, but it got the job done.

 

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Our fish entrée was the red tuna with goat cheese and truffle ravioli, served on large spoons arranged like piano keys on a bed of mashed potatoes. It was recommended to eat the ravioli and tuna segment in one mouthful, which is a bit of an effort, made more manageable by cutting each spoonful in half. The tuna—a beautiful ruby red color—was without any crust, so it needed the enhancement of the ravioli, which turned out to be an ideal complement. In this arrangement, the mashed potatoes, while tasty, ended up being somewhat superfluous.

Our beef entrée was the entrecôte with cauliflower salad, onions and black eggplant cream. The steak was tender and flavorful, while the cauliflower salad was actually tiny slivers of the root of the cruciferous vegetables spiced with surprisingly hot pepper. The black eggplant cream appeared to be mostly for show, while the roasted red onion was paired with a side plate of the now familiar mashed potatoes.

 

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There is no designated house wine; instead, the restaurant promotes a different winery each month. There is a limited selection by the glass, mostly of Israeli wines. Our waitress recommended the Bravdo Cabernet, which went well with the excellent entrecôte.

Desserts are another opportunity for Segevart to showcase the restaurant’s artistic dimension. The cheesecake is served as round morsels drenched in coatings of different flavors and colors arranged strikingly like oils on an artist’s palette. Again, try as we might to avoid the cliché, the phrase “almost too pretty to eat” comes to mind.

And indeed, the cheesecake bites decorated in chocolate brown, mango yellow, raspberry red, passion fruit orange, and dulce de leche caramel tasted exactly as good as they looked.

 

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The crème brûlée, another of our waitress’s recommendations, is a semifreddo treat served with a trompe de l’oeil effect that I will not spoil by trying to describe. Topped off with a scoop of mango sorbet and paired with a fruit salad in cold soup, the Segevart version of crème brûlée is an ideal summer dessert.

All elite restaurants pride themselves in the presentation of their dishes, but Segevart takes the visual aspect to a whole new level. Enjoy the views, and your taste buds will thank you.

Segevart
Not kosher
Shenkar St. 16, Herzliya
Tel. (077) 414-2025, ext. 2

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