Following is my review of Entrecote, that printed in 2006. I have revisited and would not change a word of what I wrote in that review...
In its first incarnation, l’Entrecote was located on Tel Aviv’s Rehov Ben Yehuda. Opened in 1974, the restaurant featured fixed price meals of salad, entrecote steak, and a crème caramel for dessert all served up in a rustic and completely relaxed setting. Owned by Christian Zaradez, perhaps more famous as the chef of Jaffa’s Alhambra restaurant, and for many years operated by one or another of his sons, the little restaurant became a haven for simple and unpretentious French meals. When the restaurant closed in the mid-1990’s, there were already many other establishments that offered such fixed menu meals and its absence was not felt.
l’Entrecote has been reborn, and now in a kosher version. Gone is the once rustic setting in which wood beams and a rickety staircase set the atmosphere and in their place is a modern, upswing ambiance in which tints and shades of gray dominate, those set off nicely by orange backlighting behind the bar. Gone too are the attractive rickety old tables and checkered tablecloths, to be replaced by polished dark brown tabletops. What remains though is the fixed price menu the major feature of which is still, as the name of the restaurant clearly implies, the entrecote steak. .
My meal opened with home baked rolls and a well made tapenade, that Provencal spread made of black olives, anchovy fillets, capers and lemon juice. From here it was on to a green salad with walnuts that was in distinct need of more dressing. Additional creamy vinaigrette was brought to my table on request and that made the salad quite pleasant. From there, to the entrecote steak, which, despite the foibles of kosher meat was good, cooked medium rare as requested and with just enough fat left intact to add flavor. Gone in the name of kashrut is the cream-rich pepper sauce that was offered in the old establishment but that left me no cause for complaint for the mustard and herb sauce served with the steak was appealing. What I did miss was the Swiss style rosti that for many years was a staple at the Ben Yehuda establishment, a dish in which potatoes are boiled, peeled, grated and packed in a frying pan and fried in butter until golden brown. Happily, the thin chips served were an ample replacement, the chips being crisp, greaseless, just salty enough and full of flavor.
I decided to skip the so-called parve ice cream based desserts and settled for the crème caramel. Unfortunately, that suffered from the use of a parve milk substitute and lacked richness. Including a glass of the house wine (on the day of my visit the Merlot of Segal) lunch will come to NIS 61 and dinner to NIS 80. To either of those prices, a cup of espresso will add NIS 7. A reasonably priced and welcome addition to the bistro scene, especially for those interested in kashrut.
L’Entrecote: Rehov Ahad ha Am 28 on the corner of Nachalat Binyamin, Tel Aviv. Open Sun – Thurs 12:00 – 03:00, on Friday for lunch and Saturday after Shabbat. Tel: (03) 5163703. Kosher.