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Zahav is opening on May 5th!

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Hi All,

Wanted to let you know that Zahav, the modern Israeli restaurant by Steve Cook and Chef Michael Solomonov is opening on May 5th - they just got approval on the last step, the liquor license, this afternoon.

Not sure if you've been following the opening on Mike Klein's blog


but if you've ever been interested in the behind scenes look at a restaurant opening - you should check it out!

Hope everyone enjoys the cuisine as much as I have already!


Jennie Hatton

Profile PR

I have the best job ever :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a quick meal at Zahav last night: it was solid but not spectacular. I like the space, though I wish they'd reconfigure the seating for less 2-tops and more large-group tables: the food works much better for larger parties.

Had the fried kibbe (good: crispy, but under-spiced), the maluach (okay: pretty insubstantial for the price, but the flatbread was excellent), and two skewers, the Merguez and the "Farsi". The Merguez was good: came on a bed of couscous and a flavorful carrot stew. The components worked very well together. The Farsi was chunks of lamb on a bed of excellent saffron rice: the lamb was a little overcooked.

In general, I felt the food was a little conservative with the spicing: hopefully Solomonov isn't trying to dumb down this food for a Philadelphia audience. As I mentioned earlier, these dishes are most enjoyable if you have a group of at least 4, and you just order a ton of small dishes.

The service was friendly and very knowledegable about the menu.


al wang

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  • 1 month later...

ok so besides the incredible PR machine that got zahav's opening documented in all the newspapers and magazines in the entire western world, i haven't heard that much about it.

but i'll probably go check it out soon, and the question is whether it's a jas & mrs night or a family night. so lemme ask a quick question: how formal is it? can i take the boy there, if we go early?

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I was there a few weeks ago. It's a pretty casual place and there were some kids when we were there. That said, I wouldn't go so far as to say it was kid-friendly, and would probably be more fun sans progeny (we left ours home that night).

We were there with visiting relatives and really enjoyed the meal, though I can't say it wowed me. It was very good, fairly standard middle eastern fare, quite pricey for the amount of food, even at good quality. The highlights were the mezze--the fried haloumi was terrific. I thought the kebabs were good but nothing special.

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  • 1 month later...

I had a very good dinner at Zahav last night. It's bit of an unusual restaurant in that I would have been happy ordering literally ANYTHING on the menu; it all looked great.

Probably the high point were the salads that opened things: for some confusing reason, they're not on the menu, but for $14, you get a tray of eight little dishes of salad. A couple were only okay (e.g., a sort of Israeli coleslaw) but others were really outstanding (twice-cooked eggplant, marinated cauliflower, Moroccan carrots). All very simple, and as a whole, all terrific.

Turkish hummus (made with butter and served warm) was fine. Really, there's only so much you can do with hummus; I can't get too excited about it. I can, however, get excited about the flatbread they serve it with: hot, dusted with za'atar, and really delicious. They'll give you extra if you ask nicely.

We had two cold mezze: the Tunisian salad, which is sort of a variation on Nicoise: a pile of olive oil-poached tuna (that's the most typically Tunisian thing about it, I think: EVERYTHING in Tunisia comes with tuna), olives, and egg. We also had the kibbeh naya: sort of a lamb tartare, with oil and mint, to be rolled up in lettuce leaves. I liked this better than any steak tartare I've had in a long time: I love lamb, and the spicing is delicate and really complements the flavor of the meat.

And two hot mezze: the fried haloumi (extraordinarily good: it tastes like French toast, oddly enough) and malauch: fried flatbread served with a tomato compote and egg. These were another high point.

We finished by splitting the Bulgarian skewer: beef and lamb meatballs served with rice and tomato. The flavors on this were good, but overwhelmed by too much salt. I'll grant that I'm not much of a salt-o-phile; others might disagree, I suppose.

Oh, they have an interesting selection of cocktails, too: I had an Israeli salad martini (gin, cucumber and tomato water), which I enjoyed.

Something that irritated me, maybe unfairly: it's a pretty expensive restaurant. But instead of tablecloths, they have the paper menus. That's just tacky, IMO. Still, all in all, I enjoyed dinner, and I'd happily go back to try out some of the dishes I missed.

Oh, and on Thursdays, there's a special prix-fixe dinner. I saw the menus for tonight's (there are two, a meaty and a vegetarian), and they look incredible, both of them. That'd definitely be worth a go as well.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Oh boy, I'm way late on getting my write-ups from my Philly visits done.

Rick Nichols steps in for Laban this weeks and gives Zahav three bells.

I'm not sure my experience mirrored his - in many ways.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)


My flickr account


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  • 1 year later...

Bumping this thread back up as we finally made it out to Zahav last night.

I'll have to agree with Andrew that the salads started things off well, especially the twice-cooked eggplant. The cauliflower on the other hand must've come very close to the platonic ideal of CUMIN, so I wasn't in love with it. I did love the two varieties of hummus we had though - the turkish with roasted garlic and butter and and the tehina - mercifully low on cumin but high in paprika.

From the following dishes, the fried cauliflower was very good, so was the malauch. The crispy haloumi also deserved a mention, as did the chopped liver - which was effectively a very good, mild pate. On the other hand, the chraime fish stew didn't impress anyone and the jerusalem grill with grilled duck hearts proved once again that I am not an offal person.

Moving on to the grilled dishes, the bulgarian meatballs were good and the farsi lamb trio (leg, rib and tongue) was OK, but the really tasty dish was the house-made merguez, with a powerful red pepper sauce that reminded me a lot of a spicier version of ajvar (understandably).

We did enjoy the desserts: our party was evenly split between the konafi, 'kataifi, ricotta, rose water, pistachios', a ricotta-cheesecake-alike with a very thin, phillo dough (?) covering on both sides and the pine nut tart, with honey and whipped labaneh, the latter working wonders with its acidity in cutting the SLIGHT OVERDOSE of sweetness from the honey.

All in all, a pleasureable experience and a good value, though the wine list seemed quite expensive to me: we had a chateau musar from 2002, lebanon, which complemented the assertive flavours very well but was definitely over the top at $63 (winesearcher: $24 in NJ).

A final note: though the location is very lovely, parking is not. It took us upwards of thirty minutes to find a place to stick a car.

Edited by lfabio2007 (log)
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I've been wanting to try Zahav for ages, but was wondering if anyone can comment on how garic-heavy the food is (or isn't?) I have a bit of an allergy to raw garlic that keeps me away from a lot of Middle Eastern food unless I prepare it myself (and thoroughly sautee the garlic to kill whatever otherwise kills *me*). I mean, everyone raves about the hummus at Zahav but I know I probably can't eat it since most restaurant hummus and I don't get along, and I wonder if there's enough else there will make it worth a trip...

Edited by sockii (log)



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