Tuesday, March 15, 2005

No room at the Citadel

Noa's recent experience of food poisoning at a restaraunt that I recommended has left me hesitant to recommend another new eatery. I balance my guilt feelings with the fact that I absolutely love reading and writing about food. Tonight's discovery is a little off the beaten track and if my shouting about how good it was helps attract more custom then it is more likely to still be there the next time I want a good meal with good deserve in a great ambience.

Firstly however, a gripe; the subject of this piece was not our intended destination; my wife had booked tables at the David Citadel to belatedly celebrate my birthday. When we arrived at the hotel we were unceremoniously turned away by security - the high profile guests in town for the Yad Vashem opening had led to stringent measures and, whilst I appreciate the need for security, they had presumably known about this event for at least several months and therefore should have refused reservations for this particular night. Failing that, upon deciding to close up for the evening it would have been correct to call my wife - I see little point in their asking her to leave a number otherwise.

Lugar is situated on Rabbi Akiva St, just off Hillel in the centre of town (going down hill turn right at Blockbusters). Parking is easy - if you're lucky you'll get a free space, otherwise there is a public lot. The place became kosher relatively recently and is certainly not what you expect when you think of a typical Jerusalem restaraunt, with a decor that is modern and elegant, beautifully lit by faux candle fittings and with a bar that is so extensive that it included Single Malts that I didn't recognise!

A variety of comfortable looking seating options were available and we chose to sit on high stools by the window. Along with our menus we were brought some excellent fresh foccacia served with a tomato based dip and a dish of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I generally judge a menu by how long it takes me to order; if I choose quickly it usually means that there isn't much of interest. At Lugar however, there were so many interesting choices that I felt the need to ask the attentive waitress for her recommendation. We opted for the goose liver in berry sauce and the cold roast beef as starters. I chose the latter at the recommendation of an eluna review but was not overly impressed; the liver was fabulous however and I will be happy to try other starters including chicken liver pate, beef carpaccio, grilled eggplant with Techina and other goose liver dishes on future visits.

After much deliberation we chose the confit leg of goose and the veal rib steak for our main courses. The veal was the best piece of meat I've had the pleasure to enjoy for quite some while being tender and juicy and cooked to perfection. Although I'm not a big fan of goose, the confit was very moist and tasty. Both dishes were served with green beans and a choice of chips, baked or mashed potatos. The chips were excellent - thick cut and crisp. For the next time, the chicken, either in green curry sauce or tandoori are top of my list. The menu also includes several fish dishes and I even spotted a vegetarian option.

If you still have room for dessert then the hot chocolate cake, served in a clay plant pot together with a refreshing scoop of sorbet is highly recommended. Parve profiteroles are generally bad news but by substituting halva mousse for cream, Lugar are really on to a winner, particularly as the serving was more than enough for two.

Starters run from NIS 38 - 55, main courses NIS 48 - 85 and desserts come in at around the NIS 30 mark. Not inexpensive but certainly competitive with other meat restaraunts. The 10% discount voucher from eluna makes it a little less expensive.

With excellent, attentive service and a wonderful ambience, Lugar is certainly one to check out. Although we didn't make reservations, as people catch on they will be necessary - 02-622-1616.

I'm off to write a nasty letter to the Manager of the David Citadel....


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