Sunday, October 16, 2011

Philly Eats: Zahav...Great Israeli Food with the Best Lamb Dish I've Had!

Zahav is my favorite restaurant in Philly.  The restaurant focuses on modernizing Israeli food, that is served tapas style, except for the centerpiece...the phenomenal roasted whole lamb shoulder as part of the tasting menu ($45 a person).    We went as a group of four...and while you still get a lamb shoulder, with more people you get a bigger roast and even more appetizers.

As part of any tasting menu you get a selection of 8 daily salads/pickles, including cucumber salad, baba ganoush, pickled celery, pickled beets, etc.

You also get a side of pickles as well as seasonings to use with your chilies, harissa (also spicy), and zaatar (a seasoning mix with cumin). 

We also received the laffa with hummus...the texture of the hummus was so velvety!

Next came the tomato soup...not sure what herbs were used but it tasted smoky and delicious!

Their fried cauliflower dish with a mint and dill sauce was fried and seasoned well...crisp but just melts in
your mouth.

The heirloom tomato salad was just ok...the sauce was somewhat interesting but a fairly straightforward

The grape leaves salad was delicious the grape leaves just melts in your mouth
It's stuffed with barley and served with oyster mushrooms and vegetables.  

Another winner was the grilled haloumi cheese with peaches, corn, and almonds.  One of the best 
small plates of the night.

Here is a smoked sable dish served on top of toast with an egg yolk inside.  The flavors were excellent 
but I wish the yolk was a little more runny.

We also received yet another salad...the watermelon/feta combo is now getting to be classic combo since I've seen in in more and more places but for good's good!

We also got to choose a selection of two grilled items...first was the roasted duck kebabs with
foie gras and pistachios.  This was OK, but it was hard to taste the foie and pistachios.

The grilled sea bream with beans and a spicy tomato ragout was cooked 
and seasoned well.

After that, it was time for the main even...the whole roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate, chick peas, and 
served on top of rice.  OH MY GOD!  Right from the first bite of lamb...this so far is the best thing I've eaten this year and the best lamb dish I've ever had.  The lamb is so fatty, juicy, and flavorful.  The outside of the shoulder is crispy while the inside remains succulent.  This dish alone is worth going back to Philly for!

Here's a closeup of a piece of the lamb on my can see how juicy it looks! 

We then received a selection of four desserts...first was a rugelah with a yummy apricot
sorbet on top of caramelized apricot.

Next up is the halvah mouse (on the right) with chickpea praline.  On the left is a caramel semifredo with pistachio cookie...The halvah mouse was my favorite dessert but both were good!

This is the kataifi with Valrhona chocolate, labaneh ice cream, and mango...also delicious!

For $45 a person it may seem like a lot, but the food was amazing (Oh the lamb!) and all in all it was a great dining experience from start to end.  

Zahav (reservations suggested)
237 St James Pl
PhiladelphiaPA 19106
(215) 625-8800

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