An Evening At The Waldorf Astoria In Jerusalem

Chef Itzik Barak and Chef JJ Taste of Waldorf Astoria | © SARKA BABICKA
Chef Itzik Barak and Chef JJ Taste of Waldorf Astoria | © SARKA BABICKA
Photo of Yehudah Jacobs
24 November 2016

When you think of luxury, one of the hotels that comes to mind is the Waldorf Astoria. The renowned Waldorf Astoria in New York has a timeless reputation for creating world-renowned culinary masterpieces such as eggs Benedict, red velvet cake and the ‘Waldorf Salad,’ which bears the name of the brand. The brand has 28 locations worldwide, but the Jerusalem location has an edge on all the others. It was rated the number one hotel in the Middle East and number seven in the world, some feat, especially for a hotel that has been open for only a few years.

Chef Itzik Barak and Chef JJ Taste of Waldorf Astoria | © SARKA BABICKA

The Chef

One of the reasons behind the hotel’s success is Chef Itzik Mizrachi Barak. Chef Itzik is down to earth and thoroughly passionate about the food he creates. This is evident in the presentation of the food on each plate he sends out of his kitchen. He loves using local produce that is seasonal as well as playing with various textures. Chef Itzik caught the eyes of the executives at the Waldorf management and was chosen as one of five other chefs to present a special dish at the Taste of Waldorf Astoria competition finale.

The Seven Species Dish representing Jerusalem in the contest @SARKA BABIKA

The Signature Dish

The signature dish was developed together with Chef JJ Johnson of the James Beard Foundation and is called the ‘Seven Species.’ The dish is named after the seven species the land of Israel was blessed with in the Bible. Working together, the two chefs composed a masterpiece of a dish, which can be experienced at the Palace Restaurant in the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem. The dish is composed of a fillet of sea bream, bulgur salad, tahini sauce, pomegranate and many more intricate touches; it’s a beautiful dish and one of the many dishes the restaurant offers that is exceptionally delicious.

The Sois-Vied Salmon with Salmon Tartar

The Dining Experience: A Tasting Menu

Going to the Waldorf and enjoying the food at the Palace Restaurant is a unique experience. The wine list is one of the largest offered in Israel, and the service is impeccable; it is truly fine dining at its best.

The Striped Seas bass @Yehudah Jcobs

The chef starts it all off with two fish appetizers accompanied with an olive-infused loaf of bread. The first starter is a sous-vide salmon confit with a side of salmon tartar rolled in thinly sliced cucumbers. The kicker for this dish is its modern presentation. The fish comes in a glass full of smoke, infused into the salmon, making it moist and full of flavor. The next dish was a striped bass cooked over a charcoal grill with an artichoke foam and a white wine reduction. Again, another beautiful dish, every dish is presented like a piece of art. The flavor of the fish was so succulent and full of flavor. The reduction was a beautiful complement to the fish and coated the winter vegetables that accompanied the dish.

The Chicken Breast with a Beet Foam and Charred Beet @Yehudah Jacobs

After two amazing fish starters comes the meat course of the dinner. The first one is a chicken breast served with a grilled beet, beet foam and pea sprout decoration. The chicken is juicy, and the foam with the charred beet serves as a wonderful side to the chicken.

The Hanger Steak on a bed of Bulgar Rissoto @ Dena Wimpfheimer

The next dish to try is the hanger steak cooked to a perfect medium-rare on a bed of mushroom bulgur, cooked like a risotto with an artichoke foam and a side of baby bok choy. This dish is a treat; perfection on the plate. The other meat dish is seared duck breast on a bed of a duo of potatoes and sweet potatoes glazed with an orange reduction; a modern take on duck a l’orange. The duck is succulent, full of flavor, and the mashed potato duo is ideal to accompany it.

The Seared Duck Breast | © Yehudah Jacobs

The dessert is a chocolate lover’s heaven that comes in different shapes and textures with a mango sorbet; a sweet tooth delight that topped off an unbelievable culinary experience.

A Chocolate Haven @Yehudah Jacobs

To treat yourself to a wonderful fine-dining experience, the Palace at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem is one of a kind.

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