Restaurant Week Review: Zahav

Over the weekend Jim and I went to dinner with friends.

We went to Zahav for Philadelphia’s Restaurant Week. This is a modern Israeli/Middle Eastern eatery located in the Society Hill section of Philadelphia, not too far from the historic district. The atmosphere is inviting and casually elegant. They serve both lunch and dinner.

237 St. James Place
Philadelphia, PA 19106

(215) 625-8800

I’d heard the place had a great happy hour menu, however we went later at night to enjoy a fun evening and the 5 course menu.

For a starter we were served Salatim (a selection of salads presented on a towering stand) and a platter of Hummus with their house-based laffa flatbread. The salads made it easy for a group to share and pass around. I tried to taste the many different ones. I skipped on a few, knowing I didn’t like the ingredients, but tasted most– and really liked a few… including a cucumber medley, squash risotto, and parsley with pomegranate.

Next the Mezze— They offered 10 choices, and for Restaurant week dinner you chose 2. Jim and I tried to pick different ones so that we could share. We both loved the Crispy Haloumi (sheep’s milk cheese that is either grilled or fried). We both got the Fried Cauliflower. It was very good and we both liked the veggie friend up. Although Jim didn’t like how it was plated, I loved the mix of chives, dill, mint and garlic. It was a nice blend/sauce to dip the veggie in. Then I also ordered the Oxtail Soup. It was a nice blend of spices in the beef broth, and included potato balls.

Entrée/Al Ha’esh = On the Fire– you picked one per person. Since Zahav presents itself as Vegan and Vegetarian friendly spot, there was both meat and veggie entrées offered. One of our friends is a Vegetarian (really a Pescitarian since she eats seafood) and really liked the Spiced Eggplant entrée that night. It was served with couscous and mushrooms. Our other friend had the Braised Beef and said it was excellent. Jim and I each got something but then ended up splitting them between us. First the Ground Lamb with turnips and then the Chicken Confit with couscous and carrots. Jim liked the taste of the lamb but not the texture since it was ground and cooked like a sausage. I liked it a lot and finished it off. The chicken was cooked perfectly but wasn’t anything special.

And for Dessert— Everyone but me ordered the Almond Semifreddo (a yummy ice cream like chocolate crisp). They all raved about it and said it was one of their favorite parts of the night. I had the Hazelnut and Date Rugelach. I loved it and wasn’t surprised how yummy. I always like a good rugelach. At Zahav they added a nice twist to an Israeli classic, by serving it with a warm milk and fruit sorbet.

All and all it was a great night out with friends. Great food and drinks. Speaking of drinks… they had an extensive beverage menu including both domestic and international wines. So maybe our next trip back will be for the happy hour I’ve heard so much about. Maybe just some mezze favorites and some hummus of course! And dont’ forget the wine!

Conclusion: Wine and dine done right!

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