I’ve gone on and on, on how a culture’s cuisine reveals that people’s history and ethos. Israel, in particular, has been a major focus on my study- the foods which are found throughout the land represent the Jewish diaspora that has come home, religion, innovation and the land.
Traveling to eat is nothing new to my adventure agenda. The culinary aspects of travel are often, for me, some of the most enjoyable and those experiences, the times I get to really understand a society literally, from the belly up. This time, my search for a bite of culture kept me close to home, just two hours away in founding city Philadelphia.
Nestled inside history Society Hill, chef Michael Solomonov brings the flavors of his birthplace, Israel, to his adopted home. Solomonov’s restaurant Zahav is a bona fide trip to the Middle East. Zahav means gold and the name of the restaurant is in reference to Jerusalem and the city’s golden hills. The flavors that dance their way across the various plates allow guests to sample the flavors of Eastern Europe, North Africa to Persia, the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean, exemplifying the cultural crossroads that Israel is today.
It seemed fitting that on President’s Day weekend, I would drag my friends to our nations founding city to enjoy the various flavors of my heritage. The menu at Zahav is designed for people to sample; to share a number of plates and taste the whole of new Israeli cuisine. Two tasting menus take the journey to another level. Clearly, we’d go the tasting menu route and choose the largest one on hand to boot.
Dubbed mesibah, which translated literally into “party”, we new from the start we were in for a gastronomic treat. And treated we were to a meal of a lifetime: a trip across the world in two hours and through multiple plates.
Zahav, 237 St. James Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 215 625 8800, Sun-Thurs 5-10PM, Fri & Sat 5-11 PM