Zahav, Philadelphia

So, it’s only been about six months since I had my amazing experience at Zahav for restaurant week in Philadelphia.  At first, I was avoiding writing this post because I knew it would just make me want to go back.  Then, when I went to write about it, I realized the only picture I forgot to take was of the most outrageous thing we ordered (you’ll find out soon what that was)… BOO!  But as my monthly dinner with my girlfriends is coming up this week, I decided that it’s been way too long and I just couldn’t keep this one from you any longer.

Let me tell you a little bit about Zahav… it is a beautiful modern Israel restaurant located in Society Hill in Philadelphia.  The chef and owner Michael Solomonov was born in Israel, raised in Pittsburgh, and learned how to cook back in Israel.  He really brings something special to the Philly restaurant scene.

I went to Zahav for restaurant week which was a great idea.  When I go out with my girlfriends, we try to order as many things as possible and share everything.  It’s always so much fun.  Since Zahav is pretty expensive, going for restaurant week was the perfect thing for us to do- we EACH got to pick two starters, one main dish, and one dessert.

In addition to the menu that we got to choose from, Zahav provided us with Salatim (SEVEN different salads), Hummus, and Fresh Laffa.  The laffa is similar to flat bread or Naan but is lighter, fluffier, and pretty much the most delicious thing ever.  I have been craving Laffa bread since discovering it in Israel, and Zahav totally gets it right.  I’d come back to Zahav just to get this part of the meal.  Everything was so good.

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We also ordered a pitcher of their signature drink, Lemonnana which also reminded me of Israel.  The drink was refreshing and sweet- Jim Beam, Muddled Mint, Fresh Lemon, and Verbena.

After some serious decision making and friendly debate, we picked out our order.  Now, you wouldn’t normally have debate when ordering food, right?  Well this debate was over a very interesting item on the menu:  Grilled Duck Hearts.  Before you click away in disgust… remember I mentioned that I messed up and forgot to photograph the most interesting thing we ordered!  The Duck Hearts (prepared with Date Tehina, Crispy Onions, and Stone Fruit).  It doesn’t get more interesting than that.  Ricki convinced Mer and I to try them, and we finally gave in.  We did try them, but I honestly did not like them at all!  Our bravery was rewarded though, with several other amazing dishes that we had shared.  Try not to drool!

Crispy Haloumi
Dates, walnuts, apple

Fried Cauliflower
Labaneh with chive, dill, mint and garlic

Marinated Brussel Sprouts
Whipped feta, babaganoush, sumac

Beef Cheek Pastilla
Braised greens, coffee

Ground beef and lamb, cumin, peppers, carrots

Hanger Steak
Eggplant two ways, sesame, pine nuts

Ground lamb, figs, shallots, cilantro

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Everything was amazing.  I especially enjoyed the Haloumi and will now be on the lookout for this cheese at other restaurants too.  

As if all of these dishes weren’t enough (We were STUFFED at this point), we each got to pick a dessert.  Ricki, who has been to Zahav several times, had been absolutely raving about the Halvah Mousse, so we ordered that along with the Konafi and Rugelach.  All three were outstanding.  Totally worth the calories, and worth the trip… for sure.  And Ricki was right, the Halvah Mousse was the star. 

Halvah Mousse
Chickpea praline, berries

Ricotta, apples, labaneh ice cream

Hazelnut praline, date puree

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I was right about something too…  I am now having some serious cravings for Zahav.  I knew this would happen!  

Zahav actually offers the same type of menu on a daily basis, for $39pp… so you can do this too even though it’s not restaurant week!  Hint, hint… boyfriend.