Besh they know meat. The meat is processed on site and then grilled
over coals. Enjoy lamb chops, steak, entricote steak, and skewered meat."
no secret that Kosher food lovers, or even Kosher folks who just don't
want to starve, have some difficulty when they range to the far north
of the country in the Upper Galilee area around Kiryat Shmoneh. For
a while there was a fine Chinese place, much later an El Gaucho (still
there but no longer Kosher), and more recently a branch of Nathan's,
but these, along with a couple of nameless joints with more cats than
people, are no longer options. It's true that there are some kibbutz
hotels with kosher dining rooms but they cater mostly to their hotel
guests and the food is predictably unimaginative.
So what's a family
to do? Do not despair - Esh Besh is there!
From its location in an industrial area next to a gas station, and its
external appearance surrounded by less than modern storefronts, you
wouldn't expect much, but if you're bold enough to try it, you won't
be disappointed. You enter into a rather large room, with solid ranch
style tables and designer wrought iron chairs with "Esh Besh" cut out
of the back of each. There is plenty of room between tables and the
overall atmosphere is relaxing, so you feel you've come to the right
place, especially if you've been wandering around town looking for anything
at all that is Kosher and presentable.
On the evening my
companion and I (I've always dreamed of saying that) were there, about
half the room was set up for a party. We managed to finish most of our
meal before it started, but we were there long enough to notice that
the small but efficient staff were able to serve all of us with relative
ease and with courtesy well above average as compared with that generally
found in restaurants in Israel's larger cities.
As its name implies,
Esh Besh specializes in grilled meats with the usual token fish dishes
for those who insist. We started with a "spiced plate" that included
"cigars" and Kubbeh (NIS 30). Everything was superb, especially the
kubbeh, probably the best I've ever eaten. Along with that we had a
really good fresh vegetable salad, too large for the two of us to finish.
For our main dishes
we chose lamb chops (NIS 63 for 350 grams) and an entrecote steak (also
NIS 63 for 350g. or NIS 72 for 500 g.). Both were excellent. The chops
were spiced to perfection, and the steak was grilled precisely to order
and came with about five condiments and sauces to choose from. The French
fries were good and plentiful. Wine was priced reasonably, so we ordered
a half bottle from the adequate (but not outstanding) list.
Other items on the
menu include large skewers ("swords") of chicken or steak, veal chops,
goose liver, fillet steak, and, of course, the usual assortment of soft
drinks and desserts.
Just in case you
haven't yet noticed, it should be mentioned that Esh Besh is not one
of your normal shwarma/skewer and soggy "chips" places; it is a first
class steak and chops house, and the prices are reasonable for that
type of establishment. If your budget is limited, order one or two main
courses and share them. That's what the family at the adjacent table
seemed to be doing, and they looked very satisfied.
The $64,000 question,
of course, is would Noah have been a righteous person even in Abraham's
generation? (Actually, their lifetimes did overlap). Or, would Esh Besh
make it in New York and not just in Peoria? The answer is a resounding
yes. If you're anywhere near Kiryat Shmoneh, give it a try.