Fringe is a restaurant for people who appreciate fine dining. From the presentation of the food to the combination of flavors, the professional service and the relaxed atmosphere, this is a quality dining experience. The menu is dairy fish, high end but not over the top. Alongside the rich menu, enjoy fine wine and unique cocktails.
Fringe is a farm-to-table restaurant using locally sourced ingredients, mostly from Jerusalem. The fish is sourced from
Israel's long coastline. The cheese from local dairies and the fruit and vegetables are all grown on the lands around Jerusalem. Wines are almost all Israeli. The name Fringe was selected because it is located on the fringe of the Jerusalem Theater lobby. As you enter the theater look left, and there it is.
Fringe is a chef restaurant with Nir Levi at the helm. In my eLuna travels I have met many well-known chefs but I would be hard pressed to find a more congenial chef than Nir Levi. A native Yerushalmi and a great Jerusalem chauvinist, to date Chef Levi has established several restaurants in Jerusalem under the umbrella Talbiyeh Culinary and Hospitality Group. Fringe is his first kosher restaurant. He and his staff are enjoying their new found community.
The culinary style is Middle Eastern with a nod to the Greek and Turkish kitchens. Many of the dishes are baked in the restaurant's hotter-than-hot Tabun oven. The menu opens with two types of starters: "light bites" and "from the sea." Then there are main dishes and also a separate cocktails menu.
There are two strategies for dining at Fringe Restaurant. If you like to taste a variety of different dishes you can make a full and varied tasting meal of Light Bites and choices From the Sea. These dishes range in size and most can be shared by two diners comfortably. Alternatively, you can go traditional and do the single starter for two, and a main course for each diner.
On our visit to Fringe Restaurant, we chose a selection of the restaurant's starters and dishes From The Sea. This gave us an introduction to the chef's virtuosity. Afterward we shared one main course.
We started with a basket of bread and three unique spreads including one called schug butter, which is not as spicy as it sounds. (Schug is usually a spicy middle Eastern spread.) Then we went on to the tastings.
I may not recall every flavor but I do recall that everything that came to our table was beautifully presented and delicious.
The Light Bites signature dish is the very tasty Grilled Shoshka peppers with homemade labane balls. This is a colorful dish and a crowd pleaser. My favorite, hands down, was the Fish confit with tzatziki and olive oil (shown above). This was reminiscent of American white fish, but with the Fringe flare. Another fine starter was the Phyllo pastry with Swiss chard (mangold) fenugreek and Dotan cheese filling. (shown above). Mangold has a distinct flavor that is an acquired taste.
Fish that is well prepared is a delight and the folks at Fringe do it well. My favorite was the Red Mullet (Barbounia). These are bite-size fish, crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. There were two pieces of fish in this course, and i have to admit that sharing it with my dining companion was a sacrifice. My companion was smitten by the Pickled Sardines with fresh oregano charred scallions and pan con tomato.
I am not sure that I should admit this, but after all those amazing starters there was no need for a main course. The restaurant suggested the Sofrito main dish, a slow-cooked vegetable dish of Jerusalem artichokes in a sofrito sauce (a Mediterranean sauce based on slow cooked vegetables) with a poached egg, all covered with a roasted eggplant mousse. This dish had a mild flavor with a vegetarian character, that contrasted with the poached egg.
You can measure the success of a restaurant by the attitude of the staff. One of the very special things about Fringe is its team spirit. Whereas most restaurants are a staff of hired individuals, Fringe is a team, working together for years, all part of the Talbiya Group. There is a great deal of harmony between staff members.At Fringe the waiters were familiar with the dishes and could explain them in detail. They presented the dishes at the table with pride. I love it when the waiter asks us which dish we liked best, and gives his opinion as well. This made our visit to Fringe a culinary experience and not just a dinner for two.
Note that a second restaurant, The Talbiye Patisserie, is located on the second floor above the restaurant. The Patisserie supplies desserts to all the restaurants in the Talbiye group.