MINATO Japanese Chef Restaurant
Minato Japanese restaurant is tucked into a private corner in the cluster of restaurants on Hamenofim Street. Hamenofim is perpendicular to Maskit St in the Herzlia Pituach high tech park.
There is a small parking lot at the entrance to the cluster and street parking on Hamenofim in the evening. Minato sits snugly on the right as you enter the cluster, furthest from the street. There is both indoor and outdoor seating, bar seating and traditional Japanese seating on pillows.
If the name Minato sounds familiar to you, you may know the Minato dairy sushi bar in
Ceasarea. This Herzlia restaurant is also under Matan Rosenthal and Kobi Ninio's management, yet it is a much larger and more stylized restaurant with a full meat menu.
Minato specializes in delicious authentic Japanese dishes.
The restaurant is adamant about utilizing cooking techniques and methods used in Japan, Part of the skill is their ability to create pure traditional Japanese cuisine using local seasonal ingredients.
We enjoyed a delightful dinner at Minato Herzlia. Stepping into Minato restaurant is stepping into a quieter and more serene world. The muted colors, indirect lighting, and quiet atmosphere set the stage for the Oriental food ahead. The minimalist decor combined with the relaxing color scheme set this restaurant apart from the others.
The Minato Restaurant Menu
Minato is modeled after a Japanese Izakaya. Rather than ordering your entire meal up front, in an Izakaya the dishes are ordered sequentially as you finish each dish, and the meal ends when you are satiated. Each of the courses is small, and you continue to order the food and drink as desired, throughout the meal. Frequently the courses are shared between the diners at the table. Two or three small dishes will generally comprise a meal, but if you want to go for broke you can just keep ordering.
Izakaya dining starts as you would guess in Japan - with hand washing. When we sat down we were given wet towels for our hands. We got these before starting the meal, rather than after.
Till you get the hang of it, it is best to take direction from your waitress. Three dishes were brought to our table to start, and we shared all three. Harusame Salad
is an attractive mix of Harusame noodles, thinly sliced cucumbers, carrots and seaweed in a sweet and sour marinade. This is served in a soup bowl. There was more than enough in this bowl for the three of us to share. Tuna Tataki is a small plate of pan-seared tuna served with ponzu sauce (with a citrus scent), teriyaki, and spicy mayonnaise. The tuna was thinly sliced which made it convenient for sharing. Though I am not a fan of seared tuna because it always seems not well done enough, this dish was perfect. Certainly one of my favorites of the evening was the
Tempura Panko, which was 5 pieces of fish
served with a light tempura coating.
One cannot visit a sushi restaurant without ordering sushi from the open sushi bar. Out came a beautiful presentation of veggie inside outs, just the way I like them. Credit for the amazing sushi bar goes to Chef Aki Tamura of Tokyo. Aki Tamura comes from a long line of sushi chefs, and has worked in some of the top Japanese restaurants in Israel.
While I savored the sushi my dining companions shared two portions of skewered meats. These were elegant mini-skewers of Entrecote with asparagus and Entrecote with leek. Each dish included two delicate skewers where the sticks were long wooden toothpicks,
In addition to the great selection in the printed menu, specials of the day are posted on a blackboard. If you want to try just about every dish on the menu, go for their chef's special tasting menus Omakase Ume, Take, or Matsu, At this time the Omakase platters are served only at the bar.
I usually do not comment on the drinks, but drinking is an essential part of the Izakaya and are worthy of mention. The restaurant offers a variety of the usual drinks plus several Japanese drinks. We had two different beers from boutique breweries. The Butterfly Sunset - Israeli Boutique Beer
from the Dalton people and the Japanese Asahi beer, refreshing, clear and dry. Both of these beers were unusual and noteworthy.
For dessert we recommend the tapioca. This refreshing desert is made in an ice crusher with tapioca beads and pomegranate seeds. It is served at your table in a large martini glass. It is a pleasant change from high fat puddings and pastries.
You can enjoy wonderful Japanese dishes and sushi in the intimate atmosphere at Minato
restaurant or you can order Minato take-away. De;ivery is not yet available but stay tuned.
Minato is pleased to cater sushi and other Japanese dishes at your event. Call for details.