Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Best Lamb of Our Lives: Zahav

When we're traveling, I like to try things that I can't get at home.  Mrs. Beagle and Laptop both recommended that we go to Zahav for our anniversary dinner in Philadelphia.  I was sold as soon as I learned it was an Israeli restaurant.  I think this may have been my first full Israeli meal ever, and I'm not aware of anything comparable in Los Angeles right now.  Readers, are you?
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It is dark at Zahav.  Really, really, really dark.  It was so dark that we requested an ever-so-slightly better lit table in a feeble attempt to aid my photography.

We chose to do the Mesibah, described as a "party time" menu with "limited availability."  It is apparently "the ultimate Zahav experience."  For just $48 per person, you get "a full tour of the menu" below.

Salatim -- a selection of salads.
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It's like banchan, Israeli-style!  Well, except there weren't unlimited refills by Korean ladies.

Hummus with laffa.
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Outstanding hummus.  I could eat it by the spoonful.

Amuse bouche.
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A bacon-like bite with hot mustard.  Yum.

Crispy haloumi, peach-amba puree, local corn, almonds.
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Fried cheese!  Yes, please!

Fried cauliflower, labaneh with chive, dill, mint, and garlic.
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This is how you make veggies tasty.

Roasted zucchini, Kashkaval cheese, hazelnuts, anchovy.
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No, really, they don't mess around when it comes to vegetables here.  Fabulous.

Whole-roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate and chickpeas over crispy Persian rice.
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While our meal at Graffiato was my favorite meal of the weekend, my favorite singular dish of the weekend was this one.  It completely blew us away.  It was the best lamb of our lives.

People.  People!  Did you read that?  The! Best! Lamb! Of! Our! Lives!

And it was gigantic.  We felt like we ate our own weight in delectable, crisp, tender, juicy lamb, and yet there was still at least half of a humongous mountain left on the plate.  Not to mention, the bed of crispy rice was crazy good, too.  I wish I could've hauled the remains all the way back to Los Angeles.  Seriously.

It was so phenomenal that we just had to ask our server how it was prepared.  First, the lamb is whole-roasted.  Second, it is grilled over coals.  Third, it is braised in pomegranate juice.  There are probably other steps, but the entire labor-intensive process takes three days.  Three days!  No wonder this lamb was so incredible!

Chocolate almond cigars, chocolate mousse, stewed cherries.
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Aww, look at the candle for our anniversary!  This was perfect for a chocolate lover (i.e., not me), but the bite I had was rich, dark, slightly tart, and lovely.

Vanilla semifreddo, pistachio cookie, strawberry, blueberry.
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Now this was perfect for me!  My favorite base ice cream flavor!  My favorite nut in cookie form!  And berries to which I'm not allergic!  Woohoo!

Zahav met and exceeded our fairly high expectations.  I will dream fondly of that lamb.  If you're ever in Philadelphia, you should make your lamb dreams come true.


  1. I've only had Israeli couscous. I need a three day lamb that's been raked over the coals and then pomengranate juice marinated. That sounds lovely.

    1. I really want to find something like this here! It was incredible!

  2. that lamb looks so good. my former cw who married into an israeli family spoke of meals like this--at relatives' houses. womp womp.


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