Friday, August 26, 2016

Uri Buri in Akko, Israel is really one of the best dining experiences around (8-22-16)

About a half a year ago the Washington Post had a full page spread on Chef Uri Jeremias and his restaurant located on the Mediterranean in the Crusader town of Akko called Uri Buri. I had also heard a lot about this amazing chef from any other chefs in the United States and all around who rave about his amazing capabilities and boy everybody was correct.
We decided to have lunch here as we were not staying in town but arrived around 2 p.m. for a late lunch so we could pretty much fill up for the rest of the day. It was a bit disconcerting at first since nobody seemed to notice us, but within minutes our waiter Almog, came over and said he would be with us in a second. The setting is across the street from the Mediterranean, which you can see if you sit outside (in the 90 degree heat) which I am sure is amazing on a cooler day, and inside is about as basic as it gets.
Almog tried to get us to order a tasting menu, but we were not that hungry so we ordered a la carte. Within minutes Chef Uri himself arrived saying he was sending this and that and please don't worry about anything.
I ordered a half bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and was sad that they were out of it and settled for a Gamla Chardonnay which was very nice.
First to arrive with small pieces of watermelon that was sun-dried and stuffed with cheese. It had a dried meat and nut cheesy taste with a crunchy chew that was pretty much indescribable but sure tasted good.
I don't think I've ever had a Ceviche of Mediterranean Jackfish and this was truly a revelation that I don't think I could even recreate if I tried to. I think one of our favorite dishes was the third thing to come: caramelized tilapia which locally is called St. Peter's fish from the Sea of Galilee was served with beets. I have never been a huge fan of tilapia but the way this was prepared was amazing, the caramelization of the skin was beyond belief and made it truly one of the best fishes we have had on this trip.
You could probably never give me enough Sushi or sashimi and I have to say that Salmon Sashimi with a little bit of soy sauce doesn't sound very exciting, but all you need to do is put a cold scoop of Wasabi sorbet on top of it and you have truly one of the most amazing dishes ever created. The Wasabi was not that spicy and you needed about a half a teaspoon with each little bite of salmon to get just the right combination and Chef Uri was right there to make sure we did it exactly correct. Indeed he was constantly visiting the table to make sure we were happy even though we really hadn't ordered any of these dishes.
I did order the raw shrimp and have to say it was a brilliantly simple preparation of some shrimp sliced super thin with some jalapeno chilies and lemon on top. Yes it sounds simple and yes it was brilliant.
Next came small espresso cups of seafood soup with coconut milk made with basil and ginger and loaded with shrimp, crab and calamari. Our guide Amir was with us and he doesn't eat any fish or shellfish at all due to allergies so Chef brought out for him a mushroom version of the same.
I had ordered the artichoke shrimp for my main course which comes in a tumeric butter lemon sauce and is served with black rice noodles. It sounded amazing but on the plate it was even more unbelievable in a creamy and Rich lemon butter sauce with amazing noodles that you would have thought were made from something like squid ink, but Chef explained they were simply black rice formed into noodles.
Many of these courses are available to be seen on my Facebook page and you really have to look at them, while they're not magnificently gorgeous the simplicity and love that went into them really showed on the plate and in your mouth.

Scallops arrived next in a cream, ginger and white wine sauce with seaweed. There were huge sea scallops but what was amazing about this dish was the seaweed which chef called sea lettuce and was truly a local delicacy like I have never had before. I love seaweed but I doubt I'll ever be able to find anything like this at home for cooking.

Well since we had each ordered only two courses, this is been quite a surprise and we insisted we were full at this time as Chef Uri and repeatedly came out and asked us if we wanted anymore. He insisted we try his superb delicious spicy cardamom ice cream and then we left very full knowing that we would not be eating a very big dinner that night. 
It was indeed a supreme pleasure to meet Chef Uri, enjoy the thrilling tastes of his food and truly have a special experience to take home of Uri Buri.