The best croque monsieur on this side of the Mediterranean. Best croque madame, if we’re being technical.
I discovered a bistro less than a ten minute walk from my house. It’s a tragedy it’s taken me this long to find it. Gilad and Daniel located at 300 Dizengoff (corner of Yehezkiel just north of Nordau) is the closest thing to a real French brasserie I have ever seen in Israel.
Here’s the story of my first meal.
I decided on a long walk this Friday morning. Tough week. Sunshiny day. Why not? I packed 3 books (you always need a selection) and headed north on Dizengoff (I usually head south). Desperately in need of some breakfast, I knew there were some trendy places north of Nordau. I didn’t expect what I found. Jeremiah is a cafe that everyone knows. It’s always full of hip people. A place to be seen. Not a place I’m comfortable with, but as I’d never been, I thought I might try it. Before I got there, I passed Gilad and Daniel. It wasn’t as crowded, and the people seated seemed a little more on the interesting side. A waitress smiled at me as I walked by. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw that the far end of the exterior wall was covered in a Renoir print — famous colorful cafe scene. Immediate u-turn.
The menu features a breakfast crepe and the croque, of course, with main dishes including an incredible saur kraut and mixed meat dish, coq au vin, boeuf bourgignon, and an incredible looking couscous tagine. Many “Israeli” dishes on the menu, as well (heck, it is Israel, after all), but these French dishes are perfect. Down to earth, simple, well done. No fancy dry brioche (a la Benedicts).
I had such a lovely time eating this croque madame, I cannot emphasize this more. The cheese was perfectly melted and creamy and rich. Mingling with the ham and the runny yolk I adore so much, I dreaded the end of the simple sandwich. So much so that I photographed the very last bite.
It was a lovely day, a perfect meal, and I sat for an hour or more with a good cup of coffee and a hilarious book, Three Men in a Boat. I highly recommend this bistro. It’s the finest eatery in my neighborhood, and despite the fact that it’s very much a small neighborhoodsy cafe, the meal I ate was more authentic and satisfying than any I have eaten along the fashionable Rothschild Blvd corridor. Yes, better. I’d put money on it.