Saturday night, Rothschild Boulevards, Omer and I having a long walk around the streets nearby. “What is this place?” I stop in front of a little place in Nachalat Binyamin. It appeared to be a mysterious cool restaurant named “44”. Closed on Saturdays unfortunately. The following week we came back to 44. We found out that it’s a new eclectic restaurant trying to bring together Vietnamese, Italian, French, Thai and then some other cuisines all together. I love Asian cuisine and the lack of real Asian restaurants in Israel kept my expectations of this place high.
I loved the concept and the atmosphere of the place. Small inside space with a semi-open kitchen, bigger outside space which is not overly worked on or decorated. Simple, warm, inviting. I really liked it.
The atmosphere was perfect: un-pretentious laid back feeling. The concept was promising: small restaurant, changing daily menu, Asian influences, neighborhood kind of place. Now the only thing left to explore was the quality of the food served. We ordered with caution, crossing our fingers that the dishes we’ll get would meet our total positive impression of the place.
Now for the food:
At that point we were still a bit hungry and weren’t sure what to get next. The Pho, Vietnamese soup, in my opinion should be eaten as a meal of itself like a light lunch sometimes. We thought of taking the Bahn Mi but as well it seemed like a sandwich snack more than a restaurant dish and the waiter didn’t recommend it. So we went for the Italian side of the kitchen and took the gnocchi and fish main courses, both in a medium size instead of the big size dish.The bill was higher than expected and reached a bit over 400 NIS for the two of us. The reason was that the two glasses of wine were marked as 54 NIS – almost as much as the whole bottle costs but we were not warned about it. A bit annoying but partly our fault for not asking to elaborate on the prices which weren’t written in the wine list.
Also I noticed that this isn’t a fusion restaurant, the matching between the Italian and Asian isn’t really there. placing two things at the same plate doesn’t automatically make it a fusion. We enjoyed the Italian dish the best but also liked some of the Asian parts of the meal.
Overall – we had a great evening, the atmosphere was charming, the service was smiley and welcoming but not too much. The food was not amazing, especially if you consider the high prices of some dishes(66 for the fish cakes, 45 for the tartar and 54 for a glass of nice wine..). When we left I was a bit confused but still think they have a great potential to be a fun place to sit for an unusual meal sometimes.