“Cold hummus is not acceptable.”
Last week I wrote a swooning review of Zahav restaurant in Philly's Society Hill neighborhood, the brilliant invention of Michael Solomonov, one of the most creative chefs of his generation. Eating at Zahav was supposed to be just one of many stops on a tour of Jewish sites of the city. Philadelphia has a rich Jewish history, dating back to Colonial times, and I'd hoped to explore more of it.
Like many of the new top chefs in Israel, Michael Solomonov has abandoned the notion of a regional Middle Eastern cuisine -- based on a mash-up of Sephardic and Arab cultures, so beautifully captured by Yotam Ottolenghi in his seminal cookbook, Jerusalem. Instead, he is exploring and experimenting with a multitude of ethnic influences.
Was it all a dream -- nine American chefs working harmoniously in a small kitchen in Tel Aviv, creating a carefully crafted dinner?