Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Where everybody knows your name" #5: La Boca!

Yom shlishi, 15 Sivan 5775, 30th wedding anniversary to the Dearly Beloved!

8 Shlomzion Hamalka 02-5635577
Regular readers of this blog know that it's not enough for the food to be good -- though that is certainly a factor in making the WEKYN column. At least as important as good food and decent prices is amazing service. All of the above are available at this wonderful restaurant in the South American style.

After he got out of the army, Guy Kimhi did what most Israeli youth do: he traveled to another country before planning to settle down. Guy's choice was to follow family roots going back generations, and explore South America. He was fascinated with the food; and to make a long story short, he brought back recipes and skills, and opened his own restaurant. When Guy begins to speak about the subject, it is clear that he is still in love with South American food and culture, and strives to present both as beautifully as possible.

The Dearly Beloved and I have been frequenting La Boca for some time, always happy with the delicious and subtle dance of flavors, the generous portions, and the over-the-top excellent service. Indeed, even though we are not big spenders, Guy treats us as if we are. I am certain that our first meeting with a pair of our mechutanim was successful in large part due to Guy's and his wait staff's courteous treatment of us and our guests.

La Boca recently moved from its old home on Emek Refaim to a new location on Shlomzion Hamalka in downtown Jerusalem. It is an easy walk from the light rail, in an increasingly interesting neighborhood (as more and more fine dining establishments make it their home).

We always enjoy the business lunch, which includes tapas (small and very tasty salads) and bread, an appetizer and a main dish. The delicious food is always beautifully plated, truly works of art as well as a symphony for the tastebuds!

I tend toward the spicy and pickled flavors, and the Dearly Beloved enjoys interesting mixtures of milder flavors. There is always something for both of us in the choice of tapas salads, meant for dipping, but quite tasty even if you're avoiding bread.

I tried something different recently, the Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio. It was delicate and interesting, really delicious.

The Dearly Beloved preferred to stick with our favorite, the Chicken Enchilada, stuffed with chicken and vegetables, and served in an elegant deep-fried wrap. The peanut topping and salad of market-fresh lettuces and sprouts make this a meal by itself -- and this is only an appetizer!

Our main-dish choices were also very satisfying and beautiful. The Dearly Beloved, again sticking to our usual tradition, chose the Spring Chicken prepared with coconut milk and Brazilian salsa. He often substitutes the mashed potatoes with his favorite roasted potatoes, but found that he also enjoyed the mashed potatoes, as they were clearly fresh and full-flavored, with a lovely texture. Always eager to make his guests comfortable, Guy never seems troubled by such substitutions. The accompanying roasted vegetables are always different, interesting and delicious.

I decided to try the Fajita La Boca. I usually avoid bread; but this time I enjoyed the wraps. (You have to splurge once in a while!) They were delicate and soft, yet strong enough to hold the tasty and sophisticated filling of tender chicken and sauteed vegetables seasoned with coriander. The pesto and chunky tehina were perfect accompaniments.

There are so many choices at La Boca to satisfy every palate! From steak to at least a couple of choices for vegetarians, it is possible to satisfy a variety of preferences. There is also a well-stocked bar and wine list -- and while we almost never have room for dessert, there are a number of varied choices to satisfy the sweet-tooth as well.

The new location at Shlomzion Hamalka 8 is on the ground floor (as opposed to the former location, up a long flight of stairs), so is wheelchair-accessible. The kashrut is Rabbanut Yerushalayim.

There is a room upstairs for parties of up to 120 guests.

La Boca is the place, in our opinion, to celebrate a joyful occasion, whether your celebrants include a large party or only a couple.

In fact, we'll be going later today to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary -- and we can't imagine a better place to spend such an important event!

"Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came..."  
-- from the "Cheers" theme, by Judy Hart Angelo and Gary Portnoy