An Israeli style cafe in the heart of Silverlake: Mh Zh, LA

An Israeli style cafe in the heart of Silverlake?? What the? Let me tell you, this is a gem worth queuing up for. In August I was reading an article on the ‘2017 best restaurants in LA’, yes they acknowledged that it was early to call it 🙂 On the list was Mh Zh which I think is a shortening of an Israeli phrase mah zeh which loosely translates to ‘what is it”. Well let me tell you what it is, it’s an amazing celebration of food in a casual setting.

They are definitely hitting up the hipster market with their oddities:
* menus written on paper bags

* websites and phone numbers that don’t work
* mis-matched furniture on the sidewalk
* eclectic but beautifully polite staff offering blessings and asking for pardon in situation that no normal person asks (like when you fill your own glass)
* no reservation policy which means queuing up the sidewalk 
* literally nothing (exept water) other than the menu, no tea, coffee, wine etc). Please note that I was informed on my visit “these things are coming”, on the right night they may turn a blind eye to you bringing your own (wink wink, nudge nudge) 😜

But mock all you will, these things create a sensational evening. Our initial waitress let us in on the trick for first time visitors: a group of 4 can order the entire menu and it will cost about $125 (plus tip, everything in America is plus plus). So, guess what I was pushing for 😆🐷 There was an initial discussion of ‘what dish would we not get if we weren’t getting the whole thing’ but basically that all got vetoed. One of my favourite moments was when Papa Brown said he’d get rid of the steak knowing it was the first thing Al would veto: clever man. 

So from the entire menu 😃 these were my favourites– bearing in mind, there was nothing I didn’t like:
– Labneh & zataar with bread. Its light and delicious. Arguably if you are getting the whole menu it’s unnecessary, but I liked it.

– House salad; Even Al, the self proclaimed meat-a-tarian enjoyed this salad. I think it brings a good freshness to everything you are eating while still holding it’s own.

-potato with charred lemon: I only had a teeny taste of this but yumbo jumbo. Beautful crispy charcoal cooked spuds with fluffy soft insides. Everything on this menu except the bread is gluten free, so these spuds can be good for your GF buddies (like Mama Brown) to dip into all the yummies. For the rest of us, the bread is divine.

– cabbage: after a statement from Mama Brown that there is only 1 cabbage she likes our waitress assured her this would be the 2nd. It’s a braised cabbage and my god it is amazing. I have never been a cabbage fan before but itwas almost  meaty in it’s flavour. Get it! Do not be put off by the word cabbage. Afterwards Mama Brown stated that this cabbage was now ‘number 1’. Now that’s an endorsement.
– lamb ragoo: this may be up there with my fav dish of the menu. When they say ragoo do not think Italian ragu. It is nothing like it. As you know, I am not a lamb fan, but it combines with the spices so well it is phenomenal.
– bone in rib eye: the most expensive dish on the menu and one you may be tempted to miss, but don’t do it! My god, this meat is so soft and flavoursome. When you taste it you will agree they could get away with charging 3x the price and you would still feel like it was a good deal
– heirloom tomatoes: this was on the specials for the night. We have become obsessed with the heirloom tomato. Papa Brown had picked it at EP & LP the night before (it was amazing) so we went for it again. Nothing like the EP one but that is no surprise (Asian v Israeli) but both were great in their own right.

What a table of food you can see below! That’s wasn’t even all of it!!!

Ah crap, I’ve pretty much listed every dish when I said I was saying my favs! The others were great too: Ilove hummus and the beets were so sweet they were like a dessert.

I have to say, I love it when you can order a whole menu. We had some left overs but not massive amounts, and in true LA style we were able to take them home. So in summary, yes it may be early for a review to call best restaurants of the year, but after tasting Mh Zh I can see why they would make the cut.

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