Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda Market has no shortage of places where you can grab a falafel or shwarma to go, but the newly opened Jacko's Street, the market's first chef restaurant, brings the level of dining in the "shuk" to a new level.
The decor and ambiance of the restaurant is half the experience at Jacko's Street. From the warehouse-chic style brick walls that line the restaurant with old street signs from the city to the modern classy upbeat Israeli music (that even though you don't know the words, you try singing to), Jacko's is truly a full on warm Jerusalem experience. You can sit in booths, high bar stool tables, upstairs in the gallery with spacious sofas, or at the bar itself, which is considered the best seat in the house. As Jacko's Street boasts an open kitchen, watching the four chefs work as unit to prepare your dish is true entertainment. The wait staff all dressed in plaid and free shots of Arak for all patrons liven up the mood even more. Jacko's Street also boasts an extensive wine list, top shelf alcohol and cocktail menu.
Jacko's Street's own world-renowned chef Zakai Hooja is out and about in the market every morning, hand-selecting produce, fish and meat for that day's cooking, and the restaurant's proximity to the market's bounty of fresh ingredients speaks for itself in the quality of the end result served on your plate. Mouth-watering, exclusive starters include salmon ceviche with cucumber, black sesame seeds with a shallot vinaigrette and melon wasabi sauce, and fresh ravioli filled with "siske" meat (can't be translated), spinach and chickpeas in a chicken stock sauce: an impressive dish full of authentic Israeli flavors prepared in a modern style, as well as Turkish kebabs, Carpaccio salad and veal sweetbreads.
As for entrees, choose from such unusual delicacies as sautéed chicken livers glazed in a brown sauce, green tea, bone marrow and a hazelnut biscotti, or the anything-but-standard hamburger: a thick burger made with fresh ground prime cut beef and glazed with garlic confit, served on a garlic challah roll with a side of sweet potato fries.
Other entrees include the fresh red mullet pan fried in preserved lemon, Kalamata olives, asparagus, fried eggplant and tomato salsa, smoked breast of duck sautéed in caramelized onions and mushrooms on top of a foccacia bread and a citrus salad.
Jacko's does dessert justice as well: Krembo Kadaif with toffee sauce is an Israeli classic with a gourmet twist and the citrusy whipped limoncello is irresistible.
Jacko's Street has 70 seats, a large bar with 12 places and a small bar with five seats available.