There are so many restaurants to try in Myrtle Beach, but sometimes it just seems like everything is the same old, same old. Chain restaurants, 170-item buffets and who knows what else. Some of the restaurants are worth a try, but I love the unique and the small places. So when I see an independently owned ethnic restaurant, I am all over that. Jerusalem Restaurant is the only kosher “Mediterranean” restaurant here at the beach and I was pretty excited to try it.
Located right on North Kings Highway, I had heard some pretty decent reviews of this place. The menu looked good and fairly varied, all based on an Israeli-style cuisine. I’m sure anyone who reads Go Eat Repeat knows I just looooooove my humus and dips. On Wednesdays there is a belly dancing show, so, on Wednesday, we were there!
As we walked in the restaurant, only a few tables were occupied. Music was blaring; it was actually a little too loud for comfort. We were promptly seated and took a glance at the menu. Straight away, we ordered two of the He’Brew beers from Shmaltz Brewing Company out of Clifton Park, NY. These arrived nearly 15 minutes later and I suppose that should have been a bit of a clue as to how the night would go. They were definitely good, but the prices might be high for bottles (6 for the Messiah Nut Brown Ale and 4 for the IPA.)
Since the chef is still learning English, we took quite a while to go through everything. Finally, we decided on the Moroccan cigars and the Hummus falafel for appetizers, followed by the Kabbab to share. It took us forever to place our order since our waitress seemed to have forgotten about us, but eventually we did.
Thankfully, the food didn’t take too long to arrive. As a complimentary appetizer, they bring out a couple of small dishes of salads to start. There was one of my most hated foods in the world: Russian salad. Ew. (If you don’t know what it is, you’re pretty lucky.) They also served a cold, spicy carrot salad which was really delish and one of my favorite things that I ate while we were there. Our appetizers arrived. The cigars almost instantly marked a disappointment in my book, even though I hadn’t even tried them. There was no way the portion could justify the price. 9 dollars for three thin, tiny cigars is highway robbery in my book!!! Sure, they were good, but you know how it gets when you overpay and that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Impartially, this was a pretty decent appetizer, excluding the portion size. The phylo was nice and crunchy, but not at all greasy. The beef filling was spiced just right and it was served with a well-dressed salad. (Too bad the salad also came with the kabbob dish too!)
Anyway, then came the hummus. I ordered one of Jerusalem’s specialty creations topped with falafel and tahini. Mostly because I didn’t want to choose between falafel and hummus! For $12 you can get both. The dish came and there was a bed of creamy hummus. The hummus was really delicious and I could have sat there eating that for days. The tahini had a flavor that doesn’t even compare to that of the store bought variety. The falafel were good, but they had absorbed so much of the olive oil they were damp! On another positive note, the bread that they serve is FANTASTIC! I would go just for the bread and hummus, if I were to go back.
Finally, we tried the kabbob. This was our second choice as we wanted to get the Shawarma platter, but they had run out of it for the night. This dish just looked unappealing from the get-go. It appeared to be just some dried up hamburgers on top of a mountain of rice and it tasted just like that. This was one of the cheaper entrees on the menu coming in at 15, but still! The worst part is that we didn’t eat any of it and the waitress asked if it was ok. Obviously not, and any good waitress would have offered to take it off the bill. That didn’t happen.
When we asked for the bill, our lovely waitress took at least 15 minutes to prepare our check. Rant time: Trust me, I understand what it is like to be running your butt off in a busy restaurant and am therefore, completely comprehensive of a waiter’s plight. Also, they have nothing to do with the actual quality of the food, but it is their job to make up for any shortcomings of the kitchen. Worst of all, when there are 3 tables being served and double that number of wait staff and it still takes so long to get a check, you know there are problems. I did something I almost never do. I left no tip. I really hate to do that, but sometimes it really is unavoidable.
It’s highly improbable that I would ever go back to Jerusalem. Their food is hit and miss, and more importantly, quite expensive. Being the only certified kosher restaurant in the area, Jerusalem definitely fills a gap. Try it at your own risk…then let me know!
205 North Kings Highway
Myrtle Beach, SC