At a rather young age I realized I'm missing several things that judging by my TV watching habits seemed common and reasonable. Taco Bell was one. It was hard to grasp how things some considered mundane were in fact a rare delicacy. Along with the now locally defunct KFC and Dunkin' Donuts - some brands just don't do well overseas.
But now, for this taco hungry writer the earth begins to shake.
Don't get me wrong, Israel has a handful of Mexican or rather Tex-Mex (i.e. Texas-Mexican) dining venues. In the last fifteen years there has been a notable change in how we perceive food. More cooking shows, finer materials and ingredients, fancier restaurants and a variety of new cuisines that are becoming more mainstream. The Israeli palate has evolved greatly.
If until now the "Mexican" options were places offering an American menu with a token tortilla wrap dish, or a specializing Mexican restaurant that serves only minced beef dishes along pizzas, now there's a new sheriff in town.
And now for the reason we have all gathered: Donkey.
91 Hahashmonaim St, Tel-Aviv, remember this address. That is where you'll need to go for a good burrito, taco, casadia and quesadilla, altough the latter is not officially on the menu.
Don't get me wrong, I know there are dishes that are missing from the list. This is by far not the whole dream menu I had in mind, but the fact the have pulled beef, pulled pork and even pulled chicken speaks highly i their praise; allow me to explain. mincing meat is easy, mostly machine work. Cooking minced meat is faster, thus you save both time, work (the chopping and mincing part) and one might even use cheaper cuts of meat since it can go unnoticeable.
On the other hand, slow-cooking large quality cuts and then breaking them down into individual pieces in the right size and proportion - that's an indication of effort put into food. Add great taste, interesting sauces (the cilantro is amazing even if you're not a fan), quality cheese, fresh ingredients and amazing black beans, you get the picture.
There's even a vegetarian option in the form of sauteed peppers and onions as a meat substitute. Also to be found are salads and burrito bowls. The owners assure that crispy tacos will be added soon.
Please step towards the cash register. Right below it there's the beverage refrigerator, stacked with drinks that will make you feel as if you are really in the United States of America, there's the variety of Arizona iced teas, Dr Pepper, common sodas, exotic juices and several types of beer.
Three tacos and a can of Dr Pepper will set you back nis50 (approx. $12.5), not the cheapest of meals, but it will definitively satisfy your hunger along with thirst for innovation and Tex-Mex desires.
The only negative thing I can add to this review is that their menu lacks tortas, which is a shame since their delicious meats deserve to be placed in a heavenly sandwich.
Donkey is well worth a visit, even if you're not a fan of this sort of cuisine. It's a breath of fresh air and as for personal taste goes you might just discover they're your new favorite.