All about chicken

Roosto, a new fast-food chicken restaurant, is in one of the unluckiest locations for a– the gas station at Tzomet Oranim near the Hadar Mall. It should be a prime location. For some bizarre reason, Israelis love restaurants in gas stations, and it is on a main street with a lot of vehicle traffic. Despite the propensity for a gas-station venue, every restaurant that opened here seems to have been cursed, except for Hayuka B’Pita, which moved to a larger space in the German Colony and thrived for several years before closing.

Let’s hope that owner Shimon Akoud, an immigrant from France, has better luck than his predecessors. Based on the food alone, he should. Roosto offers two kinds of chicken: fried and grilled. The fried chicken has three variations: pieces of chicken breast, legs and wings. The coating is nicely seasoned and is crispy and not at all oily. The portions are quite large, and the prices are reasonable. A meal consists of either eight “shnitzelonim,” three chicken legs, or six chicken wings cut in half for 12 pieces. Each meal comes with a side dish and a drink for NIS 49. Some of us in Jerusalem still remember the kosher KFC in the mall in Mevaseret Tzion, where we used to make frequent pilgrimages. The chicken at Roosto is different, but as good.

For the health-conscious, a quarter of a grilled chicken is NIS 45 for a meal, and a half-chicken is NIS 65. There is also a grilled chicken salad for NIS 35, and large sandwiches at NIS 45. There is also a children’s meal for NIS 25 that even includes a toy.
The side dishes, however, were less successful. The fries were nicely seasoned, but not crispy enough for my taste, and I did not enjoy a side dish of roasted potatoes with spices that was too greasy.

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Most of the salads are also made in house. I tasted both the coleslaw and the eggplant salad and both were well made.
Roosto opened in August and has already amassed a following. Lenny Teitz, a doctor from NJ who frequently visits Israel, said he had come directly from the airport to pick up dinner at Roosto.

“It’s fresh, tasty and fairly quick for Israel,” he said. “It’s my third time here and the owner is really friendly.”
A significant percentage of the clientele speaks French, and several said they were repeat customers. Apparently, Akoud has advertised in the local French media.

Akoud, wearing a large black kippah, was sweating as he took down take-out orders by phone and tried to get food out to the customers waiting. He said one of his workers was out sick and the place was struggling to keep up. He said he has about 100 customers a day.

The restaurant is tiny, with 12 seats inside and a table for eight outside. Akoud said he was an accountant in France but always wanted to own a restaurant. He six years ago and decided this was his chance.

General Pierre Koenig St. 2, Jerusalem (Tzomet Oranim gas station)
Kashrut: Jerusalem Mehuderet and Mahpoud
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Closes early on Friday.
The writer was a guest of the restaurant.

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