Thursday, March 23, 2023

The summer of 2020 wasn’t exactly the easiest time to open a restaurant. But Igor Fazylov faced that challenge when he opened his “Mediterranean Urban Restaurant,” known by the acronym “MUR.” Over the course of the next year and a half, MUR gained quite a reputation for being able to take the standard Israeli flavors and liven them up with modern techniques and fine-dining twists.

In fact, MUR was so successful that Fazylov was quickly looking to expand the MUR brand by adding another restaurant. After going through different ideas as rumors abounded, he decided to try his luck in the world of high-end dairy dining. With so many rumors about what was coming next, he was frequently asked the same question by patrons who wanted updates on the future.

“People would come up to me and say, ‘Is it true? Is it true?’” Fazylov recounts. “So when I needed to name the new place, I decided to use that.”

TRU by MUR is actually in the space where MUR started two years ago. The success of MUR led Fazylov to secure the much larger space next door to allow MUR to grow into what he truly wants it to be. (MUR will reopen later this year when that space is finished being transformed into a venue to seat 200 patrons.)

After a general redesign, the TRU dining room looks very trendy with a great use of wood and splashes of various colors. The bar is the main feature of the room and includes a wood-burning pizza oven. Guests can actually sit at the bar and enjoy a drink while they watch the neapolitan pizza being made right before their eyes.

When I was invited to check out what TRU had to offer, the first selection was so obvious that it rightfully occupied its own section of the menu. The Mezze Platter makes a fantastic introduction to your meal at TRU. Garlic french bread is served with an accompaniment of four spreads. My favorite was the spicy feta (charred jalapeño, olive oil and crushed tomatoes), but you might prefer the hummus, fire-roasted eggplant, or labneh. The flavors all offer different tastes, yet they all work well with the amazing bread that they are served alongside.

TRU’s menu features some interesting items, but perhaps the most intriguing is their Crispy Baby Artichoke appetizer. This is a stunning plate of whole baby artichokes that have been crisped to perfection and surrounded by turmeric and sumac aioli. Due to the difficulty involved with serving whole artichokes (checking for bugs between the leaves takes a significant amount of time), this type of dish cannot be found at your average kosher restaurant. Believe me when I tell you that it somehow tastes even better than it looks.

If it’s pasta you’re looking for, I suggest you try the Homemade Gnocchi. The texture of the gnocchi is perfect and the delightfully thick pesto cream sauce features hints of truffle. The wonderful deep flavor is achieved by using a base that utilizes brown butter and sage to enrich the parmesan cheese element. This forms a rich mixture so tasty that you won’t want to leave a spoonful behind.

With so many great options on the menu, you must restrain yourself just enough so that you have room for dessert. If your party can only make a bit of room in their stomachs for one selection, I would encourage you to select the Blueberry Blossom Panna Cotta. Once again, the plating and colors of the dish will catch your eye from the second it arrives at your table. A sandwich of two pieces of knafeh (crunchy spun pastry) with panna cotta (dense sweet cream) in the middle sits in a blueberry reduction with a strawberry, cream and chocolate drizzle on top. The textures, flavors and colors make this a unique and decadent dessert that cannot be missed by the true kosher foodie looking for what simply cannot be found at every neighborhood dairy cafe.

There are those who wait for dairy fine dining restaurants to open, and for that population, this certainly won’t disappoint. And even if you are the type of patron who usually sticks to the more carnivorous establishments, TRU by MUR should still draw your attention. From the amazing ambiance to the perfect plating and from the fusion flavors to the terrific textures, TRU should be a destination for everyone.

Nati Burnside lives in Fair Lawn and is a man of many interests. You can contact him at [email protected]

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