Greek philosopher Heraclites said: “You can’t step in the same river twice.” The version for Budapest goes: “You can’t set foot in the same street twice without discovering a new bar or restaurant.” Not so long ago there was only an industrial courtyard at 40 Dob utca where you could buy concrete and gravel; now you will find tabbouleh, knish and other dishes inspired by the Jewish cuisine here.
Even after its transformation to gastro hotspot and beer garden, the courtyard kept some of its industrial charm: the walls are decorated with wooden pallets with flower boxes planted in the gaps. Next to a wall the seating corners are separated by huge water containers, each holding at least 2,000 litres.
Pots with plants provide a bit of greenery at each corner, cable pipes float everywhere, leading to the lanterns, which light up in bright colours after the dark sets in. The mixture creates a certain post-industrial summer flair. And the spicy scent lingering in the air promises a delicious meal.
Ricsi’s recipes from all around world
The food is served out of a kitchen located in a container. You can order at the front window and you can pick up your dish after just a few minutes from the window at the rear side of the container. “Ricsi’s – World’s Jewish Street Food” was named after its owner and creative chef. Ricsi was born to a Jewish-Catholic family and he travelled the world for many years, living in France, Italy and Israel.
After he moved back to Hungary, he worked among other jobs as a cook in the Budapest restaurant M. However, he was longing for freedom and to open his own place, so he moved his street kitchen about six months ago into 40 Dob utca.
Ricsi collected recipes from Israel, New York and other parts of the world on his menu card, giving a slight Hungarian touch to all of them. For one there is the Luganega hot dog: a sausage prepared with beef with Arabic spices, prepared in Jewish style, with some Hungarian impressions of kolbász added on.
The mixture of minced meet with coriander, clove, nutmeg, a hint of cinnamon and a splash of wine is surprisingly harmonic. The whole thing is served in a piece of bread with a spicy tomato-coriander sauce.
With tabbouleh through the summer
The beef sandwich is also a must-try, since it’s been bravely named “The World’s best sandwich”. The juicy beef lingering between the two bread halves has been marinated for hours in a rosemary and red wine sauce. Accompanied by tomatoes, finely chopped pickles and salad, the sandwich, also served in a piece of fresh bread, is an explosive taste combination for your senses.
As Ricsi reveals to The Budapest Times, he does not use any ready-made products. There is a second hidden container kitchen in the back part of the courtyard where he bakes fresh bread all day long, following his own recipe, and he prepares roasted onions fresh for some of his dishes.
However, on days in which the thermometer hits 30 degrees, the cooled and refreshing tabbouleh salad is the best choice. Traditionally tabbouleh is made of parsley and bulgur, tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, lemon juice and spices. But Ricsi adds a special note to this dish as well, completing the sauce with a bit of orange juice and pomegranate seeds. Especially this fruit makes his tabbouleh into a special taste experience, since the little seeds only let out their fruity taste once you bite them.
Regarding desserts Ricsi also relies on the culinary bag of tricks he inherited from his Jewish grandmother. Besides noodles with poppy seeds, there is another sweet dish learned from grandma Vogel with the quite weird name “Barátfüle” (in English: “the ear of a friend”) that attracts customers.
He quickly explains that these sweet little pieces made of baked potato dough filled with plum jam and sprinkled with fried breadcrumbs only got their name because of their shape, which reminds us of ears.
Even if Ricsi’s dishes are served fast and ready to eat, the courtyard almost makes you forget the fast-food character, since you can easily relax here for a few hours in the afternoon between a refreshing tabbouleh salad, juicy sandwiches and sweet desserts filled with plum jam.
Early in the evening when the restaurant is slowly filling, the danger of losing time in the courtyard is doubled by the Rácskert Bar, which is also located here. They offer cocktails that are simply too tempting to refuse in the summer.
40 Dob utca, District VII
Reservations: (+36) 30 536-0082
Open: Monday and Sunday noon-4pm,
Thursday to Saturday noon-10pm
Soups and salads: HUF 650-750
Sandwiches and main dishes: HUF 850-1,350
Desserts: HUF 650