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Found 6 results

  1. My cousin was in town for a conference and she comes from a place of very limited restaurant choices so I wanted to take her somewhere different and unique, and I have to say, I crushed it on the restaurant choice! 😉 I mean, how could I go wrong with a Spanish-Japanese mash up?!!? We opted for the omakase meal and we completely blown away from start to finish. Every dish was as beautiful to look at as it was wonderful to taste, and every part of each dish was just fantastic ( there were no throw away components). Shockingly, the place was fairly empty on Thursday night, but I'm hoping that's because it's so new. The only complaint I had was with the lighting. It was too dark to see the beauty of each course without using the light on my phone. When we were leaving the chef was at the host's stand and we raved about the meal for a bit and then, since I had a captive audience, told him my complaint about the low level lighting. He said they just turned the lights down tonight for the first time because the restaurant designer/stylist told him that with the lights turned up it made the place look like a fast food joint! Unfortunately, neither my words, nor the photos do justice to the experience, but here goes. First up was Hamachi/Citrus Dashi/kumquats - we were encouraged to eat the components and drink the broth at the end. Amazing! They could have served the broth alone and it would have been a successful dish! The fish was so tender that I "chewed" it with my tongue! It was also served at the perfect temperature for maximum flavor. Chawanmushi/tempura oyster/seaweed was next, and it was another wonderful combination of tastes and textures. The tempura oysters were topped off with roe and they were great on their own, but the real star was the chawanmushi. I think I could eat a gallon of that stuff! Botan Ebi/ponsu jelly/uni/crème fraiche was the third course and it was another combination a dozen different flavors and textures. We were told to stick the spoon all the way to the bottom and get a bit of each layer. This dish was very hard to photograph, but I included two photos below so you see the layers. Steamed Cod/Gazpachuelo/Potato Trinxat was up next. The description is how it's written on the menu they gave us to take home, but it was described as Black Cod vs. Cod. Either way, it was amazing. Again the cod was tongue-chewable...so tender!! The fish was amazing but the other components were equally impressive the potato thing was shockingly good, as was the foamy broth on the bottom (visible on the left side of the photo). I don't know if that was the gazpachuelo or just part of it, and I don't care! It was fantastic. I'd also like a gallon of it to take home!! Nameko Mushroom Rice/Scallop/Guanciale was next. It also included the soft, internal part of burrata cheese (not visible in the photo below). We were told to mix the rice and burrata together and eat it like that. The scallop was absolutely perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious yet it was the least impressive part of the dish!! The mushroom/rice/burrata combo was mind blowing. SOOOO GOOOOD! The final dish was Quail/Salsify Puree/Foie Gras Escabeche. The quail was very tender and moist and the foie was ridiculously tender (much more so than what I had at Clarity earlier in the week). The salsify was also a surprising hit. I'm not that familiar with salsify, but I'm considering growing it now!! Dessert was a "Gin and Tonic" - I have no idea how to describe this and the photo below is awful. It was a wonderful and unique and had little bits of cucumber in it! Whatever it was, it was a great success! We also got a Winter Citrus Tart/yuzu curd/mandarin sorbet/coconut which was very good, but probably the most standard/least interesting dish of the night. The final little bite (not described on the menu) were two little candies. One was gumdrop type of dish that was good, and the other was combination of miso, caramel and salt. This was an amazing bite! It was one of those dishes that makes you wonder why no one ever combined those flavors before! Fantastic!! I wanted a dozen more! I did the wine pairing which was nice and included a couple sakes, including a rose' sake that got its color from red yeast. Who knew that was a thing! I can't recommend this place highly enough! This was the most interesting and memorable meal that I've had in a long time and two days later, it's still all that I'm thinking about!
  2. Kukuri received a moderate amount of hype when it opened, based on the presence of sushi chef Shimao Ishikawa. Ishikawa was behind the (sushi) bar at Michelin-starred Jewel Bako in New York, where I had a memorable meal years ago. I had omakase reservations last week ($175 per person), but ultimately cancelled after hearing rumors that Ishikawa was no longer in the kitchen. I asked a couple of the food critics in town, neither of which had heard anything. A perusal of the Kukuri Facebook page showed that Ishikawa responded to a negative review from his personal account, claiming to have been out of the kitchen since an automobile accident in November. I sent him (or at least whoever is behind the "Shimao Ishikawa" Facebook account) a personal message, and he confirmed that he is no longer associated with Kukuri. While their website still lists him, their frequently updated Facebook page now lists Masayuki Kawai as the head chef. I haven't been able to find out any information on his past work.
  3. Tried Sushi Seki based on proximity to the show we were going to (Allegiance, starring George Takei about the Japanese American experience during WWII) and the desire to try some of NYC's reputed best sushi. They have seatings as late as 11:00 for dining so had my dining partners not wanted this, I would have been able to go on my own after the show. The other three in my party got the pre-theatre menu which they all enjoyed, but also needed to get some extra sushi to supplement in order to be filled. The omakase sushi selection came with 16 pieces brought out in groups of four, plus one hand roll. All the varieties were tasty, but this is by no means traditional sushi. It is more along the lines of creative sushi with garnishes such as jalapeno, tomato, and tempura. There is not a diversity of fish, more diversity of preparation. Chu toro made multiple appearances as did salmon and hamachi. Everything was very fresh, highlight was probably the uni which was like butter. Low was probably the closing hand roll which was a spicy scallop. I really detest the use of spiciness in sushi as it masks the taste of the fresh fish which is what I really want to taste, and putting the spice on a scallop which should highlight the sweetness of the scallop is disappointing. Impressive about the handroll was how quickly they got it to the table after being made because the nori was perfectly crisp. At $130 for 16 pieces and and hand roll, I felt it was worth it from the perspective of creativity that went into the creations, but I would much rather spend that $130 at Sushi Taro in DC for their omakase which is in a more traditional style and in addition to the sushi being more diverse, also features additional dishes as part of the omakase. The a la carte menu appears to be pretty reasonable given the high end trappings. Things like edamame are available for what I would expect at any Japanese restaurant. I just had hot tea, but they purport to have an extensive drink menu. Surprising was that it was not very crowded, though we were there very early in the evening with a 5:45 reservation and were out by 7:30.
  4. This is from a poster using the screen name "Professor Salt" and was posted in 2007 on Chowhound. I found it interesting and thought some here might also. I know many here have real expertise and experience with Japanese cuisine so please just ignore if you do. Hillvalley's 'last meal' post just got me looking around and, when I found this, I thought okay to share. Answers the question: What's the difference between kaiseki and omakase? ------------------ "Two different things entirely. Real traditional kaiseki cooking is hard to find in the US for reasons I'll describe below. "Omakase" is short for "omakase shimasu", which means roughly, "I trust you [the chef]." In its American food usage, it's mistakenly interpreted as a tasting menu at a sushi restaurant, but it's deeper than that. It means you're placing what courses come out to the chef's judgment, based on 1. what he's got that day that's really good and 2. his rapport with you and your preferences on what you find delicious or not. Your prior relationship with the chef (if any), his ESP-like ability to read your reactions to his food, are all part of his skill in delivering an outstanding (or not) experience. The chef can adjust which courses he serves based on that immediate feedback, which is different from the Western notion of a tasting menu, where the chef can't watch your reactions. The omakase style of dining happens not only at sushi restaurants, but also other Japanese types of cookery, like kushiyaki (grilled skewers) or kushiage (fried skewers) to name but two. In these cases, a course of two or three skewers are served as a set, and you can say when you've had enough. If you keep going, the chef will serve the couple dozen items he thinks you'll enjoy, and the menu will repeat until you explode. Another aspect of the omakase style of eating is that prices aren't (traditionally) listed on a menu, it's market price and you'll get your bill at the end. This practice isn't as common in the US because it's not the way Americans do things. However, if you're going to Japan, it's still done. This is an aspect that makes many people feel uncomfortable. If you don't feel good about trusting the chef with the entire experience including the value vs. cost part of it, I'd say don't do it at all until you're comfortable with that chef's abilities to deliver a meal you'll enjoy implicitly. If you can't trust, you're missing the spirit of the whole experience. Kaiseki dining is super-traditional formal dining with a set course of menu items, served with a rigorous attention to detail. You'll have private screened off room for your party, and "sit" Japanese style (zaseki), kneeling on mats on a tatami floor at a low table (if you're old school and super formal about it). Foods are prepared in the kitchen, and brought in succession by formally dressed servers. There's no direct customer to chef feedback as you'd have at a sushi bar. You get what you get, and that's that. A key principle of kaiseki cooking is to use only seasonal ingredients from the local area. You should not find ocean fishes served at a kaiseki restaurant far from the sea, for example. You will find fishes caught in nearby rivers, or produce gathered from the local forests. These ingredients are then prepared with precise knife techniques to make them look beautiful before they're even cooked. They're then prepared with the five fundamental methods of cooking, so you'll get courses which are steamed, simmered, fried, grilled, and raw. Because of the emphasis on local ingredients and hyper-freshness of seasonal items, as well as low demand for the formality of the whole experience, it's hard to find kaiseki restaurants in the US which really toe the line of tradition. Hope that helps with a basic description."
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