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Found 12 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. One of the more pleasant dining experiences, I've had in a long time. The space is simple, clean and serene which is a great reflection of the food. I went early so it wasn't so crowded but I'm guessing that this place will be consistently packed. If you had to try one dish, get the grilled Mero with miso. It's sea bass that has a nice char on the outside but comes out tasting smooth and creamy. My full post is below; Izakaya Seki
  3. I decided to finally try out Kaz Sushi Bistro (1915 I Street NW). More to the point, this was the first Wednesday I could make it there to get the Maki and Nigiri lunch combo, after learning of it's existance. The combo consisted of a spicy tuna roll, a California roll, and a piece each of maguro, sake, and ebi nigiri. Right from the start, I knew I was on to something good: the little cup of soy sauce was taped to the top to prevent spillage in transit, there were two packets of those little M&M-like mints, and the gari was clearly home-made. Trivial touches, yes, but they're obviously thinking this lunch-special thing through. I like that. It bodes well. On to the main event, the sushi itself was visually very nice, and clearly carefully made. The tuna in particular was the most beautiful shade of deep red. I can say very easily that this was the best sushi I can recall having, in the U.S. and in Japan (Granted, I never went for a hard-core Edomae dinner, but there you go). Incredible. Even the California roll was good. Even the soy sauce was good. They are absolutely not trying to cut corners with the lunch special, and if they are, the stuff right at the bar must be positively mind-blowing. I don't mind saying I was having a pretty insane day at work to this point, but after this lunch, everything seemed good and right with the world.
  4. Takohachi opened on December 11 in the Westmont Shopping Center at the corner of Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road. My wife and I decided to eat lunch there today to test this new dining option after reading several positive comments from our neighbors on the Douglas Park community bulletin board. Owned and run by a Japanese chef, the space is simple and open (in the good Japanese way), with plenty of space between the tables and contemporary Japanese music playing softly in the room. We ordered from the lunch menu, which offered everything from Nigiri Shushi (at $1 per piece), to a number of Udons, Donburis and a large selection of Bento Boxes. We each ordered a Bento - Marianne had the California Roll and Spiced Tuna, I ordered the Sukiyaki. Both came with Tea, Miso Soup, Salad and a Shrimp and Vegetable Tempura portion in addition to the aforementioned Mains. All I can say is that if the quality of our lunch is the baseline for the other items on their menu, this is now our go-to spot for Japanese in South Arlington. They don't have an active social media profile, or a website yet. Here's hoping they can grow thru word of mouth - I want to be able to come back often. TSchaad
  5. Most progressive dining experience to date! Innovative flavor combinations make for a super fun and delicious evening!! Beyond excited to see what James Wozniuk, Matt Crowley and Pichet Ong will create next!! KOKURYU 'BLACK DRAGON'TEDORIGAWA KINKA 'GOLDEN BLOSSOM' FERMENTED DURIAN CURRYSpaghetti Squash CHICKEN SKIN DUMPLINGGinger Dipping Sauce BLOOD CAKECilantro, Peanut, Lime WHOLE ROAST DUCKFlour Tortillas, Broth, Duck Confit Salad, Seasoned Hoisin, Hot Sauce, Cucumbers and Scallion SILVER Eggplant, Miso, Fennel
  6. While we wait for our moving truck to arrive, we are staying with family in Memorial, in the Western part of Houston. The whole family, 2 small kids in tow, had dinner at Izaykaya Wa on Memorial Dr. last night. I luckily called ahead and made a reservation, as it was packed to the gills with a boisterous group of drinkers/noshers when we arrived. This is a true Izakaya, being a great place to throw down a few beers and munch on yakitori and kushiage. It reminded Cristina and I of our old NYC haunt, Village Yokocho. We shared a number of things, mainly standards (edamame, vegetable tempura, takoyaki, seaweed salad). All were done well, especially the takoyaki, which were thankfully not drowning in Kewpie mayo. The chirashi and special rolls we shared were fine for a place that is not focussed on sushi. Chicken skin and chicken thigh skewers were nicely grilled, the skin deliciously crispy and salty. A whole grilled squid served alongside grilled slices of jalapeño (we are in TX after all) was mildly flavored and a bit too chewy...the only real miss of the night. Everything was washed down with several rounds of Asahi and Sapporo, and thankfully the exuberance of our fellow diners drowned out any squeals of protestation from our smaller dining companions.
  7. Well, f**k. I hate writing about restaurants any more, but decided to start this thread anyway, and twenty minutes later I was almost done and f**king Invision or whoever lost the post. Pardon my language. I'm not going to re-create all that. The basics: Nice, cozy ambiance for a quick nosh on a cold evening. I didn't take notes or play Investigative Reporter. I think there were four ramens, four rice bowls, and some number of appetizers on the menu. I had an excellent miso ramen, with flavorful broth, springy noodles, awesomely porky and not too fatty chashu . Definitely one of the better ramens I've had in awhile. Better than the tonkatsu (weak flavor, not-chewy-enough noodles) from Nagomi the day before. Two things to note: the other patrons (at 8:30 - 9:00 on a weeknight) were loud, possibly drunken 20-somethings who talked in their "HEY WE'D BETTER SHOUT 'CAUSE WE MAY STILL BE IN A LOUD BAR" voices. I'm not a cranky old lady yet; if that's the clientele, fine, I'll enjoy my ramen, pay the bill and get out quickly. The other thing: scented candles do not belong in restaurants. Seriously, restaurateurs: don't you want your customers to enjoy their food? Isn't smelling that food a significant part of tasting it? If I push the apple-cinnamon candle to the other end of the communal table, that's not a signal for your hostess to come light the other one. Anyway: great ramen. Really hoping ramen catches on in DC.
  8. Having had an exceptional experience in Hong Kong with a Yakitori place there (which I still need to write up and post about), we looked for someplace in the DC metro area and came up empty. We tried a place on our recent trip to NYC called Yakitori Tora. It wasn't as good as the place in Hong Kong, but it was still very good! Yakitori is, I think, most often char-grilled skewers of meats, mainly chicken. The place in Hong Kong, aside from cheese (yes cheese), it was pure chicken. This place had more than that. We had chicken in many forms, thigh, heart, skin (a very, very inventive rendition and tremendous), and liver of course. Oh and duck meatball. And bacon wrapped mushrooms. Fun and good. It's a meal you can make as long or as short as you like and since each thing you order is pretty small, you can dig in for the long haul or just stop in for a snack before you go somewhere else. I'd go here again. Photos
  9. 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.
  10. My last post of this morning--I felt I had to share of this special little place before I forget about its details. I cannot remember how I came upon reading about Sakaya, a mom-n-pop-owned store by Rick Smith and his wife, Hiroko Furukawa, but I knew it had to be on my visit list before I left Sunday evening. A super quaint little shop in East Village, its decor and organization are remarkably Japanese in its Zen-like serenity. I could have probably spent an entire afternoon in here, looking at the different bottle sizes, options, price-point, and descriptions. Ever so patient, Hiroko-san asked questions much like a skilled-sommelier with a first-time wine novice: dry vs. sweet, clean vs. fruity, et al. It was a very non-intimidating exchange for this unskilled, novice sake-drinker. I came away with something within my price point (under $15) without feeling like I got a "two-buck chuck." If you are interested in learning more about sake, or already are an expert, I would recommend visiting. They also offer online ordering, although, of course, selection will be restricted on your delivery location and state laws. 324 East 9th Street New York, NY 10003 212.505.7253 (SAKE)
  11. "A cup of wine, under the flowering trees; I drink alone, for no friend is near." -- "Drinking Alone By Moonlight" - Li Bai (Li Po), 701-762 A.D.
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