My wife’s birthday is just around the corner, and her friends were taking her to dinner here to celebrate. When one of them had to cancel last minute, I filled in to avoid the $50 charge on the credit card for a missed seating.
This joint only has eight seats and two seatings per night (6:00pm and 8:30pm), so that’s why they charge your card if you bail on a seat. Harsh, but understandable. They have to fill up to make money.
Anyway, this was a long and tasty meal, consisting mostly of Japanese tempura. It wasn’t the prettiest food for photos, but it certainly was yummy!
Here’s what we had – and keep in mind I’m just going to list the dishes and then quickly blab about the items that really stood out.
Red snapper broth with mushrooms.
Red snapper sashimi: this was really delicate and clean, and it went perfectly with the shio-bonito ponzu and wasabi salt, which were provided for dipping.
They also gave us pickled daikon and a bamboo charcoal salt as well, which was equally excellent, and apparently helpful in digestion due to the charcoal.
Berkshire pork pate. Very nice, and notably French!
Now we are getting into the tempura. The fryer oil they use is a blend of sesame oil and cotton seed oil, which has a very high smoking point, great for super crispy batters and fast frying.
Crispy shrimp shell. Yes – the exoskeleton! I joked and said that we ate crispy fried xenomorph face-hugger exoskeleton (that’s an Alien reference if you’re unaware).
Okra: really flavorful and fresh. The tempura batter was almost like a second skin on the veggie, just crispy.
Hokkaido squid. In fact everything here is actually FROM Japan.
Hokkaido scallops: These were almost raw, and absolutely delicious. Just the outside was cooked from the closeness of the flesh to the hot oil. My favorite bite of the night.
Uni (sea urchin) wrapped in nori (seaweed) paper: very creamy. If uni is your thing, then this is the place to get it. I’m still a hit or miss guy when it comes to uni. I think I like it best when served cold (like revenge), with no seaweed paper.
To finish the savory courses off, you get a choice between the following two items:
(1) Rice with red snapper bits and a hearty miso/mushroom soup.
(I didn’t shoot the soup)
(2) Green tea soba noodles with eel.
This was so fucking beautiful, and was probably my second favorite dish of the night. It came with a dipping sauce as well (I didn’t shoot that but I did take another photo of the noodles).
Dessert was a raspberry sorbet with a sesame crisp, and a yuzu creme brulee. Both were simple but excellent.
Lastly, I apologize for the poor photos. I didn’t bother to color correct when I got home. I mainly just focused my photo editing efforts on that beautiful soba dish because I knew I was going to post it on Instagram.
All in, this was a great meal, albeit a bit pricey. The uni and eel tempura items were add-ons that really bumped up the cost. Also drinks: They’re always bill killers. But I definitely recommend giving this place a shot. There aren’t too many Japanese joints doing real deal tempura omakase in this low price range ($65/pp to start).
199 East 3rd Street
1st Floor, New York, NY 10009