Archive for the ‘Japanese’ Category

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night: Home Cookin’

April 8, 2007

Sometimes, staying in on a Saturday night is the absolute best option for dinner. This is exactly what we did yesterday. The evening started out with a visit to Life grocery store in Hatagaya – nothing fancy – kind of like an Albertson’s.

My boyfriend Washi who is Japanese, made… surprise: Japanese curry. Me being Californian, made… surprise: salad. So the nutritionally balanced menu was set for the night. My salad was quite standard consisting of spinach, carrots, Japanese cucumbers, avocados and apples (latter two representing Northern Californian-fare) with balsamic vinegar dressing.

Washi supplied a disclaimer that he had not made curry in five years. I was simultaneously scared and charmed. Scared of how a five-year hiatus will affect the end product, and charmed that I would be the first person in five years to try this said curry.

Turns out there was no need at all to be scared – in fact, the curry was absolutely delightful – why?
The twist: he used milk instead of water and added one can of whole, peeled tomatoes. Other ingredients included two cloves of garlic, one onion, two small potatoes, one carrot six small chicken drumsticks and Japanese curry cube stock.

Home cooking rules.

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$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 8, 9 & 10

April 3, 2007

$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Prologue
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 1 & 2
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 3, 4 & 5
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 6 & 7
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Midway Meditation

Friday 3/30
Total Spent: $0

LUNCH–> $0

i boiled some penne in the morning and married it with some of the puttanesca that i had left over from last Sunday’s batch. seriously, it doesn’t get any easier than dumping a handful of dry pasta into a pot of boiling water, even at 8 in the morning. desperate times call for desperate measures! and the sauce flavors were a lot deeper after letting it sit for a few days. shave some parmigiano on top, and you have yourself an easy peasy lunch.

DINNER–> $0

we had plans to travel to Jersey City to visit this historic Loew’s theater, where they were showing Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity on their gigantic screen (excellent film, Raymond Chandler is such a GREAT writer). it really is a magical, gorgeous theater, very gaudy and ornate, but it was abandoned for a long time so it has this brooding, dilapidating, Death in Venice morbidness to it. love it– totally worth the trip out there. we got a tour backstage and boy, what a labyrinth! the place is HUGE! it’s been around since the 20’s, and the community banded together in the 80s and stopped the city from tearing it down– volunteers basically run the place and are continuously restoring the theater as we speak. incredible!

so anyway, i think i sorta found the trick to how to stay out late without starving. it’s all about food conservation. i ate about half of the pasta for lunch, and saved the other half of it and ate it at around 5pm right before leaving for the night. that’s it! i didn’t get hungry for the rest of the night! brilliant!

it was sad though, when i had to say no to a meal in Koreatown back in Manhattan with my friends. i HATE saying no! especially to Koreatown!!!

***

Saturday 3/31
Total Spent: $0

i wish i could be more exciting, but i randomly came down with a bad fever on Saturday so i ended up really not eating anything or going out the entire day. i even missed Dawn’s birthday party. so sorry Dawn! happy birthday!!!!

***

Sunday 4/1
Total Spent: $10

Lunch–> $0

still feeling pretty groggy, i just had some instant miso soup.

GROCERIES–> $10
Key Foods
Washington Ave., Prospect Heights

grocery shopping in my neighborhood is not something i really look forward to. i basically have to walk about 15 minutes for the nearest DECENT store, which saddens me because there are few things that i find true pleasure in then grocery shopping (i know, it’s weird).

whenever i walk in, there is always this slight medicinal smell. it’s so not ok. but really, i can’t complain, their produce isn’t all that bad (i’ve definitely seen worse), and they carry good yogurts, which is all i can really ask for.

so i came out with a quart of Brown Cow maple yogurt (at $4.50, pricey as hell, but i’m sick so i splurge– Brown Cow is creamy and rich and so so good), broccoli, organic eggs (on sale, otherwise, i don’t generally care if my eggs are organic or not, although i do like them brown), scallions and bottled marinara sauce (on sale for $2.50).

DINNER–> $0

i was planning on just chilling out Sunday night, maybe go to see a movie, maybe just stay in, when i got a phone call from Troy, my old landlord (not to be confused with Troy Division). i talk about them a lot, him and his partner, Kumiko– they are basically my surrogate family out here in NY. i found my first apartment off of Craigslist in Sunset Park, and since i moved here without knowing anyone, Troy and Kumiko, who own the building, welcomed me into the neighborhood and into their home. they truly are wonderful people, and some of my dearest friends here in NY– they really take care of me and look out for me. it’s nice to have that in such a lonesome city, and i truly think that if i didn’t have them here, i would have left NY long ago. even though i’ve moved away, i still try to see them a few times a month.

ok, so back to my dinner. Troy knew i was sick and told me that Kumiko was making nabe, which is a traditional japanese stew, perfect for cold winter nights. this is EXACTLY what sickly Kayoko needed. and on top of this wonderful dinner invitation, Troy said he would pick me up. LUCKY ME!!!!

Kumiko is an excellent cook– she just puts stuff together and creates the most inventive, tasty dishes. this night, she said she threw in whatever she had in the fridge and freezer: fresh shiitake mushrooms, snow peas, scallions, carrots, crabmeat, shrimp, chicken breast, tofu and ground pork balls that she had used to stuff cabbage the night before. amazing. this was all simmering in a soymilk based broth that really brought out all the flavors of the ingredients in the pot. mmmmm… so hearty and soulful!

and in the japanese tradition, once you eat to your heart’s content, you add rice or noodles at the end to finish it off. we had ours with udon. slurp!

Tweezy, their bratty yet darling french bulldog, was one happy lad after our fabulous nabe feast– he eats everything!

***
COMBINED TOTAL:
$10 + $73.25 (Day 1-7 total) = $83.25

LEFT FOR 4 DAYS:
$100 – $83.25= $16.75

i’m gonna make it!!!

*k*

Ramen Haven? ISE

April 2, 2007

Lunch during the workweek has never struck me as an opportunity for a truly enjoyable eating experience — especially working in midtown! But I went to ISE for the first time in a couple months and you know what, I think this place might have the best ramen in NYC that I’ve tasted so far.


They are not strictly a ramen place – in fact they have sushi and other Japanese staples, but they always have a lunch special menu, and always have a ramen set special. I’d almost always gotten the shoyu ramen, but today, Futoshi & Ryo and I all got the Niboshi (dried sardine) Ramen set — the broth is made of the niboshi, and the set today came with a small bowl of curry rice. This is a really solid Japanese meal! The Ramen:

Broth — flavorful and rich. Two slices of Chashu, nice combination of fat and meat. Scallions, bean sprouts and menma (braised bamboo). Nothing fancy — I would have loved a piece of nori seaweed and a hard-boiled egg — but otherwise solid. Nice noodles, and a full portion.

The curry rice — when it finally came — did not disappoint. Solid, traditional Japanese curry, with sweet pickles on the side. Nothing fancy. (sorry out of focus!!)

For $11.50, it’s not the kind of money I’d want to spend on lunch everyday, but a pretty good deal. This is the least disappointing ramen I’ve had in New York. While it is still sad that I’m not jumping up and down saying “the is the BEST ramen in NY” (still hoping that there’s a place that really blows me away and captures the flavor and satisfaction of the ubiquitous neighborhood ramen joints in Japan) if you find yourself in midtown craving ramen for lunch, def go to ISE, over Menchanko-tei (barf).

ISE
(212) 319-1494151
E 49th St. btw Lex & 3rd Ave.

Rockmeisha

March 31, 2007

(Editor’s note: This post was co-written by Aya and Tmonkey. All opinions and typos are theirs.)

Aya: I am always hungry. But Tmonkey, you are always always hungry. What’s up with your metabolism?

Tmonkey: I burn a lot of chi doing kung-fu. Also my massive brain controlled by alien maggots requires about 3 times more energy than a regular human brain.

Aya: That’s cool. And where does your profound desire for ramen come from?

Tmonkey: I don’t know, I think it’s a primal instinct.

Aya: Yeah. I yearn for it in a way that’s like it’s part of my DNA.

Tmonkey: Though I think the movie Tampopo helped to shape my latent cravings for ramen–

Aya: Great movie! OK so Tmonkey and I went to Rockmeisha last night.

Tmonkey: Kayoko told me about this place. I tried to go for lunch twice this week, but they’re not open until 6pm.

Aya: It took you two times to figure that out?

Tmonkey: Chut up. Anyway, I was happy to try it out. It’s a cute little cozy place, and, incidentally, right next door to the magnificent Annisa restaurant run by Anita Lo. She trounced Mario Batali in Iron Chef America. I’ll take you there sometime.

Aya: You better.

Tmonkey: OK OK. Rockmeisha is really tiny. The kitchen looked like a kitchen in someone’s house. Stuff all over the place. Plus the whole joint smelled like grease. They fry lots of things. What’s an izakaya? We sat at the bar because I like to drink. A lot. I had 2 Sapporo drafts.

Aya: I had the lychee sake. Yummy.

Tmonkey: We started off with the Tuna and avocado salad.

It was delicious – nice ponzu dressing and lots of thinly sliced onion on top.

Aya: The deep-fried mackerel was even better.

Nice fish. But we should have ordered the porkbelly special.

Tmonkey: Now for the main course. I order the Chashumen, and Aya got the Tonkotsu Ramen. Can you tell the difference?

Aya: Um. No. Wait. Which one was mine?

Tmonkey: The second one. Look closely. Mine has 3 extra slice of pork (spoken in bad Chinese accent).

Aya: Oh right. Those 3 slices of pork cost you an extra $5!

Tmonkey: It was worth it! The noodles had very nice texture and resilience. I read they are imported from Hakata – where is that?

Aya: Uh Hokkaido? No wait, oops, it’s way down south actually, in Fukuoka in Kyushu. I don’t know shit about Japanese geography it’s embarrassing. It says here that tonkotsu (pork-bone base) ramen broth originated there, as did the convention of serving the pickled shoga (ginger) with the noodles.

Tmonkey: Yeah that was weird. I don’t know if I liked that. The broth was nice and thick. But you know, it lacked the most important flavor of all – UMAMI!

Aya: Explain.

Tmonkey: You don’t know what umami is??? What’s the name of this blog? Umami is the “fifth taste” — sour, salty, sweet, bitter, and….umami! It was “discovered” by a japanese scientist, Kikune Ikeda, at the Tokyo Imperial University when he was trying to isolate the flavor of seaweed broth. It’s the taste of mushrooms, parmesan cheese, tomatoes, that “earthy” flavor. It rounds out the flavor profile by hitting a certain region of your tongue. My favorite food writer/critic, Jeffrey Steingarten, wrote a defense of MSG, called “If MSG is bad for you, why doesn’t everyone in Asia have a headache”? Or something like that. Oh just go read this article. MSG! MSG! MSG!

Aya: We’re in agreement there. So overall, I’d say Rockmeisha, meh, it’s OK – kinda pricey for an izakaya, I guess you have to pay for the location.

Tmonkey: We have yet to find the best ramen in NYC.

Aya: OK, but how do you explain this?

Tmonkey: Hey. I was hungry!

Rockmeisha
11 Barrow Street
between West 4th Street and 7th Avenue
(212) 675-7775

$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 6 & 7

March 30, 2007

$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Prologue
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 1 & 2
$100/ 2 Weeks/ NYC: Day 3, 4 &5

Wednesday 3/28
Total Spent: $5

LUNCH–> $0

Fumiko and I had our usual lunch date. I had leftover pasta alla puttanesca, she had made this absolutely delicious spaghetti bathed in cream sauce with artichokes. She says this is very easy, so i will need to try making this myself. Something about having 2 kinds of pasta in one sitting–one with red sauce, the other with white sauce– that is very satisfying and indulgent.

DINNER–> $5

Matt and I had tickets to see Do Say Make Think at Southpaw in Park Slope, Brooklyn (great venue). But before we met up, I had a gallery opening at work that I was helping out with– all strategically planned out because I knew I could munch on hors d’oeuvres and drink to my hearts content, essentially just eat dinner there without having to spend a dime. Genius.

However, the sushi they served was pretty horrifying– big fat rolls with too much sweetened rice and not enough insides. and just really poorly rolled too, I could have easily done a better job– they were just damn ugly. It was pretty uncharacteristic too, cause the food served at my work’s receptions aren’t usually so bad. But I sucked it up and ate as much as I could– you really can’t be picky when you are on a tight budget. I think I’m finally starting to understand that.

Ok, so I head out after two glasses of bad chardonnay and a stomach full of the worst California rolls I’ve ever had in my life. Meet Matt at Union Hall, he offers me a beer, and recalling my ground rules, I accept on the grounds that I can treat him to a slice of pizza. Fair trade, no?

Wait a sec, back up– Kayoko, didn’t you just have your dinner? You are supposed to be fulfilled by the 10 or so pieces of sushi you JUST consumed. Folks, here’s another thing about me and my eating habits: I cannot tolerate having an unsatisfying dinner. God, that’s horrible and sounds snobby and self-entitled. Ugh. But it’s true– yes, I did have dinner, technically, and I wasn’t really hungry anymore– but I just couldn’t let that be my dinner. It was out of the question.

So I’ve had this weird obsession with pizza lately, and I’m always craving a slice. We headed to this random pizza place that is right off of Union and 5th Ave. It was sorta creepy, I wish I had taken pictures of it. Yellowing wallpaper and really bizarre garage sale chachke displayed everywhere. And the price chart hanging overhead was one of those really old school ones where you have to put up each letter one by one, like a theater marquee. You know what I’m talking about? This one had a 7Up logo on it– remember when 7Up was huge? This place had probably been around since at least the 70s. Do the Right Thing, baby!

I got a slice with sausage piled on top, it was very satisfying– totally worth the $, just so I could go to bed knowing that my dinner weren’t those nasty california rolls.

Sidenote: Do Say Make Think were excellent live. I guess some of the musicians play with Broken Social Scene (both outta Toronto). They create a wondrous cacophony of noise that, along with the light show, made me think of what it would sound like if a spaceship landed in Brooklyn.

***

Thursday 3/29
Total Spent: $21.25

BREAKFAST–> $1.25

Feeling groggy and heavy (it’s the bad wine), so I got a croissant on my way in.

LUNCH–> $0

Aya’s incredible Nappa-wrapped pork. what a treat!!!

DINNER–> $20

Here is where things get a little tricky for $100/2 weeks/NYC. We had made plans to go to a movie at Film Forum with work-related people a while back, so I couldn’t really back out of this, even though I fully knew what this meant: eating and drinking with them. CRAP. Finding a wallet-friendly meal is hard enough, but tagging alcohol onto the bill is guaranteed to drive the bill up. So I did my best to suggest a place that would be “affordable”, i.e. under $20 (even that was pushing it).

I always have a really difficult time finding a place to eat around Film Forum. I had heard from various message boards that Rockmeisha in the West Village served good ramen, so we met there at 8pm.

We ran into Aya and TMonkey there– I’ll let TMonkey really talk about the ramen cause he’s doing this taste test of different ramen joints in the city and will be reporting on it. But just let me say that Rockmeisha’s ramen is just another disappointment in the consistently depressing ramen scene in NYC.

Minca– bad
Momofuku– badder
Rai Rai Ken– baddest

The only place i’ll go to that is DECENT is Menkuitei in midtown (NOT the one in Cooper Square- same shop, but the ramen is not as good).

But the roasted pork at Rockmeisha was good- flavorful, just the right amount of fat, and thinly sliced- I’ll give them that. the noodles, too soft. the soup, not enough depth, despite the heaviness.

Someone, i beg you, open up a ramen shop that is at least CLOSE to the ramen in japan. PLEASE!!!

And the thing is, ramen is NOT CHEAP. this little bowl of tonkotsu ramen that I slurped in under 10 bites? $9.95!!! Dude, I could go to Great NY Noodle Town in Chinatown and get 2.5 BOWLS of their shrimp dumpling noodle soup that trumps this stuff ANY DAY. makes me mad just thinking about it.

3 beers, a starter of hiyayakko (cold tofu) and edamame, and 4 bowls of ramens later, the bill came to be exactly $20 each. I was proud that I didn’t go over that, but not proud that I now officially have less than $30 left and I have only reached the halfway point of $100/2Weeks. WAAAAAAAA!!!!!

***
COMBINED TOTAL:
$5 + $21.25 = $26.25 + $47 (Day 1-5 total) = $73.25

LEFT FOR 7 DAYS:
$100 – $73.25 = $26.75

this is suicide.

*k*

ps- i am sorry i didn’t take enough pictures in the last 2 days!

Napa-Wrapped Pork

March 30, 2007

I am so lucky I get to see Kayoko everyday, so I can laugh at her for already blowing half her budget for the $100/2weeks. For lunch I brought leftovers from last night’s dinner and shared them with her — since she is starving this week and all. It’s a fun and easy recipe, and I highly recommend it. You can see it as either a variation on stuffed cabbage or, as Irwin aptly put it, an Atkins’ version of dumplings.


What you need:
1.) Fresh Ground Pork (I suppose you can do this with beef or turkey, too. For veggie recipe, I’d make a firm crumbled tofu – sliced shiitake – cellophane noodle – carrot mix)
2.) Chopped scallions
3.) Freshly grated ginger
4.) An egg (* optional rich coagulant — def necessary for the veggie recipe)
5.) Sesame oil
6.) Napa Cabbage (aka 白菜)

– First, stick the pork in a bowl, throw in the scallions, ginger, egg and a little bit of sesame oil and mash it up with your hands until everything’s all mixed up. You could use a spatula too, I suppose, but using your hands gives you the satisfying feeling that you’re manipulating the food, and plus it achieves an even texture.

– Salt and ground pepper as you wish. Then, take the washed napa leaves and cut them into 2 inch sections, and make little sandwiches of the pork mixture between them.

– Third, stick all the sandwiches vertically in a pot with a lid, and put over medium flame. No water necessary — the water from the napa steam/cooks the pork. Cook for about I dunno, 20 minutes?

– Check up on it now and then. (I don’t have measurements, nor precise times, just feel it out, it’s impossible to go wrong, even if it all falls apart.) Remaining soup after cooking should be saved for use in other soups/stews/broths.

Serve to your loved ones with rice — and ponzu sauce, ideally — and have a happy day.

` ‘ /\ /\
\ (^o * )/ aya

Best. Chicken. EVAR.

March 19, 2007

This is not me, it’s a quote from Michael Ruhlman’s blog post about Yakitori Totto, which was recommended to him by none other than his good buddy and best chef in the world, Thomas Keller. He gushes uncontrollably about the chicken here. Can anyone back this up? I want to go there now for many reasons, one of which being the fact that it’s one of those inconspicuous but neat places tucked away in a nondescript building and makes grown men cry with how good (and cheap) the food is.

Yakitori Totto
251 W. 55th St., New York, NY 10019
nr. Broadway

UPDATE: D’oh. I guess I’m late (like Ruhlman) to the game as I just noticed Kayoko’s already all over this joint.

OK. To make up for this dreaded double-post faux-pas, I humbly submit the following addendum to the theme of excellent chicken: NYMag follows Zak Pellacio (Fatty Crab and 5 Ninth) around Chinatown for their The Everything Guide to Chinatown and their first stop:

The grill cart on the corner of Division and Market. “Do you have chicken heart today?” he asks. We get two lamb skewers, and opt for a skewer of gizzards (2) instead of hearts. “This is grilled on real hardwood charcoal, which you can’t use even in a restaurant because there are so many problems with exhaust,” he says, explaining his preference. The lamb nuggets are spicy but tender. The gizzards: salty, cumin-flavored chew toys.

Kaiseki Delight

March 14, 2007

after years of longing from afar, i finally made it into Sugiyama last week for Japanese Restaurant Week– a restaurant that has been around for quite some time here in New York in Midtown West (at least 10 years maybe?). Ruth Reichl gave it 3 stars in 1999, but i would hands down give it 4. seriously folks, this place has made it into kayoko’s top 5 restaurants in nyc, and might have even squeezed into the top 3.

before i talk about the meal though, let’s talk kaiseki, which is what Sugiyama is known for. Kaiseki ryori is essentially a tasting menu which comes out in courses- a japanese style prixfixe, if you will. it is, i would say, the creme de la creme of the japanese fine-dining experience, in that it showcases the range of japanese ingredients, preparation styles/ methods, and artful presentation. each dish must display the creative genius of the chef, and should simultaneously be simple, delicious, and artistically exquisite

in general, i would guess that presentation accounts for at least 50% of the japanese dining experience: the colors, materials, textures, and placement of the food; the dining environment; the dishes and glassware. these are points that chefs always carefully scrutinize and thoroughly ponder, and were all executed masterfully at Sugiyama. nothing was ever in-your-face– the service, the decor, the food– everything was just very subtle and refined. no detail was amiss, and i felt the integrity of the chef in everything that was brought to the table. we were totally blown away.

ok, so onto the meal! my ever wonderful dining companions, Troy and Kumiko (we have had MANY a meal together), and i all ordered the 9-course kaiseki. i’ll let the pictures speak for themselves:

the interior was very minimal, elegant and charming. they have these cute tiny wooden lanterns that started in the entryway and creeped its way over the bar, like low hanging branches.

since historically, japanese chefs love the concept of cooking behind a bar, there is a low bar made of tiles that seats about 10 diners (Troy commented that the tile reminded him of the 80s, which made me laugh).

***

this first dish was so so so wonderful. ankimo tofu, which is monk fish liver and tofu blended together, then steamed, i am assuming. this was bathed in a ponzu (citrus soy) sauce and tiny little green onions were sprinkled on top like fairy dust. oh my god, my mouth is watering just thinking about this dish. the tofu just melted in my mouth while the ponzu gave it a tart citrus kick. it was truly divine.

***

the sashimi- super fresh. uni, kampachi, maguro, ika. the wasabi was heavenly, really spicy, the REAL stuff as opposed to the powder mixture (“real” wasabi is grated). it came with this tiny little kumamoto oyster, dressed in ponzu, green onions and spicy radish.

i just about slurped all of this in under 3 minutes. no joke.

***

next we had a sort of “cold plate”, which looked like precious jewels adorning the plate. oh the colors! gorgeous! from left to right and around:
– steamed duck, sort of pate style
– steamed mussel with aonori, or seaweed
– a sweet exotic berry encased in a jelly cube
– shrimp that deeply tasted of dashi
– sweet potato
– fishcake, very spongy and delish
– a little crab, the crunchiness perfectly balanced the oozy sweetness of the inside
– edamame

***

the osuimono, or clear soup made of fish stock, was so calming. a fresh homemade steamed fishball was plopped in the middle, adorned with wakame and some greenery. there was a decorative pink mochi floating around, adding just a dash of brightness to this elegant soup. look at the steam rising!

***

we were allowed to choose between beef and fish next, and of course i chose the beef. a few pieces came out with a shishito pepper and sliced shiitake mushrooms. the best part was this burning HOT stone- we put our fare on the stone et voila!, the goods were cooked in under a minute. genius.

***

this dish served as our “palette cleanser”, or just a break of some simple basic standards. a piece of futomaki, shrimp and egg nigiri sushi, spinach and mushroom salad in a dashi sauce, and soy stewed octopus, which was at once chewy and soft. how did they do that? what a delight!

***

i may say this was my favorite dish- the nimono, which is a traditional japanese stew. this rendition was a satsuma-age, or fried fish cake, a little crispy on the outside, but pillowy within (i’m noticing that a lot of writers are calling food “pillowy” right now, and this dish deserves the description). the satsuma-age was matched with a sticky mountain potato, which was perfectly cooked. this is japanese home cooking at it’s finest- nimono is an art that is quite difficult to master, and this was flawless. and the bowl was gorgeous, which is of course goes without saying.

***

brown rice with diced carrots and flakes of fish came freshly wrapped in a huge leaf, straight from the steamer. this dish wasn’t revolutionary or anything, but it was just good home cooking. and of course, no rice dish is good without the miso soup and pickles!

***

it was sad when the dessert came around- i didn’t want the dinner to ever end!! i don’t have much of a sweet tooth in general, but this milk jelly with orange slices and a sprig of mint was so light. the chill really rejuvenated the mouth, not too sweet, very clean. just a great way to end the meal.

sigh…

by the end of this meal, we had consumed two bottles of this great chardonnay from Santa Barbara, so we were pretty tipsy by the time we left the restaurant. but not tipsy enough for me to ever forget each detail of this meal. it was just THAT GOOD.

they have a vegetarian kaiseki for you veggies too, so everyone should definitely try this place at least once- it’s a very special experience. not cheap, but at $80 for a 8 course meal ($60 for restaurant week), it’s not over the top either. i’ve officially booted Gramercy Tavern out of my top 5 restaurants (in my “for special occasions” slot), and Sugiyama, for now, sits comfortably in its place.

*k*

japanese restaurant week 3/4-3/12

March 2, 2007

looks like a slew of japanese food companies and the tourism agency are putting on a Japanese Restaurant Week from sunday 3/4-monday 3/12 (odd dates, but i’ll take it). not quite sure what the prices will be like or what kind of “discount” it will end up being- i’m guessing they will all differ, seeing that there are restaurants of different price points on the list.

my recommendations are:
Gyu-Kaku (japanese style bbq)
Sakagura (awesome sake bar hidden under midtown, excellent desserts)
Soba-ya (i was just there last week- since the holy Honmura An has closed its doors for good, this is the best we’ve got now)

i hear that EN Brasserie is good as well, but a trendier crowd (hence $$$), but their homemade tofu is supposed to be excellent. Sushiden is a NY sushi establishment among japanese businessmen and of course, you’ve all heard of Nobu. i would warn against Minca and Sushi Samba, but with so many other great places on the list, you shouldn’t go there anyway.

i myself am extremely stoked to be going to Sugiyama, which is known for their “kaiseki ryori”- very traditional, very artful, very gorgeous. will let you know!

*k*

ps- i want to go to Donguri for a sushi bonanza- whoooo’s coming with me?