Sunday, November 01, 2009

Birthday Kaiseki

For my birthday, Ryan treated me to a fancy Kaiseki, or Japanese tasting menu, at Kozue.
We donned our best duds and headed out to Shinjuku to the restaurant on one of the top floors of the Park Hyatt (of Lost in Translation infamy).

Here is the top half of our menu. Every item was prepared by a different cooking method and each came in a uniquely crafted dish. Here is seared Bonito I believe.
And here is simmered surf clam with some cooked sea urchin and dried seaweed. These first two appetizers were amazing.
The soup course came in beautiful earthenware pots nestled in wooden baskets. We were told that a small quantity of soup should be poured into the tiny bowl with a good squeeze of the lime and sipped first. Then we could open the lid and fish out all the larger chunks with chopsticks.

Sashimi included toro, ebi, mounds of fresh seaweed and the surprise treat was that they were out of turbot and instead served us blowfish, a very special delicacy, wrapped around thinly- sliced scallions.

Then came assorted delicacies (two of each) in a ceramic basket, covered with a large lotus leaf.

All were autumn-themed and included a variety of tastes and textures. There was firm, gooey, gummy (the reddish brown cube), crunchy (fried bit), slimy (in the little bowl), mushy (chestnut flavored thing), dopey and sneezy.

Okay - halfway there. Let's have some more sake and look around the room. Ooh nice art and an amazing view beyond that wall of windows. Sometime after the sashimi they actually moved us to a more intimate window seat. Thus the pictures get a little darker.

Here is the second half of the menu. Deep-fried flounder and a little bowl of crispy, salty bones with lime.

Simmered beef and mushrooms (above) and a very methodically-prepared rice course (below) with a big wooden squisher and several rice specific tools I have never seen.

And I think for dessert they must have gone off menu and instead brought us one with creme anglaise and green tea sauce with a chestnut. Very yummy and not overly sweet. Even with dessert the focus was on subtle flavors.

Overall a really amazing meal and incredible service. I didn't get any pictures of them, but we were served by two women in beautiful kimonos. As we got in the elevator one server even gave us the deepest bow I have ever seen. As usual we were the very last ones to leave.

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