NYC: Kajitsu in September

Just want to thank Greg for a memorable dinner this evening at Kajitsu. We did the 8-course Hana tasting with a pairing of 5 sakes. This was my second visit to Kajitsu, the first being dinner in July which I previously blogged about. Kajitsu’s menu changes once every month and the restaurant is strictly vegetarian, leaning close to vegan.

The conclusion gathered after speaking with diners that come once a month for each menu change was that some months are major hits and others are major misses. Luck of the draw, so check the menu online before picking which month to visit! The September menu this evening was wonderful, showcasing Kajitsu’s capabilities in a completely different, more impressive level, compared to July’s tasting.

Our meal, below.
Taro Dumplings with Black Daikon. Chive Shoots, Soy Sauce, and Ginger. Take a close look at the Black Daikon – they cut it to correspond to the exact shape of the moon tonight!

Tofu Chrysanthemum, Lobster Mushrooms and Chrysanthemum Petals. In Shitake and Konbu Broth. The tofu was cut to resemble the chrysanthemum flower, the lobster mushrooms lightly batter and fried, still crisp in the soup.
The moon theme continues with the second course…all the details make a meal…can you see the moon on the right side of the dish cover?

Matsutake Mushroom and Spinach Ohitashi. Panko Fried Matsutake Mushrooms with Pink Salt and Sudachi. Hearts of Palm with Wasabi, Pink Pepper and Truffle Oil.
A closer look at the Hearts of Palm with Wasabi, Pink Pepper and Truffle Oil….(is that a moon I see, the image formed from the two stack?)
…and the chilled Matsutake Mushroom and Spinach Ohitashi.

House-Made Soba with Hoji-Cha Leaves. Dipping Sauce…
…Umeboshi, Shiso, Sesame Seeds. No “moon” in this dish unfortunately ;)

The “main” course, and the most visually stunning. Simmered Late Summer Vegetables. Eggplant, Purple Cauliflower, Orange Bell Pepper, Tomato, Zucchini, Bok Choy, Edamame, Fried Yuba. On the top left is Corn Nama-Fu with Sweet Corn Miso Sauce. And on the right: Green Fig Tempura with Sesame Cream, all balanced on a bed of Arugula and Frisée…
…all the colours!! The Corn Nama-Fu (those two rectangular cuts tucked between thin slices of grilled corn), studded with sweet corn kernels, had us both ooh-ing and ahh-ing, it was the highlight of the evening. Later in the evening we spoke with the manager of the restaurant, and it turns out the owner of Kajitsu is based in Japan where he owns a Nama-Fu factory! Now that explains it!

Brown Rice with Julienne Nagaimo and Brown Rice Crisps. Aonori, Soy Sauce, Japanese Mustard…
…and House-Made Pickles…
…these are the Brown Rice Crisps, seasoned with soy sauce.

Ohagi‘ Sweet Rice Ball with Azuki Bean Paste. Nuts-infused Rice Milk and Cocoa Nibs.

Matcha Tea served with…
Candies by Kyoto Suetomi. Compare with the types of candies we received in July, which were made by Kyoto Kagizen-Yoshifusa.
KajitsuI love Matcha but it was almost 11pm by the time we reached this course and I knew that matcha’s high caffeine level would keep me from sleeping. What to do? Request other hot tea options. The waitress was very accommodating and a warm cup of Genmaicha was delivered to the table :)

Notes: Sit at the counter!! Makes a huge difference in the dining experience. I sat at the back room on my first visit and it’s like eating at two completely different restaurants. There’s exactly eight counter seats, six lined together on the longer side of the bar, and two seats on the shorter side. We sat at the two on the short side and had a fun view of the chef at work. We were one of the last diners to leave for the evening and the he shared with us with glasses of yuzu sake. A sweet end to the meal.

I hope to eventually, one day, someday, catch up on those posts from my visit back home to Hawai’i in May and Boston holiday earlier in August. So these posts might get mish-mashed with the Paris and Brittany ones after I return! :)

414 East 9th Street
New York, NY 10009
(212) 228-4873

NYC: Kyo Ya’s Kaiseki

Recently, I mentioned that I’d share photos from a kaiseki tasting menu I had at Kyo Ya earlier this summer. A massive thank you to Travis for inviting me out to this meal. It was truly exquisite and one of my most memorable dinners of the year. The tasting, which included 11 courses, took just over four hours, though time seriously flew by so quickly, one amazing dish presented after another, a perfect rhythm, flow. My favourite of all the dishes was the most simple, a sashimi platter (pictured at top) served on ice, individually portioned and perfect in every way. And that tower of fresh uni tongues on the left, each tongue lightly napped over the other! Can you imagine? Heaven indeed!

Photos, in order of the kaiseki, below.

Fried Bread Stuffed with Shrimp Paste

Baby Squid, Mustard Miso

Rolled Sushi, Tuna and Ginger, Egg…

Clam Mousse, Pureed Avocado, Cherry Blossom

Fresh Sashimi Platter

Fried Whole An Fish, Grilled Whole Abalone with Two Types of Miso, Butterfish

Mozuku with Grated Radish

Strawberries, Shrimp and Asparagus in Miso-Tofu Sauce, Caviar

Claypot Rice, Salmon, Ikura. On the Side: Miso Soup, Pickled Vegetables and Mushrooms

Sakura Jellies in Sweet Soup, Fresh Fruit, and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Hojicha Ice Cream (this was a “bonus” sweet course sent out after I had mentioned how much I loved their Hojicha Ice Cream on my last visit…I Sugar Rush’ed it on Serious Eats earlier this year…the ice cream alone is worth a visit to Kyo Ya whether or not you’re coming for the Kaiseki :)

94 E 7th Street
New York, NY 10079
(212) 982-4140