Aug 9, 2011

our japanese correspondent

darryl lives and works in tokyo, where he seems to spend all his time cultivating an extensive network of good places to eat. he ran across tsuru ni tachibana and we went there for the first time when i was in tokyo this january. it was a surprising, outstanding meal: classical kaiseki feeling, but with a selected set of the classical kaiseki trappings; the full report here. out of a sense of vague obligation to the old line restaurants, i'd also been to kikunoi in tokyo. tsuru ni tachibana blew it out of the water. (what is kaiseki? see here for a partial explanation.)

sometimes, darryl sends me annotated menus from when he eats there in order to tantalise and frustrate from a distance. i guess there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

this is the menu from february, verbatim:

  • kabura-mushi (steamed quenelle of mashed turnip with oyster, shirako, nameko etc)
  • hotaru-ika two ways: sashimi and steamed with kale puree; shin tamanegi tofu (another mighty tasty square); kyoto-style omelet with tuna innard sauce
  • sawara and shirako in broth
  • horse sushi
  • another beef steak, not an ichibo, with lightly pickled mizuna and kelp
  • soba with baby onion and bonito puree, baby onion slices, fried onion bits (this was amazing - like a variation on daikon-oroshi soba, except sweeter, sourer and less astringent)
  • black sesame pudding
and the latest menu from july (7/28/2011; italics indicate "exceptional deliciousness"):
  • chilled chawanmushi with shrimp and gingko, red capsicum sauce
  • smoked eggplant with fugu dashi gelee; raw oshu free range chicken nanban ae (some yuzu kosho in there); fruit tomato nanban-zuke; grilled madai with taramo (tarako + potato) sauce, smoked mackerel with black bean puree
  • bowl course with grilled sea bass and junsai
  • minced pork, leek and myoga spring roll with pumpkin sauce
  • simmered kamo eggplant with kikuchi beef rib roast and kujo negi sauce
  • cold somen in ago dashi
  • hoji-cha ice cream

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