Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bouley, NYC

Bouley, 9/22/2014, $55/5 Courses Lunch, French
Bouley has undergone a renovation recently. I was eager to see what Chef Bouley did to this classic place. The carpet and upholstery are new although still remains in the same color system of soft light brown and yellow. The raised floral bed was removed to make room for a few more tables. Instead, floral arrangements are used to display the flowers. The ambiance is still elegant, nice and striking. We decided to have the 5-Course Luncheon Tasting Menu for $55.

Amuse Bouche

1.Tomato and Strawberry Soup, Served with cucumber, tomato granitée, soy ice cream and fennel flower.

Chilled strawberries were at the bottom, pickled cucumber was used for another layer and then tomato granitée was placed as the top layer. It offered a very refreshing taste, perfect for a palate opener. To make the dish looks visually more presentable, an adorable Fennel flower was sitting on the top. It reminded me of the flowers usage at San Pau in Spain.

2.Kudzu Bread, Served with potato and cheese purée and topped with truffles.

Potato purée was so smooth and French cow cheese Langres was not so strong but just enough to render the “cheesy” flavor. Kudzu is also called “Japanese Arrowroot”. It’s called gé gēn in Chinese and is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs in Chinese medicine. Most important, it is a very healthy product and is one type of gluten-free starch thickener. The making of Kudzu bread would take more than two days of work. It involved fermenting of Kudzu root with yeast and sugar for two days. Then, bake the dough into bread. It was a very time-consuming process. Since this item is an Amuse Bouche, it was served with a bite size. I wouldn’t mind to have more bites of it.

Among all the Michelin Starred restaurants that I have visited in NYC, Bouley offers the best selections and quality breads. If you are a gourmet bread fan, you need to starve yourself for a day before you dine in Bouley. The varieties of bread include apricot pistachio, walnut saffron, apple raisin rolls, cinnamon raisin, roasted garlic, roasted onion, rosemary olive, sour dough baguette, sour dough olive etc. To compare with other internationally well-known starred restaurants that I have visited, Bouley is only next to El Raco da can Fabes in Spain in terms of the varieties and quality of bread. Bouley’s breads are all truly gourmet, I would be happy if I just eat Bouley’s bread only. However, I have to refrain myself from eating too much bread when dining in this restaurant because I need to save some stomach room for the good food.

1st Course – Lobster Paté, Lobster Meat, Artichoke Heart and Parsley.

I was going to order “Blini of Scottish Smoked Salmon” from the menu. But, I was offered “Lobster Paté” as a substitute because its kitchen ran out of Smoked Salmon. I had no complaint about the substitute. It was lobster meat slightly seasoned with paprika and mixed with artichoke hearts and parsley, wrapped in Serrano ham, and served with sauce made of tamarind and roasted red pepper purée and passion fruit sauce. The quality and taste of this dish is so perfect and well balanced that a similar dish of “Octopus Pastrami” that I had recently at Batard lost some luster in comparison.

2nd Course - Porcini Flan, Golden Princess crab, black truffle dashi.

I have always been very fond of this dish. Over the years I have chosen this dish nine out of ten times whenever I dined at Bouley. It had a thin layer of egg custard at the bottom. Egg custard was cooked to perfect, tender and smooth. Then, topped with two different types of crabs, left side was Princess Crab and right side was Alaskan crab. Both types of crab meat taste fresh and tender. On top of crab meat was chopped Porcini mushroom. The taste was fabulous, the preparation was perfect.

3rd Course A - Organic Long Island Duck, Organic Golden Nevada Dates, Hudson Valley Hand Milled Polenta.

Only duck breast was used in this dish. It was prepared according to my instruction of “medium rare”. It was served with wheat berries, duck prosciutto, Japanese turnip. Sauce had a strong taste of date. Mashed potato was served as a side dish. The potatoes were from NY update Finger Lake region. The mashed potatoes were so tasty that it virtually melted in your mouth.

3rd Course B - Slow Braised Kobe Style Beef Cheeks, Blue Kale Gnocchi.

My sister had Kobe Beef Cheeks. It was braised with red wine and adequately seasoned. It was sumptuous and juicy, definitely had a better quality than other types of beef. Kale gnocchi had s slight taste of kale. The mashed potatoes were also served as a side dish. It was another perfect dish.

4th Course - Chilled Coconut Soup, Pineapple granite, 10 exotic fruit sorbet, amaretto ice cream

This course was served as a palate cleanser before the formal desert. Amaretto ice cream had it refreshing almond and liqueur taste and 10 exotic fruit sorbet was wonderful. I could taste the flavor of passion fruit, pineapple, lemon and lime.

5th Course - Hot Valrhona Chocolate Soufflé, White Coffee Cloud, Coffee Ice Cream, Chocolate Mousse
Both I and my sister ordered chocolate plate. Chocolate Mousse was baked with right timing, a bit soft in the center and smooth. I loved the white coffee cloud, with a strong coffee flavor and a bit of vanilla but without the bitter taste on the tongue. This course probably gave me so much caffeine enabling me to go on with good pace for the rest of the day.

Petit Four – multiple flavor of bite-size of candies, including tea flavored chocolate, sesame cracker,
Earl Gray tea flavored chocolate truffle and hazelnut flavored chocolate truffle. They were all visually presentable and palatably superb. 

There are quite a few Michelin starred restaurants in NYC offer prix-fixed lunch; most of them are the 3-course type. Bouley’s 5-course lunch stands out in terms of ultra-attentive services, quality, quantity, variety and value. I am eager to find out any other Michelin starred restaurants offer better valued lunch.   

Monday, July 7, 2014

11 Madison Park, NYC

Eleven Madison Park, 6/28/2014, $225 (excluding taxes & gratuity)/14 Courses, French/Molecular

Eleven Madison Park has been my favorite restaurant in NYC, I somehow like it more than Per Se. I decided that we would have a special occasion at Eleven Madison Park on 6/28/14. I liked to see how much has been changed from my previous visit in Sept. 2013. The menu style remains the same offering prix fixe at $225 for 14-16 courses. Unlike the European fine dining restaurants, amuse bouche at Eleven Madison is not something additional outside the framework of menu; it is part of the 14 courses.

Before we started, each guest was given an envelope. Inside each envelope there was a card with four different flavors indicated. My card had celery, strawberry, cherry, and blueberry. The flavor each guest chose would be the theme flavor for the evening. I chose cherry as my theme flavor.

1st Course – Cheddar, Savory Black and White Cookie with Apple

It was a black-and-white (two-colored) cookie with cheddar cream sandwiched in between two pieces of shortbread, looking vertically, half in cream white and the other half in off black. The texture of the cookie resembled more like shortbread, but, with a much lighter and softer taste. The white part of glaze was made of cocoa butter and the off-black part was made of vegetable ashes. Since cheddar cream was mixed with green apple, it produced a mild taste of cheddar. Both halves of the white and black taste outstandingly well with the cheddar and apple cream.

2nd Course – Oyster, Baked Potato Ice Cream and Caviar

There were two parts for this course. One was a fresh piece of oyster from Elliot, Maine in vinaigrette sauce. The other was baked potato crème fraiche with Royal Sterling caviar. Oyster was very fresh and refreshing in vinaigrette sauce. I recalled I had mashed potato ice cream as a palate cleanser a year ago at L’Astrance. Here at Eleven Madison, potato was used for part of cream as a savory dish instead of a palate cleanser. Creative chefs can use the same ingredient for different purposes. The potato cream was softer than the ordinary cream, but may be because of the potato’s texture.

3rd Course – Morel, Custard with Maine Sea Trout Roe

There was Morel custard at the bottom of the bowl with orange color of Main Sea Trout Roe on the side. Morel mushroom custard was delicious and with the right consistency, gave you a melt in your mouth kind of taste. Main Sea Trout Roe had a mild taste so that not to overwhelm Morel’s taste.

4th Course – English peas, Warmed with Meyer Lemon and Egg Yolk

Peas can be made into a very impressive dish. English peas were from upstate NY. They were so young and tender, served with drops of Meyer lemon juice and cured egg yolks and cute tiny lavender flowers. This peas dish was truly excellent. Last time I had another excellent peas dish was at RyuGin in Tokyo in May 2014. Even if you are not vegetable lovers, you would love this pea dish.

5th Course – Beef, Pastrami with Ramps, Rye, Mustard, and Cherry

NYC is famous for its kosher food. This course imitated the well-known Katz Deli’s sandwiches. I got an open rye sandwich with house made pastrami. There were four pieces of pastrami in the plate, two lean pieces and two marbled pieces. Around the piece of open rye bread, there were drops of flavors made of peas, mustard and lemon drops. Pastrami was excellent in both texture and flavor. Since I chose cherry as my theme flavor for the evening, I got a bottle of house made cherry soda. It was quite flavorful because it had much less artificial ingredients than what you would get from most of the markets.

Around this time, we got our favorite brioche-croissants. They were made from Finger Lake whole wheat flour, so flaky and crunchy on the skin part that you wouldn’t waste a single crumb. They were served with two butters, one ordinary butter and another that was butter mixed with lamb fat with crunchy lamb crumbs on top. I would love to eat half-a-dozen. But, if I do I would problems in finishing the whole meal.

6th Course – Foie Gras, Cured with Orange-Chamomile, White Asparagus and Bitter Almond

It was Hudson Valley Foie Gras served with white asparagus foam. White asparagus foam looked a bit thicker than ordinary foam. On top of the foie gras, there was a piece of almond tuile (thin cracker) and slight caramel sauce. It was a very refreshing. Almond Tuile was a true piece of work, with the nice texture, flavor and fine, thin appearance.

7th Course – Apple, Waldorf salad with Celery, Rhubarb and Walnuts

The original version of Waldorf salad is comprised of three ingredients – apple, celery and mayonnaise. There were two parts for this dish. The 1st part was the salad served with local blue cheese, candied walnut and pickled rhubarb. Our server went thru the whole preparation process from a wheeled cart in front of our table. The 2nd part of this course was soup made of apple and celery, garlic and crouton. There was a small piece of apple jelly rested by the spoon which was placed on a dimple especially carved on the inside of the bowl to hold the spoon’s spot. Soup was excellent, with well-balanced taste and very refreshing.

8th Course – Lobster, Poached with Beets, Ginger and Nasturtium

There were two small chunks of lobster tail poached in butter to keep its tenderness, juice and flavor. They were served with roasted beets (in red color), and dehydrated and then roasted beets (in off-black color). Nasturtium is the largest green leaf in the plate. It is the 1st time that I have ever tasted this vegetable. It did not have a distinctive taste. It might be used for the visual appearance.

It seemed that chef Daniel Humm has adopted more from Noma’s approach of emphasizing the old ways of drying, smoking, pickling and curing, and turning the dial toward the natural world. This new adoption was reflected in a few dishes.

9th Course – Asparagus, Braised with Potato and Black Truffle

This course had some showmanship. One of the chefs came to our table with a pot, sitting inside the pot was a transparent looking ball with about 6-in of diameter. When you looked carefully, there were some sprigs of asparagus at the bottom of the ball. This ball was pig’s bladder. When asparagus were cooked in a sealed environment, their flavor was better preserved. In addition, the flavor from pig’s juice also enhanced asparagus’s flavor. Asparagus was served with black truffle and pork juice, potato purée, and black truffle purée. I enjoyed the taste very much, but, was a bit disappointed because I only got one single sprig of asparagus.

10th Course – Lamb, Broth with Cured Lamb and Watercress Roasted with Lettuce, Garlic and Onion Blossoms

There were two parts in this course. The 1st was lamb broth on a chip. Lamb broth was condensed into jelly form and sat on a piece of chip. Very simple looking, but was very sumptuous. The 2nd part was the trilogy of various parts of young lamb prepared in 3 different ways – shoulder (in square shape), torchon (in round shape), and loin cooked medium rare. Each of the trilogy offers different levels of taste. Shoulder offered the spiciest taste, and loin offered the most tender texture. They were served with braised gem lettuce and onion blossoms.

11th Course – Fresh Cheese, Parsley and Pickled Pearl Onion

The original item was a piece of picnic bread, sausage and a bottle of beer. Since I did not like it when I visited Eleven Madison Park last September, I was offered the fresh cheese course instead. Cow’s milk cheese was from Salem, upstate NY, served with pickled pearl onion and parsley. Fresh cheese was fresh, but, taste was not as full of flavor as the imported ones. Using pickled pearl onion was a brilliant idea to enhance the overall taste.

12th Course – Whey, Sorbet with Caramelized Milk and Milk Foam

This is a very quasi-Noma dish. Unfortunately, the dairy products produced in upstate NY had a different level of acidity from what produced in the Nordic region. Sorbet had an overly strong acidic taste and we were offered to have coconut milk flavored sorbet instead. However, it still did not work out well and was not as balanced as the other dishes.

13th Course – Almond, Baked Alaska with Rum, Caramel and Cherry

A beautifully arranged meringue was set in a plate. Our server set the rum sitting in a small pot on fire and sprinkled plenty of rum around the meringue. The meringue was consequently lit on fire and while some of the alcohol burned off. She sprinkled rum very evenly and slowly to make sure the optimal synergy of all ingredients. Then, the whole plate was returned to the kitchen for serving into the individual plate. When each of us received our individual plate, we noticed that there were candied cherries and toasted almonds scattered around the meringue. You can taste rum in every bite.

14th Course – Brownie Sundae, Marsh Mellow, Vanilla Ice Cream, Salted Caramel

We were asked whether we would like to have more deserts and were offered a chocolate themed dessert. Chunks of marshmallow, vanilla ice cream, salted caramel were all in a thin, edible chocolate bowl. That size of chocolate bowl is difficult to make and handle.

15th Course – Pretzel, Chocolate Covered with Sea Salt

Each of us got a chocolate covered pretzel hung on a rack. It was a simple version of petit-four.

16th Course – Chocolate, Sweet Black and White Cookie with Mint

It looked the same like the starting course, except this one was a dessert, not a savory dish. In a way, each guest made a full trip from beginning to end, from the first black-and-white cookie to the second one.

We were offered the opportunity to visit their kitchen. Because it was Saturday night, kitchen was quite busy that we had to wait. While we were waiting, we were offered another light course of dessert.

Extra Course

Chamomile Cheese Cake with Raspberry Sorbet. Chamomile cheese cake was very creamy and had the taste of chamomile. It was served with raspberry syrup. Raspberry sorbet was very refreshing, especially for a summer night.

Kitchen Tour and Additional Extra Course

When they were ready to show us their kitchen, we were offered a jar of their house made granola comprised of roasted oats, multiple grains, raisins and roasted sliced almond. I have always liked their cereal; it was tastier than other cereals. Once you had the taste of it, other cereals seem to be a bit boring.

As we walked into the kitchen, the 1st thing that I noticed was the reception area has some new counters. Other than that the structure of the rest of the kitchen remained the same (4 major stations) as what I saw last September. We also noticed as the dining hall staff brought in orders he/she would make a loud announcement of the numerical number. In turn, the kitchen staff (one from each station) who received the order would make a simultaneous loud response in French “oui” in quasi-military style acknowledging “YES, we received the order”.

However, they have got something new going this time. They have acquired a vintage ice-shaving machine and reconstructed and tweaked it with some engineering expertise. The machine is able to produce a coarse level of shaved ice. We were thrilled when each of us was offered a cup of freshly shaved ice with apple syrup, apple jack, and jasmine infused cream. It was so good that I had to restrain my urge to request for more. It was surely and truly a happy ending for a wonderful meal in town.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mizutani, Tokyo

May 10, 2014, Mizutani, JPY 20,000 (lunch), Japanese

Mizutani is located between Ginza station and Shinbashi station. But, the Google map that I got indicated to use Shinbashi station exit #3. When I was trying to get out of Shinbashi I found out exit # 3 was closed, therefore, I got out from exit #4. That immediately threw me out of balance. I asked a woman for help. She could not figure out which direction to pursue because she is not a local resident and in turned asked another woman for help. This 2nd woman, a local resident of Ginza, called the restaurant for direction and was able to figure out. She was kind enough to escort me to the restaurant taking a 10-minute walk. After I got out of the restaurant I decided to do window shopping in Ginza and found out it was more convenient to use Ginza station exit 8 (under the famous Mitsucoshi Dept. Store) than to use Shinbashi station. Tokyo beats any other cities in the world in terms of the difficulty and confusion incurred in finding a specific location. 

Mizutani is located on the 9th floor of Juno building in Ginza. There are a max of 10 seats around an L-shaped counter. I was seated at the far end of the long-sided counter right in front of Chef Mizutani’s assistant-chef. Chef Mizutani is a bit friendlier than Chef Jiro although with the same level of un-communicable English proficiency. He made it clear right at the beginning that no photo was allowed on food. Among the customers, there were two Asian women (from Singapore), two Japanese women, and a party of 3 Japanese (two men and one woman), a single Japanese man and me. One Japanese man in the 3-party group could speak English fluently and was able to serve as a translator. This kind act helped to make the atmosphere lighter than the tense atmosphere that I had experienced at Jiro Sushi Roppongi.

Chef Mizutani was a long time disciple of old Chef Jiro before that he set up his own sushi bar. He followed the similar pattern of old Jiro’s legendary soft-handed two-finger technique that pairs fresh nigiri cuts from the Tsukiji fish market with warm and delicate rice. At Mizutani, I noticed the room temperature was a bit higher than the setting at Jiro Sushi Roppongi. I ordered the 17-course tasting menu.

1st Course – Fluke (Hirame)
2nd Course – Gizzard shark (Kohada)
3rd Course – Squid (Ika)
4th Course – Tuna (Maguro)
5th Course – Middle fat tuna (Chu-toro)
6th Course – Fat tuna (Oo-toro)
7th Course – Large scallop (Tairagai)
8th Course – Small bay scallop (Kobashiya)
I truly appreciated the arrangements of two different kinds of scallop served sequentially to let the customer enjoy the similarity and difference.
9th Course - Mantis crab/shrimp
Although it is called mantis crab becaseu if has got crab's strong claws, it actually looks more like shrimp with a long body. Therefore, sometimes it is called mantis shrimp. There are ample amount of eggs (like crab eggs) ensconced in the middle of body running from neck to tail. The texture is a cross-breed between crab and shrimp. I got a photo of baby mantis crab when I visited the Tsukiji  market.

10th Course – Geoduck clam (Mirugai)
11th Course – Needle fish (Sayori)
12th Course – Shrimp (Kuruma-ebi)
Cooked shrimp was tenderer than what I ate at Jiro (son) Sushi Roppongi.
13rd Course – Horse Mackeral (Aji)
14th Course – Abalone (Awabi)
15th Course – Sea urchin (Uni)
16th Course – Sea eel (Anago)
17th Course – Egg Omelet (Tamago)
Mizutani’s tamago was noticeable better than Jiro’s. It had slightly softer and smoother texture than Jiro’s.

During our conversation, I asked my translator of the comparison between Jiro and Mizutani. My translator informed me that he has been a regular customer at Mizutani and prefers Mizutani to Jiro because Mizutani has further refined Jiro’s technique. Although I have never been to old Jiro’s sushi bar to say that I agreed with my translator’s finding, I could at least say that Mizutani (Michelin 3-star) is definitely more refined than Jiro (son) Sushi (Michelin 2-star) Roppongi. Overall, the quality and taste were excellent at Mizutani and I also had the luxury of a more relaxed atmosphere at a more reasonable price. Mizutani doesn't accept any credit card becasue they believe in saving costs and pass along the savings to customers.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Nihonryori RyuGin, Tokyo

May 9, 2014, Nihonryori RyuGin, JPY 29,700, Japanese

RyuGin was the 2nd of the three appointments that I was able to secure through Amex’s Concierge. It is located in Roppongi Hills, the very same metro station that I got off at when I went to Jiro. It is located right across the street from the chic Roppongi Hills complex. I followed the Google map provided by a very kind friend and was able to find it easily. I arrived a bit early, but the receptionist let me in right away. The max capacity is for 14 people and the place is decorated with theme color of black rendering a very soothing atmosphere. “Nihonryori” means Japanese cuisine and “RyuGin” means dragon’s hymn, probably referring to dragon’s happiness from enjoying the restaurant’s cuisine. To be consistent with its name, RyuGin had one side of wall decorated with a wall-to-wall painting of dragon. The background music also provided with a very relaxing atmosphere.

I ordered the 8-course tasting menu. RyuGin serves Kaiseki style cuisine which emphasized enjoying your meal with moderate pace (no rush). On the menu, above the description of each course, there was a phrase indicated to reflect the spirit of the course.

Beginning with a variety of Sensations … Seasonality, Aroma, Temperature, Texture and Assemblage
1st Course – Appetizer

1) Assorted Spring Vegetables with Shellfish and a sip of Clam Clear Soup

Clam clear soup was very fresh and delicious, not spicy at all. Raw Horse Clam was topped with many fancy spring vegetables such as: Ostrich Fern (a light minty fern), bamboo shoots, spinach, fresh fried water chestnut, murame (red color), urui (light green), and tempura coated fukinoto, grilled little green broccoli. The tall green color vegetable which stood out in the picture was kogomi, it was something that I have never had before. It had a unique taste, sort of a combination of spinach, broccoli and sweet peas. I loved all these vegetables; each was prepared to perfection according to its texture and flavor.

Horseshoe clam was raw, but it was not sliced like sashimi. It was in chunk and was tender and succulent.

2) Grilled Firefly Squids and Young Peas on Egg Custard

Firefly Squids live in deep sea and make light like lightning bugs. Spring time is the most ideal season to eat them because the flavor is the best during the spring time. They were tenderer than the ordinary squids and with a bit milder flavor. Egg Custard is RyuGin’s house specialty; it was made from steamed eggs and flavored with caramel. Young peas were so young and tender that even if you are not a vegetable lover would fall in love with them.

Philosophy on the Ichiban Dashi-Taste of the Wind that Captures a Moment
2nd Course – Kuruma Prawn Dumpling and Simmered Abalone in Luxurious Presentation

These prawns were from Kyushu Island in Southern Japan. Prawns were covered with rice cake and steamed abalone (from Hokkaido in Northern Japan) served in dashi soup (made with kumbu and benito). Shrimp dumpling appeared in orange color because paste had egg yolk in the mixture. Both abalone and prawns were outstanding with flavor and freshness. It also reflected chef’s efforts to balance the natural taste of the quality seafood with limited spices.

A Message from the Coast of Japan – Richness of the Sea, Tidal Current 
3rd Course - Ocean’s Delicacy Array of 7 plates RyuGin style

They were 7 items of sashimi. In the 1st picture, upper right item was Stone fish served with ponzu sauce and scallion, lower right picture was smoke bonito with mustard sauce, lower left item was custard of abalone liver topped with hairy crab meat, and upper left was Botan shrimp from Hokkaido served with ginger sauce and freshly chopped cucumber. In the 2nd picture, on the right hand was Monk fish liver (in light orange color) served with kinomi (pepper & lime) sauce, bottom picture was butter fish with vinegar and soy sauce jelly, and left hand side was squid served with salt and citrus and nori seaweed. Each of these items was super fresh, refreshing, tasty, and unique. Abalone liver custard and monk fish liver were especially prepared with great creativity.

Exquisiteness – Power of the Ingredients
4th Course - Fresh Sea Urchins in Lace wrapping flash Fried

Fresh sea urchin wrapped in nori seaweed and rice pepper, then, quickly fried. It was served with edamame paste at the bottom and kinomi leaves on the top. The texture of sea urchin was still semi-raw after fried process; imagine the equipment used must be so special to produce the ideal end product. This was the 1st time that I ever tasted fried sea urchin.

Binchotan – A Powerful Scent of Charcoal Grill . . .
5th Course - Cherry Salmon and Vegetables with Pine Nuts Dressing

Cherry Salmon from Hokkaido = white salmon. A few years ago, I had it when I was in Buenos Aires. Later, I had it in NYC twice. White salmon tastes less fishy than the ordinary salmon and has a paler color. This dish was grilled medium-rare and covered by cherry blossom leave with chopped onion in between. Chopped daikon was served on one side and spring vegetables (baby corn, and celery) were served on another side with pine nuts sauce. On this trip, I learned that cherry blossom is for visual enjoyment as well as gastronomical pleasure.

Palate Cleanser – Apple pickled with ginger

Diverse History of Wagyu – Grass fed free range Akage Beef from Aso
6th Course - Akage Beef filet Charcoal Sukiyaki style with Crispy Poached Egg

Wagyu beef was grilled rare-medium with Sukiyaki sauce. It was the top quality beef and perfectly aged. On top of beef, there were smoked and grilled white asparagus from Saga, sautéed julienned onion and chrysanthemum leaves. On the very top was a boiled and fried egg with egg yolk still running inside. I was suggested to break the egg first and let the yolk dripped on to beef before I started eating beef. I dearly loved this smoked and grilled white asparagus; it was as good as my favorite at Mathias Dahlgren in Stockholm. This Crispy egg was really a fun thing to do as well as to eat.

The land of Rice Plants – Pleasure of eating of the same trencher, Niigata rice
7th Course - Simmered rice flavored with Cherry Blossom tea and Sakura shrimp from Surugawan Bay Pickles and Red Miso Soup

It was a trio - rice was cooked with Sakura tea, baby shrimp fried and miso soup was cooked with shrimp shell and green seaweed on top. This bowl of miso soup was the best miso soup that I have ever had. Sitting on the side of the rice bowl was a roll of colorful pickled vegetables (daikon, plum, white asparagus, koniyaku, yellow daikon and Chinese mustard green) wrapped in baby cabbage leave. All pickled vegetables were delicious. I was asked whether I would like to have another bowl of rice when I finished everything. This time I remembered to ask my server whether the offer was complimentary or not. I am not a big rice eater; in this occasion I happened to prefer miso soup and pickled vegetables. My server went along with my person preference and brought additional serving of miso soup and pickled vegetables.

Lusciousness – Coolness, Warmth, Playful Spirits, Nostalgia and Temptation
8th Course – Deserts
1)One Piece of Strawberry

A candy-shell strawberry filled with nitrogen-frozen strawberry essence and powdered sugar. The strawberry looked absolutely adorable. When I broke it open, I saw what was inside. It was served with strawberry stew. It was definitely a very creative light desert.

2)Hot Sake and Cold Sake Sweet Flavors

They were Sake ice cream and Sake souflée. This serving of Sake ice cream was the best that I have ever had and Sake souflée had a firmer texture (It did not tank when you started eating it) and enough Sake flavor. I was very contented with these cold and hot twin deserts.


Frothy matcha tea was served near the end of meal.

My dinner at Ryugin was the best meal I had during this trip of Tokyo. I made three reservations at Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi, RyuGin and Sushi Mizutani. Throughout the entire meal, the dishes displayed creativity, artistic presentation and exceptional skill across a wide variety of techniques. Many individual items were the best that I have had in their categories. Service was attentive, impeccable and friendly. Atmosphere was resting and relaxing. At the end of the meal I met Chef Yamamoto who was such a friendly and cordial person in his forty. I praised him for the sumptuous meal served, he was very pleased. As I walked out of the restaurant, he made a bow to say good bye. If you would like to have one truly enjoyable fine Japanese meal, this is the place.