Monday, October 21, 2013

Japan 2013 - Tokyo II

Kamameshi at Shofukuro
Our next dining stop in Tokyo was at Shofukuro, a Kansai-style restaurant located in the new Tokyo Building, a new skyscraper opposite Tokyo station, courtesy of our friends Ted P and the lovely Reiko.

The meal was beautiful and showed off the refinement and seasonality of Kansai (Kyoto) cuisine. My favorite presentation was the kamameshi (soupy rice) covered with chrysanthemum petals and topped with a karikari umeboshi (crunchy pickled small plum). What could better reflect the middle of October?

Bobby Jay

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Japan 2013 - Tokyo

My wife Joan, the leading dealer outside of Japan in contemporary Japanese ceramics, is leading another ceramics tour for some of her most avid clients. (See my numerous posts from November 2011 for a chronicle of her last tour.)

We are now in Tokyo preparing for the 2013 tour and visiting friends and Japanese art events and dealers. On our second night we were taken to Kuouesu, a counter-style restaurant whose owner-chef enjoys collecting fine ceramics and using them to present his refined food. As is typical of this type of restaurant, there were numerous courses, many of which highlighted autumnal foods and ingredients as well as showcasing the plates and vessels in which they were served.

Here are some examples:

More beautiful food to come as our trip unfolds.

Bobby Jay

Monday, October 7, 2013

One of the Best Meals I've Ever Cooked

We had dear friends for dinner last night, and one of the guests has complained that when he eats at fine restaurants, the food is too heavy and too much. So in his honor I made the following nearly all vegetarian meal (but with fish and a cake containing eggs and buttermilk). A huge success!

Hors d'oeuvres

Toasted baguette slices with Salvatore smoked ricotta and diced sun-dried tomatoes. My own idea.
Puff pastry bâtons filled with tapenade, inspired by Dorie Greenspan's Around My French Table.


Roasted butternut squash with sweet spices (fresh-ground allspice and smashed cardamom), limes and sliced jalapeño peppers, and yogurt-tahini sauce, slavishly following the recipe in Ottolenghi's brilliant Plenty. This was just sensational, with the interplay between the sweet cardamom and allspice, the sour limes and the spicy jalapeños mediated by the mild but nutty tahini-yogurt sauce.


Striped bass with preserved lemon dressing and baby carrots, from Joe Isadoro (via Ina Garten), with squished potatoes from Laura Calder. Another winning new dish, with wonderful freshly caught Long Island bass filets from the Sunday morning greenmarket behind the Museum of Natural History.


Simple salad of local micro greens with a mild citrus dressing.


Candied fennel lemon cake, from a 2009 Gourmet recipe, with homemade rosemary ice cream, both  standby favorites. The counterpoint between the licorice-y flavor of the fennel and the tartness of the lemon zest and juice leaves your head spinning but in a really nice, comforting way.

Everything came out perfectly, a nearly unprecedented feat for me. No leftover parsley or cilantro that I forgot to put in, nothing overcooked, etc. Lots of courses, but light enough for our friend and full-flavored enough for all of us.

Bobby Jay