Sunday, April 10, 2016

New York Japanese jewels-a super lunch deal at Times Square's SHIMIZU and a beautiful BRUSHSTROKE tasting and experience in Soho(4-7-16)

I was in NYC for a quick business trip and was invited to a business lunch at the Washington-Jefferson Hotel (318 W 51st St) near Times Square where SHIMIZU-Sushi & Shochu Bar has it's home.
I could not believe the $19 or so lunch deal which not only included a bowl of some of the best MISO Soup, but also a small salad. This accompanies virtually any of the lunch combos, and I chose the Chef's Sushi Selection with a 6piece Mexican Roll(Yellowtail, scallion, avocado & Spicy Jalapeno mayo) which was really delicious and not that spicy. The sushi platter had a huge selection of large fish as well as a tofu sushi and I have to say that I was full before I even got to this (my hosts had ordered edamame & dumplings to start, which was just too much).
I spent the afternoon walking across Manhattan and visiting the Morgan Library then worked a bit before heading downtown to BRUSHSTROKE at 30 Hudson Street. The elegant restaurant has an all glass front looking into the happenings centered around a long sushi bar of about 20 seats. All the tables, chairs and floors are blonde wood yet quite comfortable. The service was beyond impeccable and I was constantly taken care of by the excellent staff. Sommelier Steven brought my plum colored, but not sweet UME SAWA, a cocktail of Kissui Rice Vodka, Casoni Aperetivo, Yuzu & Plum Jam and I perused the menu which consists of a couple of tasting options and ala carte as well.
I settled on the Spring Kaiseki Menu (at $135) which seemed to be what almost everyone else was doing and settled in for an amazing journey that lasted over 4 hours.
My servers Taylor & Dario always refilled my sparkling Saint Geron water which was very nice and a new brand for me, and of course, Steven always had the wine pairing (extra cost) to me just before each course so I could taste, and refilled when I really seemed to need more :-)). FYI an entire selection of photos can be seen on my FB page including that of the sushi master chef, Mitsunori Isoda, who was constantly working the most intricate miracles right in front of me for the entire evening.

Sakizuke:Cape Cod Scallop & Uni with Strawberry Lemon Foam and Tosazu Lemon Gel arrived and from from the first bite of the soft scallop combined with urchin I knew this was going to be a mouthful of flavor for each bite all night.

Nimonowan:Rabbit Sakura-Shinjo (dumpling) in Rabbit Dashi Broth was a soft rabbit white meat loin dumpling that was oh so tender in the most subtle of broths scattered with thinly sliced daikon and tasty cherry blossoms, which I later learned are dried on arrival to preserve them and give them a yummy slight crunch. Paired with a 2012 Ziereiser Spatburgunder from Baden, Germany with slight earthiness, thick legs and a lighter red body. The pairing, as they all were, was ingenious.

Tsukuri:Long Island Amadai Usuzukuri was a Tilefish sashimi from right nearby in Long Island(who knew??) magnificently presented with razor thin radishes and daikon as well as green scallions. The fish itself was buttery and rich and worthy of any great sushi master and accompanied by a superb soy dip that was blended with seaweed for amazing flavor. Here served with a Riesling Trocken from Karthauser Hof, Ruwer Dry in the Mosel (Ruhr) that had thick white legs, guts and a spicy finish.

Hashiyasume:this course was a Ramp & Bluefoot Mushroom Chawanmushi or Steamed Egg custard that was super thick like creme brulee, but rich and earthy with the ramp & mushroom flavors as well as pieces of bluefoot.  Steven brought me saki in a Waterford glass(some were Schott Crystal) Daishichi Minowamon , a superb smooth creamy rich higher in alcohol Junmai Daiginjo Kimoto from Fukushima that I fell in love with as it richness matched the custard. While the only thing I did not like all night was the small wooden spoon to eat this dish was because I could not really get all the custard at the bottom, I was thinking, Thomas Keller(whose reknowned custard at the French Laundry is world famous)--eat your heart out.

Hassun:Japanese Red Snapper Sakura(leaf) Sushi, Scottish Salmon Yuan-Yaki, Hawiian Hearts of Palm Soup was next and the dish was served with more cherry blossoms and Tasmanian Mustard Miso sauce. The Hearts of Palm was a creamy veggie soup that reminded me of squash soup with a Chive Sancho Oil swirl. the wine was a divine Domaine Lafon 2014 Mersault & Petite Mensang blend from Burgundy. At this point Chef Isoda handed over an additional plate that he created just for me with two pieces of Sashimi, Anago (sea eel) and Fatty Toro(tuna) with a warm soy sauce.....this was all so overwhelming, I did not know where to start between all 5 items, which were indeed amazing.

Shiizakana: The main course offers a choice and I opted for the Smoked Cherry Wood Grilled Long Island Duck Breast with Garlic Red Wine Reduction, Sakura Leaf, Onion Blossom, Flowers, Shanso Peppers and more; it was beautiful. The Santa Rita Jills 2012 Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara was brought by Steven as he also offered a bigger Domaine de la Cote from Lompoc next to it for comparison. I felt like a king unable to choose.

Gohan is the final savory course and also offered a choice of this rice based dish:Stewed Fuji-Pork Belly with Black Rice, Japanese Mustard, Chive with cucumber, Daikon, and Brine-Fermented Veggies with a Brown Miso on the side. I loved this, but was getting quite full by now and was happy to see more Sake arriving in the form of Hatsumago Junmai Kimoto,

Dessert is again a choice and I tried to go simple with Black Truffle Ice Cream with Tuffle Honey & Almond Nuts which arrived with a  gold leaf and reminded me of tiramisu gone truffle with chocolate powder, not to mention a drizzle of balsamic.
The wines were again a pair to compare with Rare Wine Co.Madeira Special Reserve Sercial from Charleston which was nice and a superb Marsala Superior Vignia di Miceia Oro Marco de Bartoli.

At this time I apologize for what must be multiple spelling errors, but not for indulging in this truly amazing experience made so special by the entire top notch team at BRUSHSTROKE, where a meal is truly a work of art.