Restaurant Review: Ikinari Steak

Details: Located at 90 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003. Official site is http://ikinaristeakusa.com/

Ikinari Steak is the latest, trendy import from Japan. This place has been all over social media and the food blogs. The idea is that you get good quality steak, fast. And you don’t get to sit down. They have standing tables. Luckily, the hype around eating steak while standing as well as how packed the place was has died down and I got to eat in a less crowded Ikinari Steak while sitting down.

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Restaurant: Kiku Japanese Restaurant

Details: Located at 50 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019. I couldn’t find the official site so here’s the Yelp page: https://www.yelp.com/biz/kiku-japanese-restaurant-new-york-2

Kiku is one of those completely not authentic Japanese takeout restaurants. In fact, it’s the kind of restaurant that you find online and order takeout from, but one you never actually visit. As someone who has actually visited this place, I can say that its actual location is kind of a shit hole.

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Restaurant Review: Sakagura

Details: Located at 211 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017. The official site is http://www.sakagura.com/

I’ve never walked out of a tapas place completely satisfied. Not European tapas, American tapas, Asian tapas, or any kind of tapas. It’s mostly because tapas — at least in New York City — generally cost a lot of money for a little bit of food. I always walk out of tapas restaurants with an empty wallet and mostly empty stomach. The same was true of Sakagura.

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Restaurant Review: Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare

 

Details: Located at 200 Schermerhorn St, Brooklyn, NY 11201. The food is a combination of French, American, and Asian influences.

After reading an article on how incredibly racist Cesar Ramirez at Chef’s table is toward Chinese people, I thought to offer testimony as to my experience at the restaurant.

For those unfamiliar, Chef’s Table is (at the time I wrote this) one of only a handful of three-starred Michelin restaurants in the United States (there are around ten in the country), one of seven of such restaurants in New York City, and the only one in Brooklyn. The Michelin star is currently the gold standard in restaurant reviews and three stars is the most anyone can get.

Of note is the set up. The restaurant only seats around eighteen people with nine people per serving (Momofuku Ko has a similar set up, but has since lost its three star rating). Reservations are taken at least thirty days in advance (and only on Mondays) unless there are vacancies. The reservation system is somewhat standard for restaurants of this type and cost. Speaking of costs, everything is paid before the meal with total costs being around 300 US dollars (at the time of my meal).

The food is a combination of French haute and Japanese, a fusion. Dishes range from roast squab and truffles to sea urchin and Wagyu beef. They only serve dinner ( and only a couple of servings per  night). Dinner consists of fifteen to twenty relatively small dishes meant to showcase the Chef’s ability. The menu changes periodically depending on what chef Ramirez wants to do.

Now for my experience.

Arrival was fine and the staff was nice. The setting is intimate as you can see the kitchen and all food being prepared. What was disheartening was the rule against note taking and pictures. Afterwards, chef Ramirez would tell us that pictures were banned because of an unfavorable article written about him using a picture. I read somewhere else that note taking was to prevent people stealing his recipes. It sort of felt like being in kindergarten.

The food was very good, and may be the best meal I’ve ever had. Everything was delicious, but a few dishes were especially noteworthy.

The imported uni on toasted brioche with truffle sauce and a slice of truffle on top is something I will never forget. It was my favorite thing on the menu. I could have eaten twenty of those. Maybe more.

The chawanmushi with foie gras was interesting. The soup was almost entirely clarified butter.

The truffle cream risotto was the most comforting dish I’ve ever had.

The shiso sorbet was refreshing.

The wagyu beef… tasted like a very tasty sponge. With citrus.

In regards to who our fellow eaters were, seven out of the nine people on my side of the table were of Asian descent, likely Chinese. Two seemed to be fellow chef friends. Two others were regulars who were on their fifth visit to Chef’s Table. If Chef Ramirez hates the Chinese, he certainly didn’t show it then. He was reserved, but courteous.

Even more surprising, treatment of another class of individual was also  fairly respectful: VEGETARIANS. From what I observed, their food was also delicious (Chef’s Table accommodates vegetarians; don’t know about complete vegans) and they were treated no different from other customers.

Score: 8.8/10 Great meal, but I doubt I will ever return. There are other Michelin starred restaurants to visit.

Edit: Here’s a fast and dirty list of dishes, not in any order. It was written down from memory.

Uni with black truffle on brioche, chawanmushi with foie gras and seafood, oyster with truffle (mushroom gravy), Shiso ice cream, wagyu with daikon, turbo with green pea, koti kashi (rice) with black truffle, two sashimi dishes, two cooked dishes, caviar with cauliflower, lobster (not so good), soba tea ice cream, spiced iced cream with sugar globe, petite fours, and squab.