Park Hyatt Tokyo Kozue’s Tohoku Heroes

Hatsumago Sparkling

Hatsumago Sparkling

Kozue at the Park Hyatt Tokyo is a lovely spot for Japanese cuisine. At lunch if the skies are clear you have a gorgeous view of Mount Fuji. At night the city twinkles below you.

Two years ago Kozue did a special Tohoku menu to show their support for three prefectures that were hit hard by the earthquake and tsunami, Fukshima, Miyagi, and Iwate. This year Kozue is repeating the Tohoku Heroes menu, but moving on to the other three prefectures, Aomori, Akita, and Yamagata.

Chef Kenichiro Ooe is from Yamagata, as is my family, so we share this connection with Tohoku. At a recent dinner at Kozue chef Ooe introduced many products and sake from Tohoku.

Koji Nishizaki, the manager of Kozue, gave lovely commentary on the sake with each course. We started the evening off with a sparkling sake from Hatsumago. Hatsumago is a lovely brewery from Sakata in Yamagata. I sold many bottles of Hatsumago when I worked at Takashimaya. It means the first grandchild. A lovely gift for new grandparents. It is only 10% in alcohol, so light on the palate and refreshing. A great start to any evening.


Hiraizumi Marubi 15, Yamahai Junmai, Akita Miyama-nishiki rice. The yeast that is used for this sake is called Akita kobo #15, where the sake gets its name. Although it is a yamahai sake, it is not too heavy as yamahai can be. A very food friendly sake.


Chef Ooe talked about visiting the Tohoku region to meet the farmers, ranchers, and fishermen behind many of the products that they are using. For example, the watarigani crab used in this starter has a local name of gazami. I love these local colloquialism regarding food. It seems to be especially prevalent with seafood. The crab is  steamed in sake, spinach, myoga, and Tosa-zu jelly. Tosa-zu is a classic tart dressing made with rice vinegar, soy sauce, mirin, and dashi. As a jelly it adds a nice texture to the dish. The Hatsumago sparkling paired well with the Tosa-zu jelly, myoga, and crab. Underneath is some kani-miso, or the offal of the crab, a delicacy and an unexpected and nice surprise. The rich kani-miso was rich and paired well with the Hiraizumi Yamahai Junmai.


Warm Aomori hokkigai appetizer with seri, maitake mushrooms, ginko nuts, and sansho was served with Hakkoda Oroshi Daiginjo. Both the hokkigai clam and sake are from Aomori, so a natural partner. I also love this dish with the accent on both edges of the bowl. Dining at Kozue is also a delight on the eyes. Each time I am here I come across new tableware that capture my attention. The Japanese eat with their eyes and taking in the vessels are part of the pleasure of dining at Kozue.


Owan soup bowl. Check out this lovely lacquer bowl with silver and gold circles. My neighbor at the dinner, a Japanese travel writer, said, “it is September”, like I should know why this bowl is being used this time of year. Of course, the harvest moon. So here you also get an appreciation that chef Ooe selected this bowl for this dish due to the time of year.


The owan soup course is a famous local dish called ichigoni of awabi and uni. I’ve tried it in the past and have never liked it, until now. Chef Ooe’s soup was rich in umami and the seafood was pristine. It didn’t hurt that there was matsutake mushrooms and other vegetables in the soup.


Denshu Tokubetsu Junmai from Aomori, lucky if you can get your hands on this sake. :-)

PHT Kozue sashimi

Chef Ooe sashimi presentation always has a big impact. How gorgeous is this large katakuchi bowl filled with crushed ice? This is a serving for three guests. Mimmaya bluefin tuna, makogarei, and amaebi. The fresh nori is always a treat. Chef Ooe commented that it is still early in the season and that the tuna was not as fatty as it will be later in the season as the water cools down.


Amanoto made with kuro koji from Akita. This was my favorite of the night. I wonder if it is because of the black koji – as I am a fan of Okinawa awamori spirit, which is also made with kuro koji. It was served with a Hinai jidori chicken from Akita and included a kiritampo rice ball, a classic dish from Akita. It was nice to see it elevated to this level, as it is a dish often made at home. I think this dish that this was presented in was my favorite of the night.

Sadly I had to leave the dinner, unexpectedly, and missed out on the Yamagata Yonezawa wagyu and the Yamagata soba. Dessert was a rice ice cream. I did love being introduced to new sake, a renewed appreciation for Tohoku ingredients, and seeing new vessels. If you go, I highly recommend asking to have Tohoku sake paired with your meal.

The Tohoku Heroes event runs now through November 30th, both lunch and dinner. There will be a special dinner on the evening of November 29th, where some of the producers will be in attendance. For more details:

Chikalicious NY Dough’ssant in Tokyo

Chikalicious Dough'ssant

Chikalicious Dough’ssant

For a limited time, Chikalicious NY dough’ssant is available at Ginza Matsuya. I still have yet to try a Cronut, but today while walking through Ginza Matsuya I saw what I thought was a Cronut. There are a few shops making these in Tokyo. The only one that I have liked until now is The Roastery’s New York Rings in Omotesando. The others are all wanna-bes.

The caramel and almonds dough’ssant is very sweet. To be honest, I think it is too sweet for the Japanese market. I shared this with a friend and half was just the right amount. That being said, I will try to make it back to the shop to try another flavor, like creme brulee or mattcha, before the event ends.

The staff said that these would only be available for a month. Not sure when it will end, so go soon.

Ginza Matsuya – Chikalicious NY

Chuo-ku, Ginza 3-6-1

2015 FoodEx

FoodEx2015 - Kyro

Kyro Distillery from Finland

FoodEx Japan started today and runs through Friday. It is held at Makuhari Messe in Chiba. A few highlights included tasting through Finland’s Kyro Distillery’s portfolio. I had never tried a single malt rye whisky that had not been aged in a barrel yet, the Juuri. Lacking the tannins from the barrel it was brighter than I anticipated. Likewise, I had never tried a gin that had been aged in a barrel, Koskue, which was more complex than most gins. However, the barrel aging was only three months so the toasty notes were light and didn’t overpower the botanicals in the gin.

The Verso rye is aged in small American barrels for six months and is well-balanced. A little spicy and sweet and not too overpowering. The Napue gin (not aged in a barrel) was soft and fragrant. Very approachable and while lovely on its own, I imagine it would be seductive in a martini. The gin is made with 16 botanicals, 12 dried and 4 fresh. The barrels used are made with American oak and are smaller barrels, 32 or 64 liters.

I love the packaging and design and imagine that this brand could do well in Japan. I am told it will be sold at Hasegawa Liquors. I will update this post when I hear where it is sold retail in Tokyo. I met Mikael, Mikko, and Miika at the stand. If you go by, ask for Mi-kun (as all of their names start with Mi-), and tell them Yukari sent you. The distillery is brand new, only ten months’ old. I see the future as very good for them.

Kyro Distillery Company

FoodEx 2015 - Kitayatsu Ham

Kitayatsu Ham from Nagano was another highlight. The cured ham, sausage, and pates were all lovely. The Nagano Antenna Shop has recently opened in Ginza and I am told that their products are sold there, so will look for it there.

Kitayatsu Ham

FoodEx 2015 - konnyaku

These konnyaku chips were great and only have the calories of the seasonings as konnyaku has zero calories. Flavors are pepper, chili pepper, oden, and ume (tart apricot). Okabayashi Shokuhin also had a thin sliced konnyaku that was nice when cooked up with soy sauce.

Okabayashi Shoten

The event hall is huge and there is more than one can see in a day. I wish I had more time to visit the sake, shochu, and other importers. There are some great speakers in the upcoming days including Kumiko Ninomiya Sensei of Ajinomoto, chef Nozaki of Waketokuyama, and chef Kondo of Koenji Sanukiya.

Noma Japan at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo

Noma Japan

Noma Japan

The culinary event of the century. Chef Rene Redzepi and his team in Japan. 60,000, yes, sixty-thousand people, on the waiting list. I was lucky as I was contacted by someone in New Zealand who had a lunch reservation but could not make it. I didn’t believe that I was actually going until we checked in for lunch. It was all very crazy. E-mails back and forth to a stranger in the Southern Hemisphere. PayPal payments as well as some confirmation e-mails from Noma and a phone call to the hotel as well to confirm the guy who said he had a reservation actually did. Just the night before I was contacted about the chance to go I was having dinner with Ivan Orkin who had lunch at Noma on the first day of the five-week pop-up at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo. Ivan was sharing photos and I refused to look at any of them. I also tried to tune him out as I was hoping that at some point I would get the opportunity to attend and wanted my meal to be experienced at the table and without any expectations. I am glad I avoided all social media about this meal as it was very refreshing. I have not been to Denmark and was a Noma virgin. No longer. On a side note, I should add that many of my friends are coming over for this meal. Editors and writers for food magazines as well as clients of our Food Sake Tokyo tours. I am thrilled beyond belief that so many friends are coming to Tokyo. So arigato chef Rene for coming here, as you have brought many of my friends here as well.

Noma Japan

Noma Japan

Lovely floral arrangement at the entrance. Noma has taken over the kitchen and dining room of Signature, a lovely French restaurant under the helm of chef Nicolas Boujema (who makes a killer black truffle waffle). I understand that some of the staff of Signature, both front- and back-of-the-house are working side-by-side with team Noma. Having been at Signature before it was interesting to see the change. Even the lobby of the Mandarin Oriental has changed. When I first got off of the elevator I thought I was on the wrong floor.



Botan ebi, so fresh that it was still wiggling. The Japanese diner next to met let out a big scream when the botan ebi jumped off of the ice onto her lap. Chef Rene came to see what was the matter and just reminded her that it was that fresh. The ants are harvested from the Nagano forests. I had my first ant at chef Zaiyu Hasegawa’s Den. The Mandarin Bar just adjacent to Noma also serves regional specialities. Most recently, four types of insects from Nagano.

苺と酒粕 花の漬け物

苺と酒粕 花の漬け物

I am allergic to shrimp and was served this dish. Chef Rene served the first course to us. I offered him a copy of my book, Food Sake Tokyo, but he said that he had bought ten copies of it for his staff. Woo-hoo! He also said that is why they selected this first dish for me, because of the sake kasu under the unripened strawberry. I asked if he had a hard time finding a farmer to harvest strawberries before they fully ripened and he said that it took three months to find someone who would do it for him. He did say that now that farmer has introduced this concept to other chefs who are now also using it. Very cool to see Rene leaving his footprint in Japan.



This was one of my favorites. Four types of citrus (mikan, kabosu, buntan, and hassaku) with sansho leaves, long pepper, and an intense Rishiri kombu oil. An unusual flavor combination, but in a very cool way.



My husband is a fishmonger and we eat a lot of ankimo (monkfish liver) at home. Rene’s version was chilled and then shaved. The cold texture was unexpected and fun at the same time.

烏賊の塩辛そば 松出汁とバラの花

烏賊の塩辛そば 松出汁とバラの花

Another seafood dish that we often eat at home, shiokara, or squid and fermented squid guts. Noma’s twist on it was to serve it like soba with a broth made from pine needles and garnished with fresh rose petals.



This was my favorite of the whole meal, Æbleskiver, which looked like takoyaki to me, but I was told it was a play on a traditional Danish sweet. It was stuffed with steamed mustard leaf greens and garnished with flowers pickled in apple vinegar – a nod to the traditional dish which is usually made with apples.



Shijimi is a fresh water clam that we use at home for making miso soup. It’s very interesting as we never eat the meat of the clam, we just boil it to make a broth and then add miso to it. We only slurp the broth, never dig into the shells. Which is what made this all the more special, the time and attention to detail for it to be made so beautifully. The crust was made with Rausu kombu and flour.



The freshly made tofu topped with shaved, wild walnuts. Delicious tofu – and impressive as making tofu is very hard to do. Kudos to Team Noma.

二日間乾燥させた帆立 ブナの実と昆布の香り

二日間乾燥させた帆立 ブナの実と昆布の香り

Another cold dish – which again, was unexpected and fun, made from scallops and beechnuts. The texture reminded me of Aero candy, light and airy.

ほっこり南瓜 ウワミズザクラの木のオイルと桜の花の塩漬け

ほっこり南瓜 ウワミズザクラの木のオイルと桜の花の塩漬け

Hokkaido pumpkin marinated in cherry blossom tree oil garnished with salted cherry blossoms and roasted kelp strips. This is a lovely reflection of how Rene has incorporated Japan into one dish with flavors from the land and sea.



Fermented black garlic is all over the markets in Japan. Here it is made into a leather and folded like origami into a leaf. Once the leaf is turned over the Nagano ants come back for an encore appearance.

様々な根菜類 生姜と共に

様々な根菜類 生姜と共に

This dish reminded me of Japanese New Year’s as we use many of the same vegetables in our osechi ryori, like the renkon and kuwai.

野生の鴨 マツブサの実

野生の鴨 マツブサの実

Wild duck glazed in fermented rye.

野生の鴨 マツブサの実

野生の鴨 マツブサの実

Carved in the kitchen and then served to the table.



Kabu (turnip) is a classic winter vegetable for soups in Japan. Noma cooks the turnip in a mushroom broth and then garnishes it with a roasted yeast and parsley oil.


The rice course is always the last savory course in traditional Japanese kaiseki cuisine. Here the rice is hidden underneath milk crisps, milk and sake ice cream and sake kasu. A sorrel sauce brought it all together.



This sweet potato cooked all day in raw sugar reminded me of Den as chef Hasegawa also has a dessert made with a similar sugar concentrate. Rene and chef Hasegawa are friends and so perhaps this is chef Hasegawa’s influence?



The meal ends with this fun presentation of cinnamon roots and chocolate-covered fermented cepes. We ordered coffee and tea to finish the meal as we hear it is the only thing that was brought from Denmark. As a Noma virgin it was great fun to have my first be here at home in Tokyo. While I am familiar with many of the ingredients, it was a pleasure to introduced to things I did not know are in Japan, like sorrel. Many of the dishes are unusual, but in a good way. The flavor profile was very different from what I am used to. There was no soy sauce, for example. A great reminder that there are other flavors yet to explore in Japan. The General Manager of the Mandarin Oriental, Anthony Costa, has said that in bringing Noma over he didn’t want it to be a short pop-up, which is the case with most guest chef appearances at Tokyo hotels. He also said that Rene and his team really threw themselves into this project by coming over so many times in the last year. I am already looking forward to seeing who Costa-san brings in next. :-) Arigato to Rene and his team for coming to Japan. Otsukaresama desu.

Chef Narisawa’s Kitchen Car – One of Japan

Starting January 7 and running through March 8 adjacent to the Diner’s Club Ice Rink in Roppongi, chef Yoshihiro Narisawa is serving cuisine from his first Kitchen Car. I much prefer the name the Japanese have given to food trucks, kitchen cars. If you are at all familiar with chef Narisawa’s gorgeous and spacious kitchen at his restaurant, you can understand the big change it is for him.

One of Japan

One of Japan

The menu at last night’s press event included grilled Hiroshima oysters, soups, and sandwiches. The soups are classic regional styles from the north to the south.

– Hokkaido’s Ishikari Nabe is made with salmon, vegetables, and miso – a staple for Hokkaido winters.

– Kyoto’s Shiro Miso Ozoni combines grilled rice cakes with a sweet, white miso.

– Hakata Motsu Nikomi is wagyu offal simmered in a spicy miso soup.

The sandwiches are made with an 18-grain flour and are filled with pork, chicken, or vegetables.

The menu will be changing throughout the 61 days of the event, encouraging diners to come back.

One of Japan

One of Japan

Most impressive was the list of farmers and producers who are collaborating with Chef Narisawa for this event including some of my favorites like Okui kombu from Fukui, Hida Gyu from Gifu, and Sanshu Mikawa mirin from Aichi. It’s a long list and there is a map in front of the kitchen car highlighting where the different ingredients are procured from.

One of Japan

One of Japan

There was sake as well last night, including Fukushima’s Daishichi Kimoto, a nice partner to the motsu nabe.

Even if you are not an ice skater, a visit to Roppongi Midtown is a great excuse to check out the great food shops on the first floor. Narisawa’s Kitchen Car is just across the street from the food court.

Narisawa Kitchen Car – One of Japan

Minato-ku, Akasaka 9-7-1, Tokyo Midtown, Diner’s Club Ice Rink (across the street from the Ritz-Carlton

Now through March 8th. Hours are 11 a.m. to about 9 p.m.

Aoyama Farmer’s Market

Food Sake Tokyo is delighted to host guest blogger Janice Espa. Janice is passionate about food and Japan. She is a great photographer and all of the photos here are from Janice. Janice’s most recent guest post on the Best of Japan Tour now being offered at Coredo Muromachi in Nihonbashi, is very popular and some followers of Food Sake Tokyo have since taken the tour and loved it. Here is Janice on Aoyama Farmer’s Market. Arigato, Janice!

Espa - Market vibe

Market Vibe – Janice Espa

I thoroughly enjoy learning about the story behind things. The food we come across and the people who put it together to make a livelihood out of it. The effort that goes into cultivating crops, the detail and care with which coffee is grown and roasted. The significance behind passing down a recipe from generation to generation in order to make cookies ‘just like grandma used to make’, or the finesse with which dishes are conceptualized and presented.

Espa - Father daughter and amazing mushrooms

Father and daughter’s Amazing Mushrooms and dashi packs – Janice Espa

 This aspect of food and travel is a deeply gratifying cultural experience, and it’s readily accessible too. Farmer’s markets are the perfect place to begin.

Flowers - Janice Espa

Flowers – Janice Espa

In Tokyo, Aoyama Farmer’s Market is a great weekend destination. Every Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the forecourt of the United Nations University becomes a lively bazaar. The market is buzzing from start to finish, but getting there before noon will ensure you don’t miss out on buying any of the fruit, vegetables, breads, pastries, or flowers you’re after.

Fresh from the farm - Janice Espa

Fresh from the farm – Janice Espa

I’d suggest making a morning of it, browsing the stalls, talking to the producers, and then having a brunch in the courtside area – or head to a nearby park for a picnic, because you’ll pick up many tasty things along the way.

On my visit, I was enamoured by the tomatoes, many shapes and sizes, beautifully plump with bright colors. The stalls have clever and cute names. I sampled juicy strawberries that were just in season, as well as surprisingly flavorsome, and healthful, soy yogurt smoothies. My jaw dropped when I counted the number of mushrooms for sale from one of the vendors, and I giggled in excitement as the lady selling sesame paste and sesame seed products freshly ground some seeds for me to take home.   “If possible, all the way to Machu Picchu”, she said.

Kawaii strawberries - Janice Espa

Kawaii strawberries – Janice Espa

This one-on-one interaction, taking all the smells in, the sight of people sharing who they are and where they come from, producers eager to have a chat and tell you their story, and then the surprises and treats that may come from this sense of community, is priceless.

Fresh ginger and yuzu vinegar - Janice Espa

Fresh ginger and yuzu vinegar – Janice Espa

Aside from fresh produce, there are handmade bags and accessories and a selection of breads. Pastry stands offer kinako (toasted soybean flour) shortbread cookies, miso-based sweets, and fresh bagels. There’s also a takoyaki (octopus cooked in a savory batter) stand, a cart selling Spanish sangria, a curry rice vendor, Indian dosa made-to-order, and some German sausages for sale.

Cool Mobile Coffee - Janice Espa

Cool Mobile Coffee – Janice Espa

Aoyama Farmer’s Market, located in a relatively quiet section between Omotesando and Shibuya, is the perfect way to spend a few unscheduled hours in Tokyo. I thoroughly encourage you to check it out and find for yourself the taste of the season. You may bump into some of Tokyo’s famous chefs like Shinobu Namae of  L’Effervescence who often shops here.

Arrive by bike - Janice Espa

Arrive by bike – Janice Espa


Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 5-53-70, United Nations University Plaza 渋谷区神宮前5-53-70国際連合大学前

Nearest station: Omotesando (Ginza, Chiyoda and Hanzomon lines)


If you liked this post, please check out Janice’s other post about Kyoto.

Nishiki Market and Kyoto Uzuki Cooking School

Sake Tasting with JD Kai


Janice Espa photoJanice Espa

Janice Espa is a Spanish-Peruvian food enthusiast; an avid traveller and inquisitive taster who explores culture through cuisine.  Janice lives in Sydney where she writes and styles food. Her days are spent visiting grower’s markets, checking out restaurants, and shopping at specialty stores to discover goods from every corner of the world.

Feel free to email suggestions and travel tips, or to contact Janice for her own recommendations, whether you’re visiting Peru, trekking South America or doing a road trip along the east coast of Australia.

Email:  janicespa at

World’s Greatest Wine Festival


My dear friend Yamada-san

September 11, 2001 was a day that changed my life. I had worked as a cellar rat at Windows on the World. A friend of mine, who also started out with me working in the wine cellar, had just been promoted at WOW. We had a wine class together on September 10th at WOW. He had said that some of our friends, who also worked at WOW, were out of town that week for a wedding. Steve told me that he was placing orders for wine and was now working the day shift. He had come to wine late in life but seemed to have found his niche.

But the next morning everything changed. I was downtown NYC in Soho and knew immediately that Steve was in the towers. I knew the drill for what to do if there was an emergency or a terrorist attack. Because we had training before we could start working. It was a known fact that the WTC was a target for future attacks.

The first days and weeks after the Twin Towers fell down are all a blur. But eventually I decided that the only thing that mattered for me was my family and friends. Most of my family is in Japan and I have a lot of friends in Japan as well. A day and a year later, on September 12, 2002, I moved back to Japan to start a new chapter in my life. I landed in a beautiful place called Coco Farm and Winery in Ashikaga, Tochigi. A small city an hour and a bit north of Tokyo. I could live and work at the winery for three months. It was a magical time in my life, and well needed after 9/11. Each year there is a Harvest Festival, the third weekend in November.


The winery is staffed with developmentally disabled individuals who live on the grounds. It is their pure hearts that makes this a special place for everyone who comes to visit. On the weekend of the Harvest Festival some of them dress up for the day. Can you see the angel wings?


They take turns wearing a large wine bottle costume.


While others dress up as clowns. Live music is performed and many of the students dance freely around the grounds.

There are many food stations and everyone coming in gets a bottle of wine, or if you prefer, a bottle of grape juice. Visitors bring along a picnic blanket and sit on the steep hills of the vineyard.

The 2013 Harvest Festival is November 16 and 17. Entrance is 3,000 JPY. If you are coming from Tokyo, take the train to Ashikaga, Tochigi. But be warned, the lines for the shuttle bus from Ashikaga station to the winery can be very long. Taxi lines also long. So, go early!

If you can’t make it this weekend, then think about coming on another day. The winery is open all-year long with a short holiday over New Year’s. There is a café and a tasting room. My favorite wines here include a Kerner and the Coco Rose. The winery makes everything from sparkling to a dessert wine. They have a big portfolio of wines to choose from.

I still remember fondly my time there. I didn’t know if the students were familiar with what happened outside of the winery, or even outside of Japan. I was talking with one of the students and when I told him I had come from New York City, he asked abpit 9/11 right away and expressed his sympathy for New Yorkers. It is the big hearts and sincerity of these students that I hope you can see if you visit. If you go, tell them that Yukari sent you.

CNN did a lovely video on the students at the winery.

The 2013 Harvest Festival is November 16 and 17. Entrance is 3,000 JPY.

Coco Farm and Winery

Tochigi-ken, Ashikaga-shi, Tajima 611

Phone: 0284-42-1194

ABC Kitchen’s Chef Dan Kluger at the Park Hyatt Tokyo


Toast, ricotta cheese, and kabocha puree. It doesn’t get much more simple than this, yet the combination of flavors and contrast of textures was blissful. I was satisfied and ready to call it an evening as it was so delicious. The toast is seasoned with olive oil and then pan-fried. This is exactly what I love about grilled cheese sandwiches, the crispy crust and the chewy dough. Handmade ricotta and a sweet yet slightly spicy kabocha topping makes this a homerun dish. I will try and recreate this tomorrow. I am sure that the olive oil pan-fried toast will become a regular part of our repertoire.

Chef Dan Kluger, guest cheffing at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, said that it is so popular back in NYC at ABC Kitchen that some people request it for dessert. He said that the recipe is in the NY Times, NY magazine, and Bon Appetit magazine. It is also on the Today Show website and other places. Suddenly I feel as though I was a bear who has hibernated through a season of culinary greatness.

In an interview with Metropolis magazine, Kluger says that among his favorite cookbooks is Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Simple Cuisine. And some of the basic concepts that Jean-Georges uses are reflected in Kluger’s dishes.


The mushroom pizza was just such a dish. A whole-wheat crust with shiitake, shimeji, maitake, and eringi mushrooms topped with an egg. The produce shines and Kluger brings it together smartly. These two dishes are available at the New York Bar for the next two nights.

In the main dining room, at the New York Grill, expect more layered dishes, yet still very simple. There are bursts of flavors and hints of chili, but never overpowering a dish. The grilled broccoli salad is also a technique I am going to try and do at home.


It has been fun as a chef observing Kluger and his team prepare for this event through his visits to Tsukiji and Ohta Markets documented on the Park Hyatt Tokyo’s facebook page. It’s been even more thrilling to see the dishes come to life using ingredients like tilefish (amadai) and the grapes.


The wine pairings are fun as many of the wines are hand crafted and made in small batches like the spicy and fruity Forlorn Hope Les Deux Mathieux.


ABC Kitchen is serving up a spicy ginger margarita and refreshing lemonade cocktail at the New York Bar along with that life-changing toast and mushroom pizza. There is a tasting course, or you can order dishes a la carte, at the New York Grill. Kluger and his team is only in town for two more nights.

I am hoping to recreate ABC Kitchen in my home kitchen tomorrow with the kabocha toast. Arigato for the inspiration.

Updated October 11, 2013:

I woke up thinking about the kabocha toast. What a revelation! Kudos chef Kluger.

New York Grill & Bar

Park Hyatt Tokyo, 52nd Floor


The Japanese Cronut


With so many amazing bakeries in Tokyo I was very hopeful when I heard that there was a copycat Cronut in Tokyo. The famed croissant/doughnut of New York City’s Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho. The bakery was already on my radar before the Cronut craze as a friend of mine had raved about Dominique’s bakery.

The Tokyo copycat version is made by a Shizuoka-based bakery called Banderole. Banderole operates many small shops in the suburbs of Tokyo. The one closest to our home is a small retail shop called Bread Basket that is located in a supermarket called Ito Yokado.

Here are the rich mattcha and the salted caramel New York croissant doughnut (as it is called on its website).


How was it? Disappointing. Usually if something isn’t good I don’t bother to write about it. However, with the hype over the original Cronut, I have to save readers a trip to the suburbs. How could the Japanese, who are so good at imitating and improving, drop the ball on this one?

These were purchased first thing in the morning after the store had opened. The Cronut at Ansel’s bakery goes for $5.00 USD. The Japanese version goes for 160 JPY, or less than $2.00 USD. So, right there you can imagine that cheaper ingredients were used. While I haven’t had a real Cronut, I can only imagine that Ansel is using real butter. I don’t think an ounce of butter was used in making the Japanese one. The croissant part itself was not flakey but heavy and had the taste of pre-packaged cheap pastries that are sold at convenience stores, not at authentic bakeries. The flavored icings were also not at all pleasant.

I can only hope that someone else in Japan takes the challenge and tries to create a better version of the cronut.

Monsieur Ansel – please come and open a bakery in Tokyo!

Park Brewery at Park Hyatt Tokyo




Now that the rainy season has ended summer is officially here. Temperatures are soaring and while many are cooling down at beer gardens on department store rooftops, a great all-you-can-drink craft beer offer is at the Deli in the Park Hyatt Tokyo. The Deli has been doing this summer only special for five summers. Last year the food served with the craft beer was Mexican, this year it’s German.


The hotel has soft pretzels made specially for this promotion. The pretzel is delicious and is a big size, perfect for nibbling on.


The food that is served is a generous serving of German meats of Weiswurst white sausage, Bierwurst, Paprika Lyoner, and a pork belly Rouladen. There is a sweet mustard as well as a great sauce called obazda. I spoke with the Executive Sous Chef, Yoneda-san, who said that the traditional Bavarian sauce is made with Camembert cheese. It’s something I will try to make at home.


Saito-san, in this photo, and I used to work at the New York Grill and Bar together. If you go, tell him Yukari sent you. He’ll look after you.


There are two beers on the menu, both made by Sankt Gallen Brewery in Kanagawa. The aromatic and refreshing Park Brewery Ale is served each summer. The second beer changes each summer. The second beer this summer is a Citrus Amber Ale is made with an orange-like citron called shiranui. It’s slightly sweet at first but has a light bitter finish. A nice contrast to the house Park Brewery Ale.


Here is the menu. The food comes out right away and is not replenished. It’s a generous serving of food, but if you do get hungry, you could always order something from the Deli’s menu which includes sandwiches, salads, and other small bites.

DSCN6516 - Version 2

The indoor seating fills up quickly with this event. There is also a standing area indoors.

DSCN6518Alternatively, grab a table outside in true Japanese beer garden style.

Having been to many different all-you-can-drink beer promotions in Tokyo, I can say that this is one of the best. Excellent quality beer and a smart menu that pairs perfectly with the beer. It’s worth a journey to Shinjuku for this event.

The Deli at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

Shinjuku-ku, Nishi-Shinjuku 3-7-1-2, 1st floor

6 to 8 p.m. last order at 7 p.m.

Through September 16th.

*Note, it’s usually a nice walk to the hotel from Shinjuku station. However, with the heat, I suggest taking the free hotel shuttle from Shinjuku Station’s Nishi Guchi. Check the shuttle schedule here.