Nose-to-Tail at the New York Grill (May 16-23)

 

The Park Hyatt Tokyo’s New York Grill offers a special menu from May 16-23, 2016. The Nose-to-Tail wagyu event is a five-course event for meat lovers. Chef de Cuisine of the New York Grill and Bar Federico Heinzmann is from Argentina. Federico was saying that Argentines eat about 55 kg of beef a year, compared to only about 5 kg for the Japanese. So, you know you are in good hands with an all-meat tasting course in the hands of an Argentine chef. In Argentina there are 39 million people and 47 million cows.

Federico pointed out that the Japanese are already used to eating every bit and piece of the animal. For example, at a yakitori-ya the menu will include different parts of the chicken, so the concept of a nose-to-tail for the Japanese is not too unusual.

The theme for this year’s event is “Smoked and Cured”, which is woven into each course. Many meats are marinated before cooking and several accompaniments are smoked, adding complexity to the dishes.

I don’t want to reveal too much of the meal, as it is a treat to have the cuisine revealed for you at the dinner. The bits of the cow include the tongue, heart, brisket, flank, and tail. Chef Federico also excels in vegetables, which shines in side dishes like a fermented carrot quinoa risotto. There is a nod to NYC with a pastrami and to Patagonia with an ancient rock salt.

The main course is a flank steak. The Japanese have a saying, “kameba kamu hodo“, the more you chew, the more delicious it is. The Argentines also have a similar philosophy and the two countries meet here in this dish.

The wines for the tasting course is expertly paired with Melville wines from the Santa Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara. The cool climate wines are aged in old French barrels, so the grapes can speak for themselves. Refreshing, nice acidity, and very food-friendly chardonnay and pinot noirs for the dinner. As a sommelier, I can confirm that the pairings complement the cuisine.

If you are visiting Tokyo during this time, you are in luck. If you live in this great city, save this meal for a special night out. You are in good hands. Come early and have a cocktail at the New York Bar before your dinner.

Details:

New York Grill at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

20,000 JPY (plus tax and service) for five courses, dinner only

May 16-23, 2016

http://tokyo.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/dining/NewYorkGrill.html

Ginza Bareburger

One of the best burgers I have had in a while is at Bareburger in the new Tokyu Plaza in Ginza. The organic burger is made from Aussie beef. It’s a meaty and hearty burger. I had the Standard (1,380 JPY) and Shinji had the Buck Wild with a fried egg and fried onions (1,640 JPY). We shared a large serving of onion rings and fries (1,050 JPY), sold as side dishes. The prices seemed fair for organic ingredients and for the great location and ambience. Staff are friendly and genki. I drink a lot of water with my meals and the staff were great to keep my water cup filled. This often goes ignored at other restaurants. Arigato.

The first Bareburger shop is in Jiyugaoka, but that is a neighborhood I just never get to. The Ginza location, just near the Sukiyabashi crossing, close to Ginza and Yurakucho stations, is very convenient. This is on the 10th floor and has lovely window-side seats that overlook Ginza. The shop is also kid-friendly. Bareburger is an import from NYC to Tokyo.

Bareburger Ginza at Tokyu Plaza

Chuo-ku, Ginza 5-2-1, Tokyu Plaza 10F   中央区銀座5-2-1, Tokyu Plaza 10F

http://bareburger.co.jp/ginza/index.html

Access to Ginza Tokyu Plaza

http://ginza.tokyu-plaza.com/access/

Tokyu Plaza Mall officially opens at 11 a.m., but there are a few coffee shops and bakeries, including The City Bakery in the B2 level that opens at 7:30 a.m.

Takenoko Gohan

Bamboo shoots are in season at the moment. They are also in season in the fall. But I associate the delicate flavor and aroma with spring. I was at a friend’s house on the weekend. Her mother, who is an excllent cook, had just cleaned and boiled a bamboo shoot and had brought half to my friend’s house. My dear friend then gave us half of that. We brought it home and made takenoko gohan. When you cook the rice in the pot with added ingredients it is called takikomigohan.

Shinji cut up the tender bamboo shoots and put it in the donabe with dashi, sake, soy sauce, and deep-fried tofu. It is garnished with sanshō leaves which we plucked from grandpa’s sanshō bush in his rooftop garden. It was so good I ate three bowls.

IMG_1914

In the supermarkets in Tokyo, you can find both fresh bamboo shoots, complete with the skin on it. Or you can find already boiled and peeled of the hard skin.

Some more inspiration from these recipes:

http://tokyostation-yukari.blogspot.jp/2011/06/easy-bamboo-shoot-recipes.html

take bamboo 竹

takenoko 竹の子

takenoko 筍

 

New York Pizza at Shibuya Pizza Slice

Having lived in NYC I was spoiled with many options for pizza by the slice. My favorite was Two Boots and there was one in the West Village near my home. I would have taxi drivers bring me there if were returning home from an overseas trip.

In Tokyo we have incredible pizza, like Nakameguro Seirinkan and Nihonbashi Pizza Bar on 38th at the Mandarin Oriental. These are like pizzas you will find in Napoli and Roma.

I love Rocco’s New York-Style Pizza but it is up in Oji, a part of town I never get to. It’s been two years since I last went. I’d love to go back, but it’s a hike.

I am thrilled to have finally made it to Pizza Slice in Shibuya and even happier that it is good New York pizza. Thin, crispy crust, that almost took me back to Two Boots. The pepperoni by the slice is 500 JPY. Nice tomato sauce and pepperoni, just like in New York City. The slices are warmed up after you order and brought to your table.

Even the cashier had an attitude and was kind of bitchy when I asked for a receipt. I totally felt like I was back home. I guess we get spoiled in Japan with polite service.

Even the room feels like you are in America. A mix of large communal and small tables. A counter on the side to sit. There is a large display of the variety of pizzas to choose from. The crowd this afternoon was a mix of Japanese and non-Japanese, all young and even a gaggle of high school boys.

Best of all, Pizza Slice is in Shibuya, a neighborhood that I get to very often. It’s about a ten-minute walk from the station, faster if you know where you are going. Here’s hoping they open their first branch on the Chuo line.

Pizza Slice

Shibuya-ku, Sarugakucho 3-1  渋谷区猿楽町3-1

http://www.pizzaslice.co/

Deep-Fried Oysters at Tsukiji

Yachiyo is a Tsukiji shop that specializes in tonkatsu, but also does a very nice kaki furai, deep-fried oysters. It is located to the left of Sushi Dai. Oysters are just finishing off their season but will be back in the autumn. However, the days of Yachiyo and the inner market are limited.

Oysters are breaded and deep-fried until golden brown. There is a splash of Japanese karashi mustard on the side, but I prefer the Western tartar sauce that is often served with oysters and fried fish. The set meal comes with three vegetable sides of pickles, crispy julienned cabbage, and a coleslaw. It is rounded out with miso soup and rice.

Two counters line the left and right side of the shop. If you visit when oysters are out of season try some of the seafood like shrimp, scallops, or horse mackerel. The fishmongers often order eggs with pork belly (chashu eggu teishoku, available only Tue, Thu, and Sat).

Chef Ishizuka is the handsome guy in the kitchen with glasses.

Tsukiji Yachiyo 築地 八千代

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 5-2-1, Building #6 中央区築地5-2-1ビル6

http://www.tsukijigourmet.or.jp/21_yachiyo/