LA Kaiseki/Sushi: Urasawa (July 2012)
Chef: Hiroyuki Urasawa
Date: July 5, 2012
I decided to stop by Urasawa once again while I was in town, and I went with two old friends. Here’s an excerpt from my friend’s site about this meal—it was basically his first really good sushi meal!
“This all changed this summer. My friend invited me to join him for a meal at Urasawa when I visited Los Angeles in July. I was able to see the craftsmanship and attention to detail that contributes to each course in person and experience the end result. The sushi really stood out to me. The balance of flavor and the just-right density of the sushi rice just worked so well for each of the sushi courses. Yes, the items placed on top of the sushi rice were exquisite, but Hiro and Ken could have put almost anything on top of that rice and the end result would still be amazing.
The seed was planted in my head. Amazing food isn’t just about the individual ingredients on the plate, but how they are put together. And I wanted to see what else is out there. I started reading more about food online and talking with my friend about other restaurants to try in the future. I then remembered that I have a copy of The French Laundry Cookbook, and dug it out. Suddenly the recipes made a lot more sense. The goal is to make every component that goes into a dish as perfect as possible. I then searched online for “french laundry at home” to find other people’s experiences with the recipes, and stumbled upon Carol Blymire’s blog “French Laundry At Home”. The post that Carol wrote after cooking every dish in The French Laundry Cookbook was extremely inspiring and has a list of great first recipes to try. I decided that this is where I’m going to start my gastronomic adventure.”
My friend Simon took a picture of Rodeo Drive (where the restaurant is located) during this trip, so I’ll just include that here!
Hiro and Ken! Ken works as Hiro’s apprentice.
Kaiseki-style dishes (#1–8):
Tatsunae (the spelling’s wrong; I don’t know how to actually spell it) vegetables: okra, daikon pickle.
It’s meant to be taken as a shot!
Sesame green-tea tofu dumpling with uni.
Scallop, monkfish liver, caviar, and some vegetable I forgot (the pink thing).
Ken’s preparing the next course (I like to refer to it as the “ice block” course) here.
“Ice Block” course: skipjack, red snapper, and toro from Japan. Fresh wasabi. Seaweed. Daikon. Red ginger…???
Russian caviar, monkfish and monkfish liver pate, shitake mushroom, and red turnip. Pickled bell pepper on the side.
You’re supposed to take the caviar-and-monkfish mix in one spoonful and then eat the pickled bell pepper after (as a palate cleanser?).
Chawanmushi, summer truffle from France, and uni
Sakura shrimp tempura. Daikon radish and ginger.
Shabu shabu: foie, king eel, spotted prawn, and scallop.
We drank the soup after finishing the meat!
Seared kama toro.
Horse mackerel (aji).
Red snapper (tai).
Ken’s preparing the next course (sushi roll with toro, daikon pickle, and scallion) here.
Toro, daikon pickle, and scallion.
Sweet shrimp (amaebi).
Spanish mackerel, Kyoto miso, and… a few other things that I’ve forgotten (just like in the 1st Urasawa post, sadly!).
Salt-water eel (anago).
Apple jello with berries.
Hiro and Ken are preparing the matcha green tea for the next course here.
Sesame ice cream, summer truffles from france, red bean, and gold.
Matcha green tea on the side.
Like in the 1st Urasawa post, you’re supposed to alternate between bites of the ice cream and sips of the matcha green tea.