NYC Kaiseki: Kyo Ya (Feb. 2013)
Restaurant: Kyo Ya
Chef: Chikara Sono
Date: February 23, 2013
-A lot of friends have been saying that Kyo Ya has pretty amazing kaiseki, so I’ve wanted to try it for a while now. However, I never got around to actually trying it until recently, when I finally found some friends who were willing to go with me.
-A lot of the ingredients in the meal were seasonal, and I definitely appreciate how Chef Sono tries to use the best ingredients available.
-Overall, it was a pretty great kaiseki meal! A lot of the courses and ingredients didn’t have flavors that were too strong, so I can definitely see why people see Kyo Ya as really authentic—many of the flavors were more subtle and nuanced.
Stuffed Renkon (lotus root) with Hanpen (fish cake) and Green Tea Salt
The green tea salt was a nice complement to the flavors of the lotus root and fish cake, but what I really liked about this dish were all the textures working together—the lotus root, fish cake, and crispy skin all had different textures that complemented each other.
King Crab wrapped with Soy Bean Paper
Palm Tree Hearts Tosa-ni
Grilled Red and White Turnip
With daikon radish and carrot marinated in marin
Scallop Like a Panko Fried Somen Noodle with Nori (seaweed) Sauce
With daikon radish and mayonnaise-garlic dressing on the side
This looked like a pan-fried scallop, but it was really noodles cut up into the shape of a scallop and then panko-fried. I liked the execution and the concept, but I still have to admit that I strongly prefer scallops to this. I like how the chef tried to play with our expectations, though!
Hakusai Potage with Madai (snapper) Mousse Ball and Enoki Mushrooms
The madai was REALLY soft and actually reminded me of the soft texture of mousse.
Right: Red Sea Cucumber from Noto with Chopped Green-Spice Daikon in Vinegar
Bottom (fried): Stuffed Green Pepper with Shrimp Mousse
Bottom (white): Simmered Satoimo Pepper with Karasumi (Mullet Roe)
Top: Ankimo (monkfish liver) in Steamed Yuba (tofu) with Ponzu-an
Bottom left: Anago (saltwater eel) Sushi wrapped with Bamboo Leaf
The anago sushi piece was really interesting. I can really only describe it as “compressed sushi”:
I stilllllll prefer eating a delicious piece of anago nigiri that was just made by a sushi chef, though!
Sashimi of the Day ~ Chef’s Selection
Pearl ___ oyster from Washington with sautéed onion, scallions, yuzu, goji berry, and ponzu sauce.
The oyster was really sweet, and there was so much going on in this that I don’t even know how to start. I felt that the ponzu sauce was definitely unnecessary, though—I thought that it didn’t really complement the oyster.
1st: Saba (mackerel) on a bed of daikon radish
2nd: Tako (octopus) with natural salt
3rd: Bafun uni from Portland, Maine (You’re supposed to wrap it with the nori.)
4th: Kanpachi yellowtail, salmon trout, and madai (snapper), with a baby turnip on top
5th: Bluefin ōtoro with a shiso leaf
6th: Abalone with abalone liver sauce
Bafun uni is a bit darker in color than the other type of uni they use, Murasaki uni. The bafun uni was pretty amazing. It was sweet, fresh, and creamy—qualities that you usually expect from great uni!
Washu Tajima Beef
First, we cooked the fat a little and rubbed it over the stone. After that, we grilled the meat on the stone, and it was REALLY tender and juicy. We ate the baby corn last to cleanse our palates. (Also, that remaining piece of fat looked really tempting to eat…)
Yuzu Soy Marinated Grilled Fugu (blowfish) with Shichimi Pepper
With Toasted Maitake Mushrooms and a Mountain Peach
The fugu tasted good, but I honestly can’t really tell what’s good and what’s bad. I probably would have liked this dish more without the maitake mushrooms as I didn’t really enjoy them. The mountain peach was really juicy and flavorful, though, and it provided a great finish to the course!
Simmered Lobster in Uni Miso Cream Sauce
With a chrysanthemum leaf and chips made from Japanese potatoes
Chef Sono used two kinds of uni here:
1) Bafun uni from Portland, Maine (darker color)
2) Murasaki uni from Santa Barbara, California (lighter color)
The sauce sounds RIDICULOUS haha. Uni… and miso… and cream?! You can probably guess that this tasted amazing.
Kuruma Shrimp Kimi-sushi with Granny Smith Apple–Vinegar Sauce and a Pomegranate
The shrimp was stuffed with egg yolk, and they made the sauce by mixing Granny Smith apples and vinegar. My friend noted how the sauce was basically “really fancy apple sauce”, and… I think that’s a pretty good way of describing it hahaha.
Rice Cooked with Grilled Canadian Smelt and Daikon Radish
With Aka (red) Dashi Miso Soup and Japanese House-made Pickles
Here’s a picture of the pot of rice! It was really aromatic, so you would have definitely loved this, Monty.
I’m pretty sure the rice course is just to make sure that the diner gets full off rice that expands in your stomach haha.
Kyo ya “Zenzai” Mochi in Sweet Red Bean Soup
I LOVE red bean, so I really enjoyed this. I could have lived without the mochi—just give me more red bean soup haha. This really wasn’t too sweet, but I actually prefer red bean soup to be less sweet; I think I’m used to how Chinese restaurants serve it. This dessert felt more like a warm-up to the next course, the sweeter—but still not too sweet—green tea sorbet.
Green Tea Sorbet with Condensed Milk
You’re supposed to choose how much condensed milk you want to pour over the sorbet, depending on how sweet you want it!
I really, really enjoyed this dessert! Then again, I like green tea ice cream… and I love condensed milk. I used to eat shaved ice a lot when I was young, and I always made sure to get a lot of condensed milk. (Young me was such a fatty hahaha—then again, I like to think that I still am at times!) Following that tradition, I made sure to pour all of my condensed milk allllllll over the sorbet!