Even before I moved to NYC, I had wanted to visit Kajitsu. Though the restaurant switched chefs and somewhat changed cuisines since it first popped up on my radar, it maintained a high spot on my eating list. So late last January on our big night off together, Rocky and I headed to the East Village(Kajitsu has since relocated) to try out Ryota Ueshima’s Shojin fare.
We were offered a choice of two Kaiseki menus: Kaze, the shorter, or Hana, which includes the whole Kaze menu plus a few additions. Naturally, we chose the Hana tasting. I ordered the sake pairings, Rocky opted for grapes by the glass.
Camellia Flower Plate. Red cabbage, turnip, arrowhead root, watercress, vinegared jelly, malva nut. Presented as a scene of a flower growing from the ground with ‘pollen’ of arrowhead root chips. The ‘petals’ were thick, tasty cuts of cabbage. The jelly had a yummy savory/acid balance. While it wasn’t at all bad, this was a super underwhelming opener.
Ozouni Soup. White miso, mochi, broccolini, daikon, carrot, sakekasu-fu, cumquat chips, mustard. I loved this. The soup was of an amazing savory density. The fried mochi had a little spice and with the fu gave the dish some fun chewiness.
New Year Osechi Box. Yuba, snow pea, burdock root, shiitake mushroom, golden beet, temari-fu, potato, chayote, sweet potato, cucumber, date, yam, beet, daikon, radish, parsnip, myoga, crosnes. Quite the assortment of items and preparations. A delightful compilation of tastes and textures. I particularly enjoyed the black soy beans, the sliced golden beet, and the thin shaved turnip wrapped around a cube of red beet.
House Made Soba Noodles. Wasabi, horseradish, scallion. With a kelp, seaweed, and soy broth. Little pieces of wasabi tempura were fun. The pairing of a bold, dry Junmai from Gunma was fantastic with the root spice.
Fried Taro with Shungiku Sauce. Rikyu-fu, variety of seasonal mushrooms, ginger. Another winner. The fried taro was incredible. The varieties of mushrooms had great textures and earthiness that added extra depth to the Shungiku broth.
Bi-Color Sushi with Miso Soup. Shiitake, lotus root, bamboo shoot, bok choy, wasabi, carrot, ginger. The rolled ‘sushi’ was merely decent on its own, though warmed in the red miso & tofu soup it was spectacular. The pickled vegetables were a nice condiment.
Snow Mochi Cake. A mochi rice ball filled with sweet white bean paste and topped with what seemed like spun sugar.
Matcha with Candies by Kyoto Suetomi. A sugar candy representing the year of the snake and a light rice and sesame cookie. Along with a small serving of warm matcha.
Some sake I was served:
Date of visit: January 27, 2013
Kajitsu. 125 E 39th Street. NYC 212.228.4873 www.kajitsunyc.com/