By our ninth day in America, my stomach had grown accustomed to super sized portions, so an eight course Omakase Tasting Menu at Zenkichi felt like a walk in Central Park.
Zenkichi is a modern Japanese brasserie in Brooklyn, perfect for first dates and romantic meals. Its extraordinary layout couldn’t be more intimate, made up of private, warmly lit wooden booths hidden by bamboo blinds. It’s a popular style in Tokyo, where the owner calls home.
At $65 a head, the seasonal tasting menu is changed every five weeks, filled with popular Tokyo dishes. Sake is the drink of choice and there’s an a la carte menu for those not wanting to go the whole ‘tasting’ hog.
Our first course was a traditional Miso Soup, filled with fried tofu and scallions. Well made Miso always takes me by surprise. I don’t understand how something can taste amazing and also be good for you.
Next up was a beautiful ‘chilled plate’ of Sashimi, Sea Bream Sunomono and Tamago Tofu Shrimp Anake.
The sashimi melted in the mouth, making me wish for more. The sea bream came marinated in the most wonderfully sweet plum-shino vinegar sauce, and the chilled egg custard tofu was brought to life by a yuzu pepper shrimp broth.
The Zenkichi Salad of homemade tofu, baby greens and yuba arrived next, coated in a sesame dressing. I was wowed by its simple, yet powerful flavours – this was a dish to replicate at home.
The meal continued with perfectly cooked Late Spring Tempura of Mongo Iha squid, inen beans and corn, along with Saikyo Miso Cod. I could write an entire post about the cod. It was heavenly – soft like butter, succulent and sweet, it now takes centre stage on my list of desert island foods.
I was so blown away by the cod, it was hard to concentrate on the rest of the meal. Takiawase and Filet Mignon Tataki Donburi were both delicious, but hard to remember after the best dish of the evening.
We decided to order three of the four desserts – Mineoka Tofu, Frozen Black Sesame Mousse and Walnut Chocolate Pudding.
The chef clearly gave as much attention to dessert as he’d given the rest of the meal. Each pudding was as individual as the main courses, with creamy and light Mineoka Tofu topping the bill (a surprise for me).
If I ever go back to Zenkichi, I’ll probably choose a la carte. That’s not to say my American sized stomach can’t handle eight courses, but in an ideal world, I’d be eating Black Miso Cod for starter, main and dessert.
Zenkichi, 77 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211