Saturday, April 7, 2007
Aburiya Kinnosuke, or Japanese for birthday week continues
My sister had a bad oyster at The Spotted Pig and couldn't come to Prune for my birthday brunch, but she made it up to me by taking me out to Aburiya Kinnosuke, her favorite Japanese izakaya, for dinner on Wednesday night. Even though the food at an izakaya, a Japanese grill, is as far from pancakes and bloody Marys as you can get, Prune and Aburiya Kinnosuke share the same philosophy of caring about food that is honest and straightforward. Sure, presentation's important--how could the Japanese not care about presentation?--but it's never meant to distract from or cover up the clean taste of the food.
Here's Mona squeezing her fresh grapefruit to pour into her shochu-soda cocktail.
We initially hesitated about ordering the green salad, that it would be "boring," but shame on us for doubting that Aburiya Kinnosuke would serve anything inferior. It was nothing more than advertised, a green salad with a mix of greens, broccoli, and cucumber, but with an intense freshness and crunch. We needed the raw salad to balance all the fuller flavors of the cooked food we had.
Their homemade tofu comes unadorned. You add the salt, the grated ginger, and perfectly diced skinny scallions. I shoveled my share into my mouth, and ate most of Mona's, too.
I got too excited and forgot to take pictures of the rest of the food. I wish I could show you the "tsukune" or grilled ground chicken with teriyaki sauce that we got from the robata grill. It comes on a paddle! We also got meaty grilled eringi mushrooms and the salmon with miso on houba leaf that comes on a little shichirin grill for your table. Thankfully, others on Flickr are taking photos of their meals at Aburiya Kinnosuke.
And when I thought it couldn't get any better, we had dessert. Mona is very fond of their black sesame pudding, which are all words that thrill me, too, but we were intrigued by the "red bean bavarois" on the menu, and when we asked the waitress about it, she got the most genuine smile and exclaimed, "It's delicious!" She told us that there was a visiting chef who had put on the menu, and we would only have a small window of time to try it. It's the first time I've wanted to lick a dessert plate in awhile, to get every bit of the perfect, custardy, red bean goodness.
THIS is the kind of restaurant I love best.