Shichimi is a Japanese 7-spice blend that typically includes red chili pepper, roasted orange peel, yellow and black sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, seaweed, and ginger. Have you ever tried it sprinkled on French Fries as a side to Wagyu Sliders of tender wagyu ground beef with guacamole and sautéed mushrooms and an accompanying original spicy sauce to dip the fries in? Sound scrumptious? Thank Mr. Robata and feel free to indulge at the restaurant located at 1674 Broadway in Manhattan’s theatre district.
Robata , a rustic grilling technique, originally from Japanese farmhouses, takes up about half the space of a very long sushi bar. Other than a few items, all orders are prepared right there. No that’s a great way to watch the chefs spring into action. Tasting time!
Kaiso Seaweed Salad of mixed seaweed with grilled eggplant, rice cracker and cucumber served with a Izu Miso dressing. Chef Quinoa Salad: boiled blue shrimp, organic quinoa, micro ice leaf (in the cactus family), avocado, red radish, and radicchio served with a shiso dressing. Spicy Tofu Salad using organic tofu, macadamia nuts, caviar, and mixed greens with a scallop and shrimp infused chili oil.
The menu has sections of appetizers, tapas, Robata, Maki Rolls, Chef Specials, salads and sushi, each with flavors that cross Japanese with a bit of French and they brew their own soy sauce to boot. Hungry yet? Ramps (wild leeks) with duck breast, fried tofu, and pink peppercorn.
A tasting of a few specialties had organic zucchini; Erinji Mushrooms (aka trumpet mushrooms; and Jidori Muneniku, slices of grilled free range chicken breast. It was our opportunity to sample their six sauces: passion fruits, ponzu, wasabi cream cheese, yuzu miso, ginger teriyaki and remoulade.
One of the most popular Maki rolls is the New York, New York. Get ready to drool. Spicy tuna, macadamia nuts, toro scallion and avocado wrapped in seared tuna and topped with wasabi cream cheese, eel sauce and a rice cracker. Alongside were some single sushi – Chu Toro (belly of the tuna), Japanese Horse Mackerel, and Sea Urchin (not my favorite or one has to acquire a taste for ).
Now, you shouldn’t expect me to tell you about any common desserts do you? They only have three. Orange scented chocolate mousse. Eggplant compote (Eggplant for dessert?): cardamom scented Japanese eggplant compote with lychee sherbet, sesame coulee and pink peppercorn (it’s as if eggplant was the secret ingredient for an Iron Chef show and chose “savory” on dessert). Our waitress told us that it’s one that people either love or hate…I loved it.
The third was Lychee Zen Zai using sweet red beans with rice cake topped with brandy cream and mochi (sweet rice dough with ice cream in the middle).
I’m sorry. I forgot to tell you the name of the innovative and talented Executive Chef. His name is Masaki Nakayama also known as Chef Naka, who had lately been involved in Japanese Week and National Ribs day.
Make sure you check out their Sake and do a flight. Kampai!!