Archive for the 'kosher sushi restaurants' Category

10
Mar
11

Kaizen! Perfection at Prime Ko


Have you ever had one of those microcosmic moments in time encapsulating a window onto something so much bigger in its depth and substance? Though most of mine have not been food moments, this one surely was this past week at the Japanese inspired restaurant Prime Ko (217 West 85th Street New York, NY 10024-3901 – (212) 496-1888) when I tasted Chef Makoto Kameyama’s signature sushi Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna appetizer. But more about that in a moment…

CS and I were escorted into the ground floor dining area; they’ve got a lower level with a wet bar, TV screen and more seating. Décor showed subtle Japanese influences. The waiting area had these lovely brown leather boxy ’kabuki’ shaped chairs and couch, fresh orchids on a dark rectangular table, with a wall of hand-painted coral peonies on soft aqua…

Wall dividers of slatted mahogany separated one area from another; windows were shaded with white bamboo semi-transparent treatments. Seating was brown textured suede on wood, a few striped suede backed benches, all tucked into square darkwood tables. Settings consisted of simple white geometric china, flatware laid out on deep red bamboo textured placemats, and chop-sticks resting on logo enhanced wood pieces. Lighting was recessed in one area and a framed oval shaped ruched red fabric with a back lit center aperture against the far wall, with a row of rice textured globe light fixtures in the other area.

A partial view...

Esteemed Chef Makoto Kameyama, the former prized Sushi Chef at Prime Grill for the past ten years, has served as Executive Chef at Prime Ko since it opened last year. His experience began in Tokyo where he assisted his father, a prominent Edo-sushi chef running a successful restaurant in Japan. In1981, Chef Kameyama came to the US and opened his own Japanese restaurant. Transitioning to Japanese kosher posed quite a challenge. Aside from the dietary restrictions on pork, shrimp, crustaceans, etc. sourcing fine quality kosher fish for sushi and sashimi, replacing basic Japanese cooking elements like bonita flakes and dashi (made of fish bone, until recently unavailable with a kosher certification), achieving consistent textures and creating exciting sauces were but a few of the obstacles he faced.

Chef Kameyama is very pleased with healthy low fat and low cal Japanese cuisine becoming staple of the American diet. Be it the DHA and heart healthy fresh fish, lung healthy miso, or vitamin mineral-rich seaweed, it is thanks to Japanese cuisine masters like Kameyama that this healthy streamlined fare is taking the nation by storm.

Now, back to our meal… The opening appetizer was an assortment of Rainbow Roll, yellowtail, tuna, and salmon sashimi and that fabulous Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna I mentioned earlier. That was the defining moment of kaizen (Japanese for perfection) . The mouthful of toasted rice cake topped with spicy tuna pureed with bell pepper, topped with jalapeño and aioli sauce was a bite of pure perfection. The creative combination of textures and genius flavors conjoining to taste so remarkably well, spoke volumes about the artistry of a chef whose collective experience and expertise arrive at the table each time this signature dish is served. Bravo! Omedetou!

Sushi and Sashimi

But we were just getting warmed up… CS and I shared lovely grilled miso Chilean Sea Bass skewers in a spicy teriyake sauce served aside sautéed bok choy & veggies which couldn’t help but be outshined by an outstanding Tuna Delmonico, edged in breading served with jalapeño sauce, wasabi, beet and ginger sauce, with a side of soba noodles and pickled radish/onion/carrot garnish.

Tuna Delmonico

Our waiter, Al, our server, Lebron, treated us like royalty; they were friendly, efficient, informed. I thought we were getting the ‘special treatment’, but service to the tables nearby was just as extraordinary. Al, had the menu and wine pairings memorized down to the last nori seaweed bit & dot of sauce. Service was the epitome of high Japanese hospitality; water goblets refilled with Prime Ko’s own filtered carbonated water, napkins refolded, tables cleaned between courses, and soy sauce, dishes and silverware replaced with the arrival of each new dish.

We enjoyed a cleansing, refreshing Borgo Reale Pinot Grigio 2007 as we waited for our next course, a medley of kobe chopped beef dishes. We sampled Kobe Meatballs with ground ginger and garlic in miso sesame sauce, spicy Kobe Pizza - crispy dough, house made marinara topped with chopped salad & chopped wagyu. Wagyu Beef Sliders – a mini kobe hamburger with spicy aioli and teriyake sauce – completed this tasty Americanized trio.

Cutlery was replaced again with a fresh set including steak knives. I starved myself till dinner in anticipation, but this was turning out to be a most extravagant meal… The best was next! Three ounces of the most amazing Kobe/Wagyu steak resting on a slab of Himalayan salt rock witha side of white mushroom cooked at our table with a spritz of fresh lime. When quality is this good, extra spicing could only detract from it natural flavors – it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Taken before being cooked at table-side. 3 ozs of marbled beauty!

The second steak dish was a 6 oz. Grain Fed Chateau-Briand with vegetable rice served with a jalapeño/uzu/teriyake sauce, with salad and rice. The steak was so good, I would have preferred the sauce on the side.

Steak Chateau-Briand

Chef then surprised us with Eggplant Dengaku. Baked eggplant topped with miso and sesame sauce. Unusual, and superbly tasty. The evening’s crown,  came with the creative and most beautiful desert dish pictured below.

Beautiful presentation, superlative tasting

Two crepes laid out like a Japanese fan, topped with blueberries and strawberries with hot chocolate sauce, sprinkled with green tea powder and confectioner’s sugar that looked like fairy dust. Need I say more?

A brilliant meal overall. Our thanks to Chef Kameyama and the staff of Prime Ko for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

SYR

Prime Ko on Urbanspoon

04
Feb
11

More Superbowl Specials…


SYR and I spent such a wonderful evening last night with Sidney and Tammy Cohen at 18 Restaurant (240 E 81st St, New York NY10065; Tel: 212.517.2400). It was worth braving the cold and ice to have the opportunity to shmooze with them.  The restaurant was hopping with the evening crowd, who also ignored the weather to get a consistently great meal at 18. Tammi and her husband are so friendly and have such good business and food sense, it was great to see their restaurant thriving.

I had to have the Yemenite Meat Soup again, aside from the perfect weather conditions it’s just too good to pass up (this is winter comfort food at its best!). I’ve tasted this soup at a few well known establishments and I can assure you none came even close.

18‘s got a new sushi chef from NOBO.  I dont know what magic this guy puts int0 his sushi and sauces, but they were extraordinary. We  had his sushi roll and a  shredded fish salad, they tasted sensational. Considering that until 14 months ago I did not even touch anything remotely resembling a fish, you can believe this is very high praise!

If, unlike me, you are not into Indian food, 18 Restaurant is having their own Superbowl Special:

Colorful and delicious

  • 10 ASSORTED OVERSTUFFED DELI SANDWICHES
  • 10 ASSORTED SUSHI ROLLS
  • COLESLAW, PICKLES, POTATO SALAD
  • 30 ASSORTED MINI POTATO KNISHES, HOT DOGS IN BLANKET, MUSHROOMS IN PUFF DOUGH

$199

Now that they have their Liquor License,  18 Restaurant will – every motzey Shabbat (open from 8:00 pm to midnight) – give you a free glass of wine with dinner.

Warm and friendly

We raved about 18 Restaurant‘s food before, having revisited this eatery, we still rave about it. The sushi is superb, the soup is delicious and will warm your bones on any cold winter day, their hamburgers are in a class of their own. Why not give them a try? If this isn’t one of your favorite kosher restaurants already, it soon will be!

CS

11
Jun
10

18 Restaurant


Eighteen ‘s marketing team has an innate business sense predicated by one important rule of the game; know your  customers’ tastes and quickly adapt accordingly. Just open three weeks,  18 is taking off like gang-busters. Inheriting a great restaurant design modified with red accents, its managing team created an upscale, sophisticated 21st century deli, with a few marvelous twists.  They’ve hired a terrific sushi chef from Salt Lake City, who creates one mouth-watering roll after another. Chef Haim Dadi, the main chef,  flips so many fat burgers-to-go, it’s making Popeye’s Wimpy cry (it’s the quality of the meat, baby! They buy top-of-the-line.).  Chef Haim kept the best of the Moroccan-Israeli fare, kept the great fish and salads, and offers a great assortment of grilled steak entrees.

Located where Turquoise used to be, 18 Restaurant (240 E 81st St, New York NY10065; Tel: 212.517.2400), opened its doors barely three weeks ago. We felt a welcoming warmth as soon as we walked in…

...a partial view

We sat on a corner next to the turquoise wall that once made the late Turquoise so distinctive. SYR and I started the meal with their Salt Lake City Sushi Roll.

Salt Lake City Roll, colorful, delicious!

It came with tuna, avocado, cucumber, tempura crumbs, soy glaze and a spicy masago. Neither, SYR nor I have been great fans of sushi BUT this roll was amazing!

We both followed with the Yemenite Soup with Meat.

Yemenite Meat Soup

It comes with potatoes, carrots and meat, its aroma and taste linger on for quite a while. This is a new favorite of mine!

Next we shared a large Israeli Combination Platter consisting of hummus, babaganush, Turkish salad and tahini, we dipped our Morrocan Cigars and the baguettes in it for new combinations of rich flavors. Their delectable Israeli Salad with chopped cucumber, tomato w/parsley, lemon and olive oil proved that fancy ingredients are not always necessary to create wholesome, delicious salads but… freshness is!

Next, SYR had the Eighteen’s Beef Burger, 8 ozs topped with mushroom and sitting on a bed of fried onions inside a brioche bun. It came with sides of a sliced sour pickle and French fries. It looked great, and tasted superb. It was obvious why this particular dish is one of their bestsellers.

I followed with Romanian Tenderloin Steak, it came with fresh grilled peppers and superb Yukon gold mashed potatoes.

Romanian Tenderloin

As I’ve said before, I grew up in Uruguay where steak was an almost daily dinner staple, I know steaks!  This one was tender, very juicy and full of flavor. Even my mother couldn’t have made it any better!

Whatever you do, don’t miss their Yemenite meat soup.  It’s delicioussssssssss! The portions are generous, the prices more than reasonable. What more can you ask?!?

CS

18 on Urbanspoon




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