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Hatsuhana Park

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Hatsuhana Park

Eric Eto | May 24, 2004 06:13 PM

One of the best Japanese deals in town may be the Lady's set ($15) at Hatsuhana Park. The catch is, as the name implies, only women may order it. Sorry guys. It's a multicourse set that includes a few chef creations. I believe some of the courses change from time to time, but recently, the first course included an assortment of 4 items beautifully plated: eel with burdock root, beet salad with sesame flavored cream, and two other items that I didn't get a chance to sample (one was a marinated fish like mackerel shaped into a ball with some kind of egg yolk mixture). The next course is a mini course of cold handmade soba noodles. The soba at Hatsuhana Park is very delicate and light, unlike the versions at Soba Nippon or Soba-ya. I'm told it's a different style of soba, and very good. There are a few options on the topping you can have on the soba, including shrimp tempura or uni. The final course is the sushi, and you can choose one roll and four nigiri from a list of fairly standard options. The set also includes salad and miso soup, and dessert. Dessert choices are ice cream fruit, or the soy pudding. The pudding is much better than it sounds here. There's a japanese name for it, which I'm forgetting at the moment, but this version is very good. It looks like a flan with the sweet caramel pool around the top of the pudding.

I suppose the strategy is to go there and make sure the women order the Lady's set and the men order other sets (the soba set in particular) and other a la carte items. Many of the small plate items are very good. The ribeye beef item is very tasty. The ribeye is stewed in a deeply flavorful sauce, probably containing demi glace. Another item that was new to me was the black edamame (soy bean). I'm not quite sure how to characterize the flavor to the everyday edamame, as I'm not sure the flavors were due to its being fresh (not frozen) or to this species of soy bean. The squeeze of lime (that accompanies the serving) gives it a very bright zesty undertone). I'll have to try the lime squeeze at home.

I'm pretty confident that if you sat at the bar at Hatsuhana Park and ordered omakase, you'd do very well, but I'm also confident that it'll hit your wallet pretty hard. The cooked food and the sushi combinations of the Lady's set and the homemade soba here are well worth the visit.

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