I didn't plan on trying out kushiage during my trip to Japan, not that I wasn't curious but there were already so many things on my list... When I stumbled upon Kushitei, right after visiting Tenryu-ji temple, it seemed like a less-touristic place than the other restaurants on the street.
The chef is a young man thriving through precision and with a contagious cheerfulness. Every dish showcases his skills : crunch and softness, seasoning and temperature.
Crudités, check, pickles, check, tofu, check, red rice, check. All the side-dishes were on the starting-blocks, and then the first kushiage arrived...
Although not the most memorable skewer, it immediately set the tone : light and golden breadcrumbs, perfectly cooked, not too greasy, not too dry... I smiled inside thinking I had found a promising place.
The pork was soft and fulfilled its duty of caressing the throat, the stomach and the emotions.
If I had known what namahu is prior to tasting it, my grin would probably have been a bit tense, but the chef didn't know how to translate in english what the gooey stuff was, and I gobbled it without apprehension and even with pleasure.
Here my friends, it starts to get serious... salmon, a brushstroke of mustard and creme fraiche, some eggs of the above-named fish, and a textural waltz, a panacea.
A few cold noodles with mizuna (a slightly pepperry plant) were served in a cold broth to cool down the atmosphere.
- Crab and Yuba
In this mouthful, the yuba was used to enliven the naturally milky notes of the crab, everything brightened up by a touch of unidentified green note.
- Ebi Sembe
The shrimp and puffed rice, presented as the grand finale of the lunch, lacked a bit of seasoning. I found that to be often the case with shrimp in Japan, so it may be a local preference, but to my bold occidental palate it was a bit too mild. The cooking of the shellfish was, as for the whole meal, royally mastered.
I'm very happy to have found Kushitei, to have discovered kushiage, and to have enjoyed a unique moment as only Japanese hospitality and gastronomy can create.
I don't recall the exact price of the set lunch (different options are available), but it was around ¥2.000.
40-18, Sagatenryūji Susukinobabachō, Ukyō-ku
For the review in french, and a bunch of nice photos (I'm pretty happy with those for once), you can visit this page : http://www.chezfood.com/2012/12/01/ku...