If you have a ton of $ to blow, check out Kai at 822 Madison Avenue. A ten-course meal will run you about $85, but such a ten-course meal you have never seen. Kaiseki cuisine is food that accompanies the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
We enjoyed: 1) assorted appetizers (including baby bamboo shoots and duck sashimi), 2) sashimi plate with fluke caught that day and baby yellowtail (and grated-to-order wasabi), 3) lily-bulb soup (surprisingly creamy and savory) 4) eel and Japanese potato, 5) fresh tofu, 6) kumquat sorbet to cleanse the palate, 7) sea bass in a salt crust (amazing presentation...this arrived in a huge dome of salt which the waitress smashed in front of us, revealing a steaming leaf which encased the fish), 8) tilefish with white asparagus, 9) a soba noodle course with tiny nameko mushrooms, 10) DESSERT...a charming array of three different sweets: sesame mousse topped with a tulle cookie, tapioca and berry pudding, and last, but not least, a nutty chocolate mousse layer cake. WOW! Not to mention, the service was impeccable (at $85/person, it should be!). Other prix fixe options are the $70 and $110 menus. The restaurant is an endeavor of the Itoen Corporation, the Japanese green tea magnate. Enjoy!