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Omakase Dinner at Kiriko - Review

Jess | May 1, 200610:57 AM

I've long sung the praises of Kiriko's lunch sushi omakase, but I had never had dinner there until Friday night. I had been unable to attend some friends' wedding, so took them to dinner for a belated celebration. We chose to do an omakase dinner, and after considering the option of sushi-only or a combination or sushi/cooked food, we decided to go for the combination. We had an early reservation so were seated in front of Ken-san.

The starter was a dungeness crab salad/sunomono. This was simple. A crab claw served over a bed of lettuce and cucumber with a light dressing. The crab was very flavorful and sweet, providing a nice start to the meal.

The second course was a platter of sashimi. We each received three slices of bluefin tuna from Japan and three slices of red snapper with yuzu zest and salt. The bluefin was melt-in-your mouth tender. The snapper was delicate and the salt and fruit added a wonderful flavor. Ken-san served this with shreds of baby ginger blossom. I hate pickled ginger, but this was a great complement to the sushi. The pieces were like little sprigs of ginger, but tender and not overly powerful. They worked as a palate cleanser but were not so strong as to undermine the flavor of the fish.

I think there was another item here, but I cannot recall what it was.

The next course was the only actual dish from the kitchen that we received. Halibut with mushroom. This consisted of two very delicate squares of halibut, cooked perfectly, served with some vegetables and a japanese mushroom. The sauce was made of miso, bonito flakes and some other ingredients that had a nice earthiness that worked well with the halibut. If this was ever served as an entree, I would go for it in a second.

At this point, I remember commenting to a friend that I was looking forward to the sushi. I suspect that Ken-san overheard me and may have done fewer cooked items than originally planned. But the sushi was worth it. All of the cuts were thick and large.

Toro. This was top-quality toro, well-marbled, and just melted in your mouth.

Baby yellowtail. This came out with the toro and was equally tender.

Some type of white fish with salt and yuzu fruit. This was probably the only item that I didn't particularly like. It was a little less tender than the other fish. It resembled red snapper in coloring, but was not very tender.

House smoked salmon. I'm not normally a salmon fan, but the smoked salmon at Kiriko is amazing.

Albacore. This was very good seared albacore, but it did not wow me. My friends absolutely loved it.

Japanese scallop. Sliced in half and served over rice, the scallop was tender and flavorful. Ken-san added some grated salt which brought out the fresh, ocean flavor of the scallop.

Before the next item, Ken-san gave us a conspiratorial wink as he opened a box. He told us it contained wagyu beef, not the stuff they raise in America, but real beef from Japan. He seared it by placing the thin slices of meat on a wood block and using a blowtorch. It was then served sushi-style. The meat was very good, tender and marbled. I am not a huge fan of beef sushi, but I enjoyed this. (The menu had a wagyu steak tartare that I was very tempted to order.)

Seared toro. Again with the blowtorch. Ken-san cooked the toro just to the point where the fat is melting. He then places it over rice, adds a dab of wasabi, japanese pickle, and light ponzu sauce to the top. Sometimes he serves this in the omakase lunch and it is one of my favorite dishes. The combination of flavors and the carmelized tuna is one of the best dishes I've ever had. Absolutely outstanding.

We were pretty much full by this time, so we stopped the omakase. One of my friends wanted to try the uni, so we decided to order two pieces of uni sushi. The uni was fresh and custardy, served with a dollop of wasabi. I normally do not like uni, and rarely order it anywhere else, but the quality of the uni at Kiriko is excellent.

Despite being full, two of us tried dessert. One of my friends had the blood orange sorbet, which was wonderfully tart and perfect. I normally get Kiriko's homemade ice cream, but the dessert menu included a "cream caramel" made with a type of Japanese pumpkin (sorry, but I forget the name). I couldn't resist and I am glad I didn't. The dessert was not too sweet, and had a delicate creaminess with the flavor of the sweet pumpkin subtle. Ken explained that he loves pumpkin, but finds that in the US, pumpkin invariably includes cinnamon which "kills the pumpkin flavor." As someone who loves pumpkin, but hates cinnamon, I wholeheartedly agreed. This dessert was fabulous.

Price with a large sake (again, I forget the name) and tea was about $75 pp before tax and tip.

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