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Restaurants & Bars

Report on Heat

Adam Stephanides | Jul 19, 2001 10:01 PM

I had dinner at Heat last night. I had the kaiseki menu, and since there were no live items on that menu, I also ordered the live aoyagi (orange clam). It turned out to be the kind of meal I have the most difficulty discussing. Almost everything was very good, but nothing was revelatory, and for the amount I paid, I'd like at least one revelatory dish. (The kaiseki was $95; this included four glasses of wine, but since I don't drink wine that wasn't much help to me.) I think that to really enjoy a meal like this, one needs to be more sensitive to the subtle distinctions between different varieties of seafood (and this was all seafood) than I was. Actually, this is the sort of meal I feel guilty about for not enjoying more. The ingredients were obviously high-quality, and prepared with care; I kept thinking that by concentrating more on the food, I should be able to make myself appreciate it more, but in practice that never works for me.

Be that as it may, there were several dishes that stood out: a small, sesame-encrusted tuna steak, nearly raw (part of the zensai); a spicy saba (a type of seafood) salad; hamachi jalapeno maki sushi (the jalapeno was not part of the sushi, but there were little slivers of jalapeno on the side); the "uni" soup (which was actually served without uni, since the uni was apparently no good, so it was basically a spicy pork broth, but very good); and the dessert, an edamade custard good enough to change the minds of those prejudiced against Japanese desserts. One dish that misfired was tautog sashimi with tomato curry: the tautog didn't have much flavor, and what there was was overwhelmed by the tomato curry sauce. The mirugai (giant clam) tempura had a similar problem: the clam didn't have much flavor, and was pretty tough in addition, so it was very hard to take a bite of the clam without pulling the whole thing out of the tempura batter. The spicy tofu that accompanied it was very good, though.

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