That's right 'Hounds - I am one lucky cat. Well, not THAT lucky, as I did pay for this amazing-ultimate experience, but that's not a deterent - I am here to say Urasawa is worth it. Every. Last. (Hundreds of) dollar(s).
Place: Urasawa, Saturday, 12/10 - 7:00 PM
Myself + 1 guest
Ratings in brief:
Ambiance - A
Tiny, understated, intimate, and beautiful. Urasawa-san stands in an ornate, vibrant, gorgeous area, and watching him work . . .I could have cried. But that didn't happen until the tastings.
Service - A
Amazing and discreet and polite - we did have to wait a spell for the ordered sake, but really, a minor gripe - I felt absolutely, unequivocally spoiled.
Food (Taste) - A+
I kept wondering, haven't I had amazing toro? How good can this be? Oh, such a naive, naive girl I once was.
Food (Presentation) - A+
The sashimi course was served in an ice block carved into a staircase/floral design. Need I say more?
Wine/Drinks - A-
Limited drink menu, but the sake we ordered, while expensive, was really fantastic.
Value - A+
The most expensive meal I will likely ever indulge in, and yet, I had no hesitations. Yes, it's that good.
Overall Experience - A
Unlike anything else.
I really have few words - this is an experience you just have to source at least once in your life. My best foodie friend and I kept waiting for a "special occasion", but then it occured to me - Urasawa IS a special occasion, and I didn't want to wait endlessly and somehow miss the chance.
Urasawa himself cooks for you and 9 other guests in a very private, wonderful setting. It's like having your own personal mind-blowingly talented chef. He is warm and wonderful and so much fun to watch. He asked us if there was anything we didn't like, and with a prompt "No, sir, we love it ALL", we were clearly on his good side. Trust me, that's where you want to be.
Beyond the food, it's also really wonderful to note the other guests at the table; a very interesting selection which I'm sure is the case every evening. As the night wore on and we kept eating these amazing and tiny courses, and drinking the libations, bonding certainly occured. It's rare that a restaurant experience is both tasty and socially rewarding. Urasawa is special in all kinds of fabulous ways.
I ate about 21 courses - courses that have been eloquently described by others on this board, so I'll just highlight my favorites -
1) The aforementioned sashimi course - various heavenly fish slices presented in a carved ice block. It wasn't just stunning, it was THE BEST FISH I have ever had. It's not the flavor that's special, it's the texture. I wish I could describe this better, but take out a freshly sliced perfectly cooled slice of velvet and delicately draw it across your taste buds, and that's a good start. So, so freaking good.
2) Seared toro - when the hot stone came out, so did three healthy cubes of what can only be described as heavenly fish fat. Urasawa-san asked us to sear each side a couple of seconds - nothing more - dip, and eat immediately. I think I teared-up after the first bite. I can't imagine having more love for a flavor/texture combo more than I felt for these morsels. Holy orgasmic food bites, batman - this was awesome.
3) Shabu-shabu - he grabbed a just-killed lobster, hacked off his tail, split the puppy in half, and sliced us all a few delicious pieces. That, along with THE most beautiful scallops and foie gras I would have given a limb for, was served along with the boiling broth. After a few moments of hot water action, this was the best lobster experience of this foodie's life so far as well - and there have been MANY.
I could go on and on. So many courses and so many complex ingredients prepared with a simplistic yet highly, highly refined edge (read: gold leaf everywhere), it's just shy of unbelievable.
Yes, it was an $800 tab. But my hope is that this will be a yearly treat. I would go again in an instant. if my bank account would just agree.
Translation - save your pennies. This is heaven.
Ciao, 'Hounds -