Archive for the 'Urasawa- Beverly Hills' Category

Urasawa

I have posted many times about Urasawa and each time we go it is as perfect as always. Urasawa is an experience; it is so much more than just the food. The ambiance, the service, the ever gracious Hiro, the exceptional quality of the ingredients, the emphasis on seasonality all make Urasawa unique and worth every penny. My Japanese is non-existent so I might make some mistakes as to the exact Japanese terms. Each dish was an A level dish! As usual we brought our own wine.

U - Hiro

The wonderful Hiro

U - ambience

The lovely flower arrangement

U - Champagne

BYO Champagne

U - Shiro toro

Shiro toro, monkfish liver, shiso, scallion wrapped with turnip, sauce of ponzu with radish and chive water

U - soy milk

Soy milk skin, Hokkaido Uni, 23 carat gold leaf, wasabi, bonito flavored sauce mixed with kudzu, sweet sake and mirin

U - Winter:Spring veggies

Winter/Spring Vegetables Kyoto style – black bean, red pepper, bamboo,lotus stem, lillybud, mountain root, water chestnuts, herring roe, sea cucumber intestine

U - Silex

BYO White Wine

U - sashimi

Sashimi – red snapper marinated with seaweed. Inside was Santa Barbara uni, shiso leaf and Myoga. On the side was daikon, nori, red cabbage, red pickles, wasabi

U - beef tartare

U - beef tartare close-up

Tochigi Beef tartar, Russian Caviar, Bell Pepper on the  side to be eaten as a chaser to the tartar

U - tempura

Hasami Age- tempura sandwich with bamboo and shrimp paste

U - Hoba leaf

Hoba Yaki – on a giant Hoba leaf was Miyazaki Wagyu beef, shrimp and scallop. This sat on top of a puree of Kyoto miso sauce that is made by mixing egg yolk with miso, sweet sake, regular sake, sugar and soy sauce. The dish was being lightly roasted in the Hoba leaf for a couple of minutes over the coals on the brazier.

U- beef for Shabu

Beef for the Shabu Shabu

U - foie cooking for Shabu

Foie cooking in Shabu Shabu

U - Shabu broth

Shabu Shabu broth. John forgot to take an actual picture of the full Shabu Shabu plate. Foie Gras, the beef and red snapper were the ingredients to be added to the broth. It cooks in the broth and eaten when done. The broth is then consumed as a separate course.

U - Corton

BYO Red Wine

Now sushi – my notes aren’t very good so please forgive any inaccuracies.

U - toro

Toro

U - fish collar toro

Fish Collar Toro

U - Spanish Yuku

Spanish Mackerel

U - Red Snapper

Red Snapper from Southern Japan

U - Shitake

Shitake

U - blie fin

Blue fin

U- skip jack

Skip Jack

U - mirugai

Abalone

U - abalone

Giant Clam

U - not sure again 1

Toro

U - not sure again

Not sure

U - not sure again 1

More toro

U - toro roll

Toro Roll

U - uni better

Uni

U - eel

eel

U - dessert

Dessert

An absolutely wonderful meal!!!!!  A++++

Urasawa

It has become our tradition to celebrate New Year’s Eve at Urasawa. We make our reservation a year in advance and have plans to spend Dec 31, 2012 in our favorite seats in front of Hiro. I have said this before but it is worth repeating – this is the perfect place to celebrate any occasion. There are only ten seats and your seat is yours for the evening. The quality of the ingredients is exceptional and Hiro is the most gracious and accommodating chef/host. You will again notice the similarity of ingredients from last year to this year as Hiro prides himself on seasonality and uses only those ingredients that highlight each season. (This just gives me an excuse to at least visit Urasawa 4 times a year!)

What made this year particularly special is that a wonderful couple we met last year – Eugene and Sarah were once again seated next to us this year. They were a delight and graciously shared some very special sake with us.

I have tried to be accurate in my descriptions, but my Japanese vocabulary is not extensive, particularly with regard to ingredients.

Seasonal Flower arrangement

Wonderful Hiro

BYO Champagne

Hairy Crab from Hokkaido, Mizuna, Chrysanthemum flower, yuzu zest, white soy and vinegar – a perfect combination of taste and texture.

Prep of the next dish

Shiro toro, Monkfish liver, Myoga, Scallion, Shiso – the toro was wrapped around the monkfish and the combination was luscious and luxuriant.

BYO White wine

Marinated Salmon eggs and Mitzuba on top of edame tofu mixed with tiny shrimp and the whole topped with gold leaf – any resemblance between the salmon eggs you get at a regular sushi bar or the salmon eggs in jars is not even close – these were sensational.

Sashimi – black ink squid from western Japan and Uni from Hokkaido with red radish, 3 different types of seaweed, fresh wasabi served in a hand-carved ice bowl. The dipping sauce is a blend of soy sauce and fish broth.

Hakkaido scallop mixed with white truffle from Italy, shitake mushroom, and Russian caviar with red turnip on the side – this was heaven in one bite with the red turnip functioning as a “chaser.”

The next dish was very labor intensive. The beef served as the outer wrapping and was stuffed with Shitake mushroom and lobster. It was placed in a bowl filled with hot stones. Sake was added and the steaming process cooks the dish producing an incredibly moist plus intricate dish.

On a small brazier, Hairy Crab from Hokkaido sits in the crab shell that is also filled with Santa Barbara uni and scallions.  The sauce is made from the brains of the crab.

Shabu, Shabu – Foie Gras, Red Snapper, Spiny Lobster, Winter Cod Milt – Unlike when this was Ginza Sushi-Ko, we don’t have to cook the ingredients. After you eat each of the ingredients, the broth is perfect for slurping.

BYO Red Wine

Now sushi. Hiro is presently using 170 grains of rice per each sushi slice.

Toro

Hama Toro

Spanish Mackerel

Red Snapper

Blue Fin Tuna

Skip jack

Squid

Shitake Mushroom

Caviar in a spoon

Uni

Medium Toro

Spanish Mackerel

Tiny Shrimp

Giant Clam

Spiny Lobster

Abalone

Abalone Innards

Kohada

Dessert Wine

Toro tataki

Eel

Tamago

Persimmon

There is no way to do justice to this meal either in words or photos – it was perfect in every way and I can’t wait to go back to Urasawa.

Urasawa

Urasawa was as perfect as always. It is so much more than just about the food – it is an experience that has no equal. The key to Urasawa’s culinary approach is seasonality – expect summer ingredients in summer! I am not going to do lengthy descriptions of each dish – mostly just ingredients, but I can say that not one dish was less than an A.

Hiro is the ultimate host – gracious and accommodating to everyone – first timers as well as regulars

The summer arrangement of flowers behind Hiro

John picked spectacular wines for the evening. They were served at the appropriate time during the meal – all were shared with Hiro.

Champagne

Montrachet

Corton

Dessert Wine

Junsai, okra, mountain potato, pickled radish, wasabi – to be eaten in one sip

Scallop from Hokkaido stuffed with monkfish liver, plum sauce and topped with caviar

Soy bean skin, uni, bonito-flavored mirin sauce, gold leaf

Sashimi – toro from Spain, red snapper from Kumano and Kampachi from Toyama with daikon radish, leeks, carrots

Beef tartare (beef from the Mie prefecture), caviar and pickled radish – a one bite wonder

Sake is added to the pot and immediately you see hot steam escaping from the pot

Red Snapper steamed with sake, wrapped around uni, ebi (shrimp), shitake mushroom, squash on a shiso leaf. The sauce with this dish (not pictured) was ponzu with radish.

Bonito flavored Egg custard, soy milk skin, Shrimp, Squash, Ginko nuts, Italian summer truffles, Salmon eggs, Gold Leaf

Hamo Eel – about to be perpared

“It requires enormous skill to fillet and prepare hamo, a large, thick sea eel with a complex, meaty flavor. Hamo has thousands of fine bones that must be cut with a razor-like blade to make the meat edible.”

http://tasteofculture.com/display-text.php?pd_key=32

Shabu Shabu  – Hamo eel and foie gras is added to the broth – the foie is added first and allowed to simmer longer than the eel. Thank goodness your server does the timing and the “cooking.” Then the broth is eaten as a “soup.”

SUSHI – Hiro uses approximately 170 grains of rice per sushi piece.

Toro

Kama Toro

Kampachi

Spanish Mackerel

Red Snapper

Blue Fin Tuna

Squid

Shitake Mushroom

Santa Barbara Uni

O Toro

Toro Roll

Skip Jack

Small Henni Fish (I think)

Abalone

Fresh Shrimp being prepared

Shrimp

Spanish Mackerel

Eel

Hiro described this as peach “jello” with a gogi berry on top

Sesame Ice Cream with white summer truffles topped by gold leaf

Green Tea

What a wonderful perfect evening.

Urasawa

Happy New Year to everyone.

New Years at Urasawa is a very special experience. I decided to not take notes or photos (forgot my camera) so this is just a short, quick post with the bottom line being that the food, the wine plus our neighboring diners can only be described as perfect.

Attached Image

Brandon, whom I have never met before, happened to be at Urasawa New Year’s Eve and by coincidence happens to read this blog. He took the above photo (he didn’t forget his camera)!  This was our list of wines for the evening. We didn’t drink the 1996 – it was back-up in case the 1947 was corked or ….  The 1947 was spectacular, no browning around the edges, very deep color, solid Burgundy flavors of raspberries, cherries – smooth deep finish. Blind we would never have known it was over 60 years old. (Detailed notes on the wine from John). We gladly shared the 1947 with Brandon and Hiro.

Some highlights – Hairy Crab served first as a “salad” and later served cooking in the shell on a brazier, Ikura with Shark Fin, Seared Japanese beef, Wondrous Spanish Mackerel, Toro tartar with caviar, Shrimp, Uni with Matsutake Mushrooms, Shabu Shabu and sushi and sushi and sushi with pristine fish.

This is a pitiful write-up for a splendid meal. Brandon did take photos of this special New Year’s Eve meal and he promised to send them on to me. Hopefully, I will be be able to post his photos here.

Many, many thanks to Brandon. All of the photos are his – not only he is a good photographer, but also a wonderful dining companion. What a serendipitous first meeting!

 

 

 

 

The perfect New Year’s Eve finally captured in photos thanks to Brandon.

Urasawa

There is no restaurant in Los Angeles that can equal Urasawa. It is a very special place with an ambiance to match. Last night, we made friends with our dining companions – a gentleman from Copenhagen, 2 VA doctors, one celebrating his 60th and 2 first timers who had read extensively about the wonders of Urasawa. Where else can you have exquisite food plus end up making “friends” with like-minded passionate food people? Urasawa is more than a restaurant – it is an experience.

Urasawa prides itself on seasonality from the flower backdrop to each and every ingredient. Everything highlighted fall.

Fall backdrop

The wonderful Hiro with his equally capable brother-in-law, Yoshi.

I did the best I could to identify each ingredient, but my Japanese is non-existent and I apologize in advance for any errors.

BYO Krug Champagne – no photo

Toro stuffed with monkfish liver and a Japanese vegetable that Hiro described as a type of onion with a strip of turnip from Kyoto topped with caviar, yuzu dressing – 2 perfect bites

Inside of the Toro

Okra, Japanese Abalone, Squash, tofu and bounded with a type of mountain potato root done in the traditional Kyoto style. Another winner with the potato root acting as a binder for each ingredient.

Salmon eggs, edamame, tofu custard with tiny shrimp and topped with 23 carat gold leaf and a green vegetable that I am not sure what it was. Any resemblance between the salmon eggs you get at a “regular” sushi bar and Urasawa’s is not even close.

Inside of the salmon egg dish

BYO White Wine

Sashimi – Uni from Hokkaido, Red Snapper, Toro from Spain with vegetables and flowers that had been pickeld. Hiro chisels the ice block each morning. The toro was wondrous, the uni fat and luscious and the red snapper with a slight chewy bite.

Kobe Beef Tartar, Caviar to be eaten in one bite. A Slice of Red Bell Pepper as a chaser. My husband declared this orgasmic!

Shark Fin Chawan Mushi, Codfish eggs, shitake mushrooms, ginko nuts, mizuna, ginger, bonito favored sauce topped with gold leaf – absolutely perfectly balanced

Chawan Mushi “opened up”

Cod Fish Sperm Sac Tempura – the radish at the bottom right was to be added to the sauce – don’t even think about greasy tempura.

Lobster Cooked with uni “paste” on top served with a slice of ginger

Ingredients for the Shabu Shabu – red snapper, scallop, foie gras

Set-up for the Shabu Shabu – ready to be cooked by our servers

The foie takes the longest to cook and is added first

Red snapper being cooked

After you have finished eating each of the ingredients, the fresh seaweed from Sendai, Northern Japan is added – also eaten separately. Finally the scallions are added, allowed to steep for a bit and the broth is returned to the kitchen, minutes later  presented as a rich broth to the diner.

BYO Red Wine

Now Sushi – each piece is served separately and to be eaten immediately as soon as it is served. Just think the best quality fish, sliced perfectly and served with just the right amount of rice at the perfect temperature.

Grilled Toro

Skip Jack – Shima Aji

Spanish Mackerel

Red Snapper

Blue Fin Tuna

Squid

Mirugai/Giant Clam

Chu Toro – Medium Toro

Saba

Tiny Shrimp

Grilled Shitake Mushroom

Cut-up toro/scallion roll

Kohada

A special rice mixture is prepared and then Spanish mackerel is layered on top. Hiro then takes a hot steel rod and places it on top of the fish to quickly sear it – one of my all-time favorites.

John loved the beef tartare so he had to have another one.

Dessert Wine

Eel

Not sure of the following sushi items as I forgot to write anything down and I don’t want to guess.

Hachiya Persimmon

Truffle Ice Cream

Green Tea

The wonderful Hiro

His equally wonderful brother-in-law, Yoshi

To be brief – what an extraordinary perfect evening. I consider myself one very lucky lady to have Urasawa so close to home.

Urasawa

I love going to Urasawa. It is the equivalent for us of going to Japan – something I desperately want to do. I won’t give a great deal of commentary re each single dish. Enough to say that the ingredient quality was superb, the execution faultless and the smiling and patient Hiro is always a true gentleman.

There were 4 of us for dinner so we did have a lot of wine. John pulled out all the stops as we were with some very knowledgeable wine drinkers. Rather than intersperse the wine throughout the post, I will post all the wines at the beginning.

Champagne

First white

2nd White

First Red

2nd Red

Dessert Wine

The wonderful Hiro – notice the seasonality of the flowers behind him

Junsai with wasabi, turnip from Kyushu, Japan and shiso leaf.  “According to a pictorial book of wild grasses, junsai, or water shield,Brasenia shreberi J.F. Gmel  belongs to junsai genus of the suiren, water lily, family. It grows in clumps in water of one to three meters deep in natural ponds and irrigation reservoirs. It is a perennial water grass with a long leafstalk whose leaves reach the surface of the water. The flower is violet red. The sprout is covered with a transparent, viscous jelly. This jelly contains various kinds minerals and albumin. The taste and feeling of this jelly is characteristic of junsai.” Junsai are very precious and expensive; their short annual harvest used to be reserved for friends of the emperor. This was served in a shot glass and was a one gulp dish.

Goma tofu, Kyoto-style. The tofu is made from sesame seeds, stuffed with uni and topped with freshly grated wasabi and gold leaf, served in a light dashi seasoned with shoyu and mirin. Hiro had infused the tofu with green tea to signify late spring/early summer.

Toro  “stuffed” with monkfish liver and turnip from Kyoto, shiso, scallion and topped with caviar, yuzu dressing

Sashimi served in a hand carved ice bowl. The ice bowl is never re-used; Hiro carves a fresh one for each person.  The sashimi consisted of Hokkaido Uni, Toro from Malta and Kanpachi from Koyama with Wasabi, Shiso and Soy sauce from Wakayama Japan.

Kobe Beef Tartare with Russian caviar, Red Pickle radish

Red Snapper ‘Bundle” steamed with sake. The red snapper was  placed on hot stones and sake was added. The steaming process cooks the dish evenly and produces an incredibly moist and succulent dish. Dipping sauce of ponzu with radish was provided. The dish itself – notice how Hiro has created an incredible package of amazing taste sensations of red snapper, shrimp, shiso, shitake mushroom, Squash, Scallion tied up in a nori strip.

Abalone – 7 to 8 years old

Abalone Tempura

Hoba Yaki – On a giant Hoba Leaf was Santa Barbara shrimp, Hokkaido scallop and Kobe beef, This sat on top of a puree of Kyoto miso sauce that is made by mixing egg yolk with sweet miso.  The dish was being lightly roasted in the Hoba leaf for a couple of minutes over the coals on the brazier.

Shabu Shabu –  Foie Gras, Scallop and Kobe Beef. Thank goodness we didn’t have to cook it – we had help and the foie takes the longest to cook. After you have consumed each ingredient, you are given a soup spoon to enjoy the broth.

Shabu ingredients

Foie cooking

Now sushi is presented.

Toro

Cooked Toro

Kanpachi

Spanish mackerel

Red Snapper

Skipjack

Squid

Mirugai

Uni

Tuna from Kyoto

Hiro making sushi

Kohada

Baby White Shrimp

Shitake Mushroom

Tamago

Dessert – I am not sure what the pudding was but in the past it has been red bean paste with chestnut pudding, garnished with 23 karat gold flakes and a bowl of green tea

What an extraordinary evening! Yes, it is expensive, but for me it is like taking a trip to Japan for the evening.

Urasawa

This won’t be my best write-up of Urasawa. The meal was perfect, but I was having such a good time that my notes are horrible with sketchy, possibly inaccurate details. Obviously, I will have to let the photos tell most of the story.

The wonderful Hiro

Seasonality is the key to dining at Urasawa. To get the best of Urasawa, if you can afford it, would be to go at least 4 times a year – winter, spring, summer, fall.

Spring Flower Arrangement

BYO Champagne

As best as I can reconstruct from my notes, a slice of toro had been “stuffed” with monkfish liver, held together with a slice of turnip from Kyoto, then topped with scallion and gold leaf,  yuzu dressing

Goma tofu, Kyoto-style. Tofu made from sesame seeds, stuffed with  Uni, spring vegetables on the side. The tofu was topped with freshly grated wasabi and gold leaf. Saucing was a light dashi seasoned with shoyu and mirin. I love this dish

Inside of the Goma Tofu

Spring vegetables – Fiddlehead, Bamboo, Okra and Salmon rolled around Japanese Mountain Root, Dried fish eggs, Sweet miso

BYO White Wine

Beautiful Toro to be prepped for sashimi

Sashimi served in a hand carved ice bowl. The ice bowl is never re-used; Hiro carves a fresh one for each person. The Sashimi consisted of Toro, Kanpachi, Shima Aji (Amberjack) and Uni placed in a manila clam shell. The wasabi is freshly grated, Hiro’s soy sauce is made by him and the gorgeous flower again defined the beautiful seasonality of this dish.

Hiro and I then started talking about uni – this is definitely interactive dining. I mentioned that I loved the Hokkaido uni that Corey Lee served us at French laundry. He said he had some but didn’t want to serve it as it didn’t look “pretty”, but tasted perfectly. Of course, I said I’ll eat it.

Hokkaido Uni

Hokkaido Uni served simply

Russian Caviar

Beef Tartare from Northern Japan with Russian caviar, Red Pickle radish – superb

Red Snapper ‘Bundle” steamed with sake. The red snapper was  placed on hot stones and sake mushi was added. The steaming process cooks the dish evenly and produces an incredibly moist and succulent dish. Dipping sauce of ponzu with radish was provided.

Spring Vegetable Tempura

Hoba Yaki – On a giant Hoba Leaf were fresh shrimp, beef and ???? sitting in a puree of Kyoto miso sauce that is made by mixing egg yolk with sweet miso.  The dish was being lightly roasted in the Hoba leaf for a couple of minutes over the coals on the brazier.  Unbelievable and the sauce was perfect just by itself.

Preparation for Shabu Shabu

Real Kobe Beef – the beef is now fed with red wine – I would have made a good Kobe beef cow – massages and red wine.

Foie Gras And Kobe – Hiro sliced the Kobe and then pounded it flat with side of his knife

Broth for the Shabu Shabu, Dipping Sauce, Kobe, Foie Gras and Hotaru Ika/Firefly squid

Close-up

Shabu Shabu – thank goodness we didn’t have to cook it – we had help and the foie takes the longest to cook. After you have consumed each ingredient, you are given a soup spoon to enjoy the broth.

The squid cooked

The Kobe cooked

The foie cooked

Now sushi is presented. Hiro is still using 180 grains of rice per each sushi. John didn’t get a photo of each and every piece of sushi so this is not a complete array of what we were served. I was also not on the ball and didn’t write down each piece. I will try to the best of my ability identify each piece, but I can’t vouch for my accuracy.

Toro

Aji

Red Snapper

Grilled Shitake Mushroom

Maguro

Squid

Uni

Kohada

Needlefish

Giant Clam

Toro

Tamago

What a perfect restaurant, what a perfect evening, what perfect cuisine and what a master chef.


Categories


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46 other followers