Most foreign restaurants just faithfully recreate typical foreign food. That's interesting for most people, but a bit mundane for my fancy snout.
Kenji does fine, creative Japanese food. There's a strong Western element, but it's still clearly Japanese.
With spanner crab, enoki & Savoy cabbage roll, pickled cauliflower, mitsuba, egg yolk sauce.
The dry fish, at the top left, has a herby crust, which adds a bit of crunch. The egg yolk sauce has a good dash of vinegar in it, and adds a creamy tang to the fish. The fish itself is rare, but not raw. It's very soft, but not squishy.
The salad in the middle of the plate looks like something raked off the lawn. There's Japanese parsley, slivers of white daikon radish core, shiso ("Japanese "basil"), and mitsuba (like spindly sprouts of lettuce) I see no normal components in it. Everything in it is flat and thin, and it has a slight leafy flavour, but nothing unpleasant or bitter. There's just a dash of oil in it.
The little rolls of crab have a strong fruity taste. It's slightly unexpected, but interesting enough.
The piece of fish at the bottom right is more cooked, and less spiced, allowing the typical "cooked fish" taste to come through a bit.
I ask about some of the components, and the waitress brings out a plate of components, to explain them to me.
With poached rhubarb, lychee, popping candy, lotus root chips.
The rhubarb has a very strong, tangy taste. It's a bit like plum. It goes perfectly with the sweet, smooth ice cream of the parfait.
The super-sweet chunks of Turkish delight contrast again with the ice cream.
Some of the chunks of Turkish delight are extremely solid and chewy, but they have an amazing, almost caramel-like taste and texture.
I'm glad to see only a minimal appearance of popping candy in this dish. I consider it to be a gimmick and an annoyance, though it is novel the first few times.
This was a novel, strongly-flavoured group of components that made a cohesive dish. This is what I'm always looking for in my feeds.