good food + awesome travel & occasional odd bits

Zurriola {Tokyo}

It happened again- I bookmarked way too many restaurants in my Michelin Tokyo guide. I had more dining establishments bookmarked than we had days to eat. So, the inevitable needed to happen… I began to edit out choices and pare down to the absolute must try places. Being that it was Golden Week, many restaurants were closed so that made the decisions much easier.

Top of my list was Zurriola, a one star Michelin restaurant serving Spanish-Japanese cuisine. The owner/chef lived and worked  in San Sebastian and brought the Spanish ingredients and techniques back to Japan and artfully blended the two into a seamless and delectable experience. There is only one prix fixe menu comprised of eleven decadent courses. Let’s get to the good stuff:

First: Fennel flan, marinaded mushroom, and “5J” jamon serrano

Second: Partially cooked foie gras with praline and yogurt. What can I say? This is the most inventive way to serve foie gras. The praline and cocoa powder are a wonderfully fresh pairing- it’s almost like a dessert, but retains savoriness at the same time. The texture was absolutely silky, melts in the mouth.

Third: Shrimp “botan-ebi”, “manzanilla” veil, wild rice souffle and avocado

Fourth: Char-grilled squid with cream of emmental cheese and fuki

Fifth: Oven baked “kasago”, sauce Nora, and sugar peas

Kasago is very similar in taste and texture to monkfish. At this point, I was getting quite full and actually had to request that all subsequent dishes be a tad smaller in size. Basically, I just needed a small taste of everything yet to come.

Sixth: Roast pork from Chiba, crispy skin and sweet chutney

Seventh: Stewed beef cheek with sweet sherry and beets

Ok, here I am completely forgetting about how ridiculously full I’m getting and totally polished off this dish. I probably shouldn’t have…

Eighth: Cheese selection

Ninth: Pistachio and currant

White chocolate mousse-like cake coated in pistachios and sugared currants. I was most impressed with the sugared currants and could have easily cleaned up an entire bowl of them.

Tenth: Cafe and Baileys

We were informed that the chef loves Baileys and so this creation was born- it was a dense, chocolate truffle-like sliver with hazelnuts and ice cream. Now we’re talking!

Eleventh: Petits fours and cafe

My favorite way to end a perfect meal- almond cake, truffle, and a magical concoction of orange juice, balsamic vinegar, pistachio oil, and mustard. So unique a with an impressive flavor combination that truly works.

This was a wonderful dining experience, one which I would definitely like to return to. Service was impeccable as was the food. As an added bonus, we got to meet the chef afterward and that was just the icing on the cake. Zurriola seems to be striving for a second star and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was in their near future.

Zurriola

3-2-7 Azabujuban

Minato-Ku, Tokyo

www.zurriola.jp

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