Monday, March 7, 2011

New Year's Eve Dinner @ Kiyokawa

First, I would like to say that I did not jump on the Kiyokawa bandwagon after Jonathan Gold raved about it. I've been wanting to go to Kiyokawa a long time before his review, ever since a friend of mine ate there for a business dinner and couldn't stop talking about it. Finally, after years of procrastination, I made it to dinner. J is not a huge fan of multi-course meals where you stuff yourself silly for several hours, so naturally, sushi was our first choice.

Good decision.

I was wearing a dress that was so tight on top, I couldn't breathe.

Bad decision.

But, don't worry... I still ate everything. =)

It was a chilly new years eve night and we had reservations at Kiyokawa. Being excited was an understatement. Upon our arrival, we were greeted warmly by the host and quickly seated at the bar. The chef, while preparing to cut into a beautiful piece of tuna, looked up and smiled. He asked us the usual, "is there anything we can't eat or don't like?"and we gave him our usual answer of "we eat everything."

 course 1: tomato, deep fried asparagus, pickled cucumbers, spinach, mackerel, omelette

Our first course was an array of mini appetizers reminiscent of banchan. The pickled cucumbers were delicious since I love almost anything pickled. J liked the crunchy deep fried asparagus and we both really enjoyed the omelet. It was a nice introduction for the meal to come.

 course 2: sashimi course - Spanish mackerel, Santa Barbara abalone with citrus pepper, tuna, yellowtail, red snapper

The sashimi course was next. The color on the fish was beautiful and cut was generous. I really enjoyed the almost crunchy texture of the abalone and the citrus pepper on top. J, not usually being a fan of mackerel, said the Spanish mackerel was his favorite. Surprising, but then again not so much. The Spanish mackerel was wonderfully oily and melted in my mouth.

 course 3: shrimp tempura with daikon, kumamoto oyster with caviar and gold leaf, fried seaweed, snow crab, seared toro, foie gras

The next course was one of my favorite courses of the night. It had everything that I loved! I started off with the kumamoto oyster with caviar and gold leaf on top. Delicious. I then moved onto the fried seaweed and shrimp tempura, which were both nice but not as memorable. Why? Because I was saving the best for last. The foie gras and seared toro were both heavenly and wonderfully fatty. I still dream about that seared toro...

 course 4: hot pot of snow crab, carrot, green bean, daikon and tofu

Next up was a hot pot of crab and vegetables. The sweet crab was tender and the vegetables were beautifully prepared. It was simple and perfect. This dish really showed me Chef Kiyokawa's skill in practicing restraint and achieving great flavors with that restraint.

course 5: seared black cod, greens, soy bean paste dots

The flavor of the black cod was great, but the texture was a bit too mushy for me. I wanted more flakiness to the fish. The salad was also a bit overdressed, but I absolutely loved the soybean dots on the plate that added depth to the dish.

 course 6: shitake mushroom soup with white fishball

The aromatic soup of shitake mushroom was next. This bowl of soup was perfect for the chilly weather. It was earthy, warm and very comforting. It's something I wish I could eat whenever I was feeling under the weather. This and my mom's chicken-ginger soup with rice.

course 7: sushi course - Spanish super toro, yellowtail belly, halibut with citrus pepper, Hokkaido scallop with hot olive oil, Santa Barbara uni

Our omakase was coming to an end with the sushi course. The toro and yellowtail belly were fatty and buttery. Melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The halibut with the citrus pepper was nice and bright. The scallop with the hot olive oil was tender and mildly sweet. Of course, I saved my favorite for last. The generous amounts of uni were creamy and sweet. Always a great combination with the wasabi on top.

course 8: black sesame ice cream

We finished our dinner with black sesame ice cream, one of our favorite flavors. Just in time because we were getting pretty stuffed. Maybe it was the dress or maybe it was the fact that I knew the night ahead would be full of drinking, but I couldn't eat another bite. The ice cream was the perfect portion and perfect end to our last meal of 2010.

We wanted a simple, yet memorable meal for our last dinner of the year and we got exactly that. It was the details that really made this dinner special for me. You can see the extra care Chef Kiyokawa puts into his food by how the quality of the ingredients shines through in every dish. If you love Japanese cuisine or sushi, I highly recommend this place. I've been waiting so long to try this place and it did not disappoint. This meal was the closes thing I've experienced in the States that reminded me of the food I had in Japan.... Now back to dreaming about Japan....

Kiyokawa Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kiyokawa in Los Angeles on Fooddigger

265 S. Robertson Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 358-1900


Medifast Coupon Code 2011 said...

What a spread of food, absolutely mouth watering. If you don't mind me asking, how much did this all end up costing come the end of the night?

Diana said...

That seared toro sounds ah-mazing! As does everything! What a great way to ring in the New Year!

Was so great hanging out with you on Sunday! Hope we meet up again soon!

Gastronomer said...

Your dinner looks so spectacular! I gots to hit up this joint. I am a sushi whore!

bagnatic said...

oh wow, the dinner looked phenomenal!

nelehelen said...

medifast - the bill was about $200 with tip? i'm not to sure, but i don't think it was bad at all!

diana - yes! lets hang out soon! i need more wine :)

cathy - i am a HUGE sushi whore. please let me know if you ever need a sushi dining companion!

amy - it was delicious!!

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