FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Kaiseki Room by Yamada

by Ron Bernthal

Sep 23, 2022

© Max Flatow

Daily

There are 30,165 Japanese restaurants in the United States, but only a few offer the traditional Kaiseki cuisine. One of the newest kaiseki dining venues in New York City opened in midtown Manhattan in 2021, when the 20-seat Kaiseki Room by Yamada began offering an eight- or 10-course tasting menu using the traditional kaiseki cuisine.

 

Kaiseki Room

© Max Flatow

 

Do not confuse kaiseki with omakase. According to food writer Angela Sibal, “Omakase is not a tasting menu and it does not have a price listed on the menu. A true omakase starts with guests sitting at the bar in front of the chef. The chef serves a first course based on what is fresh for the day, and the next course is created based on the guests’ reactions to the current course, and so on with the rest of the courses until you tell the chef that you are full.

 

“In Japan, kaiseki is considered the best fine dining cuisine. Like omakase, guests sit at the bar in front of the chef, but a traditional kaiseki meal will have nine to 12 courses, including sakizuke (amuse bouche), hassun (seasonal course), suimono (soup course with dash broth base), tsukuri (sashimi course), yakimono (grilled course), takiawase (simmered course), shokuji (rice course), and mizugashi or mizumono (sweets or fruits).”

 

Kaiseki

© Joanna Tricorache

 

This elaborate multicourse meal made up of the most colorful (literally) and seasonal ingredients is popular in Japan and often associated with the city of Kyoto. Chef Yamada of The Kaiseki Room trained at the Kyoto location of Kitcho, one of Japan’s most highly regarded, three-Michelin-star kaiseki counters. Chef Yamada also worked with noted New York chef David Bouley in New York.

 

Chef Yamada’s dishes are precise and meticulous, from preparation of the food to the beautiful plating. His dedication to Japan’s highest culinary art form is featured in a 10-course, hyper-seasonal kaiseki experience. Yamada follows kaiseki’s customary menu progression, starting with a small appetizer such as chilled kabocha pumpkin soup with pink spider crab and caviar. This dish is followed by various dishes like steamed abalone with foie gras dashi; seasonal sashimi; Japanese rosy seabass and Hokkaido uni; Wagyu with Jidori egg soy sauce; Donabe pot rice; Okinawa black sugar pudding with ginger Earl Grey ice cream; and matcha (green tea). Often, a wonderful, flourless chocolate cake comes at the end, as well.

 

Kaiseki

© Joanna Tricorache

 

Some items on the kaiseki tasting menu are relatively new to many Americans, but the staff is great about explaining each course, and the service, presentation and product freshness at The Kaiseki Room is of the highest standards. Located in the middle of Manhattan, between West 53rd and 54th streets on a unique strip of real estate called 6½ Avenue, this small, modern restaurant is easy to miss, but once inside the nicely designed, light maple wood interior, it is almost like being in Kyoto.

 

The Kaiseki Room by Yamada offers two seatings per night at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Friday and Saturday); and 5:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). Reservations are required and on-time arrivals are especially important. The Chef Counter Experience 10-course menu is $300 per person; the Table Experience eight-course menu is $200.

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FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

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