Tag Archives: Chef’s Table

A Little Taste of Tokyo

When you think about going out for Japanese food, you think about sushi, right? Maybe hibachi, but usually not.  Did you know there is another kind of Japanese restaurant altogether?  No, it’s not a hybrid, like a maltipoo.  It’s an entirely different breed.  Yakitori literally means grilled bird in Japanese.  So, a Yakitori restaurant is, you guessed it, place to get several courses of grilled chicken on skewers. Yakitori restaurants can be found all over Japan, or so I’m told.  This Bite-Sized Blonde hasn’t been to Japan yet…one day, one day.   Until then, I’ll just travel a few blocks north to have a little taste of Tokyo.

Yakitori Tori Shin is located on the Upper East Side.  Tori Shin means true chicken.  The restaurant was so named because of their mission to promote the most authentic Tokyo style yakitori experience with the highest quality ingredients.  The restaurant cooks organic chicken on charcoal grills for a unique flavor.  This small restaurant offers 40 different chicken skewers, and lots of veggies too.  For the timid diner, Tori Shin offers “regular” skewers of breast meat and wings.  But, for those a little more adventurous, they offer gizzards, hearts, and livers!  I have a few adventurous bones in my body, so I decided to go with the Omakase, otherwise known as the Chef’s Choice!  The omakase came with pickled vegetables, grated daikon, 6 kinds of meat, 2 kinds of vegetables, a rice dish and dessert.

We started with edamame.  Nothing like a little taste of the familiar to calm your nerves.  The edamame was kept on the branch, which makes for a beautiful presentation.  It is prepared on the grill so it absorbs the smoky flavor. These edadmame were awesome!

The Shitake Mushrooms were delicious, as they always are.  They have a very distinct, woodsy flavor.

The Corn was so sweet.  I love grilled corn.  Other than my corn salad, it is my favorite way to prepare corn.  This did not disappoint!

The Shishitou Peppers rocked.  These tiny peppers are usually mild, but every now and again, you will get a hot one.  The anticipation will drive you wild, and you know how this BSB likes to be kept on her toes.

The Chicken with Scallion skewers were one of my favorites.  The grilled scallions take on a sweet note, and the chicken is smoky from the grill.

The Quail Eggs were so unusual.   Not because they are quail.  Quail eggs taste just like chicken eggs.  But because they were grilled in their shells, they absorb that great charcoal flavor.  These are a must-order!

Neck.  I know what you are thinking.  No way Jose.  But, I have to tell you, it was mighty fine.  The neck tastes like any other part of the chicken.  If you don’t know it’s neck, you would never guess it.  Ignorance is bliss people! Ignorance is bliss.

The Dark Breast Meat was good.  It tasted like many of the rest of the dishes.  Because there were so many interesting dishes to try, this may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

The Meatballs were tender, the wings were flavorful, and the zucchini was sweet and mild.  It’s all about the grill at Tori Shin and they really know how to use it.

The Special rice dish is something I could have lived without.  Not only was I full by the time we got this, but it was soupy.

The extensive Sake list should be noted.  Not a sake expert? Don’t worry, they are at Tori Shin.  Another noteworth attribute: most of the seating is at the chef’s counter, so you get to see a show while you eat! You know how much this BSB loves that.

Need a little more vacation time this summer?  Head up to Yakitori Tori Shin for a little taste of Tokyo. It’s a vacation for your belly!

Yakitori Tori Shin
1193 First Ave
New York, NY

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Have you ever heard of the Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare?  If you are scratching your head now, you are going to thank me later.  Brooklyn Fare is a supermarket in Brooklyn.  Yes, you heard me correctly…a supermarket.  And what better place to dine right?  The Chef’s Table is a restaurant a few doors down from the market.  The restaurant, which is the only restaurant in Brooklyn with two Michelin Stars, is an intimate, 18-seat space that will take any foodie’s breath away.  As the front door opens, you walk into clouds of hanging copper pots that glow from the soft candlelight embroidering the room and you know this must be what heaven looks like.

Well, they say it’s a long way to heaven, and boy were they not kidding.  I made a reservation in the middle February and the first day they could offer me was a Friday in April. You might be wondering why anyone would wait so long for a reservation.  Well, the truth is, that’s the only way to get there.  Brooklyn Fare opens the phone for reservations on Monday mornings at 10:00 am.  They take reservations for an entire week, six weeks out! Don’t think you can just pick up the phone at 10:04 and get someone to answer, because you will be sadly mistaken.  I spent the better part of an hour hitting redial until the dreaded busy signal turned into a melodious ring.  Getting the reservation is more than half the battle, but waiting 6 weeks to dine is borderline torture.    Thinking about dinner becomes dreaming and before you know it you are fantasizing…it’s like 6 weeks of foreplay and no action.

Well, this Bite-Sized Blonde finally got in…and it was worth the wait.  This tasting is almost 20 courses, and each bite of food is more delicious than the next.  Chef Cesar Ramirez carefully choreographs this menu, so that each course has a more developed flavor profile than the last.  The first eight or so courses are canapés, which are perfectly petite at one to two bites each.  The canapés are served on unique utensils that make the tasting feel like the most exclusive exhibition.

The canapés are followed by several entrees as well as cheese and dessert courses.  Out of respect for the Chef, I won’t divulge too many details about the menu; they ask specifically that you do not take notes or use a camera in the dining room!  But, Chef Ramirez did make an appearance on food(ography) this week to discuss one of his entrees, so I guess it is “fare game”.   The Chef prepares a monkfish so tender and beautiful you think you are dreaming.  The monkfish tail is cut into sizeable pieces, as is foie gras.  They are both delicately wrapped in napa cabbage and then steamed and served with a white wine and shallot reduction.  Now, that’s love.

And speaking of love, you must really love food to go to Brooklyn Fare.  Dinner will set you back $165/person before tax and service.  Oh, and did I mention that it is BYO? Expect to spend $500 a couple here.   But hey, can you really put a price on love?

Just in case you missed Chef Ramirez on food(ography) Sunday night, you can watch the episode tonight at 9:00 PM on the Cooking Channel.

Brooklyn Fare
200 Schermerhorn St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201