Rosanjin, NYC 5

September 17, 2013

Three years ago, one of my 70th birthday celebrations was at Rosanjin. We reserved the entire restaurant for a Kaiseki meal for 16 diners. Linda and I returned to Rosanjin this year on July 27, 2013, my 73rd birthday, with Ron, June and Russell.

On reserving we had ordered a ten-course Kaiseki menu. We also ordered the sake pairings with each course. The sakes were described to us as they were served in a wide variety of pretty little glasses. The sake descriptions furnished to us later, along with the detailed menu descriptions, are shown below each course. 

A Kaiseki meal at Rosanjin follows a traditional format. You can read some of the background of the restaurant in my previous blogposts.

The first course was
Appetizer/ 冷菜 
Kuruma shrimp, Sea urchin and summer vegetables (eggplant, okura, tomato, Chinese yam) made with jelly
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The jelly made with a vegetable stock was delicious and enhanced each piece of seafood and vegetables in it.

The sake was:
先付け Ugo no Tsuki (Hiroshima/ Light)
Junmai Dai Ginjo, Refreshing fragrances w/ mild & elegant flavor and genuine body

Assorted Appetizer/
Cooked abalone, herring fish roe with kelp, Baby sweet fish escabeche, Japanese escargot (Isotsubugai) and mozuku-su (seaweed marinated with vinegar), Washu-gyu (Japanese fillet beef) topped with grated daikon radish and yuzu sauce.

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This was quite complex, typical of an appetizer presentation at the start of a kaiseki meal. Serving the beef in a fish-shaped pot was a humorous touch.

The sake was:
前菜 Yuji no Bosha (Akita/Light/Fruity)
Junmai-Ginjo, Anise on the nose, tropical fruits and strawberries on the palate, crisp and clean

Clear Soup / 
Hamo no Kudzu uchi (Hamo cooked with kudzu powder) with plum paste, layered with daikon, carrot, small turnip, and freckle gold leaf, served with fresh water shield in bonito and kelp broth.
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The broth was a standard of Japanese cuisine, but seemed particularly refined. The piece of pike conger eel added a special point of interest to what might otherwise have been a bland dish.

The sake was:
椀物 Kubota Manjyu (Niigata/ dry/ sophisticated)
Junmai Dai-Ginjo, super premium sake in Japan, cedar with hints of dried orange peel aroma and clean finish

Sashimi / 御造里
Kinmedai (golden eye snapper) kelp flavor, Botan shrimp, Blue fin fatty toro, Fluke and Octopus topped with plum paste.
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The toro tuna was particularly special. The inclusion of octopus and shrimp, both slightly cooked, added a nice variety to the sashimi. The freshly grated, mild wasabi was very nice.

The sake (in the glass on the lower left) was:
造り Shimeharituru “Pure Jun” (Niigata/Semi Dry/Soft & Rich)
Junmai-Ginjo, High quality rice used in its product, soft and rounded flavor finish

Sushi / お凌ぎ (寿司)
Wild red snapper kelp flavor topped with caviar and Sea Urchin

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The two pieces of sushi were particularly luscious and rich.

The sake was:
凌ぎ(寿司)Hakkaisan (Nigata/ Dry/ Light)
Junmai-Ginjo, Exceptional clarity of flavor & quiet elegance on the palate. Crisp, refreshing finish.

Grilled dish /
Grilled Isaki (grunt) served with grated daikon radish spicy yuzu sauce and sweet sour ginger (Myoga)

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Despite isaki’s awkward name in English, threeline grunt, this bottom feeding predator has a good flavor of the sea. With a layer of fat under its skin, it lends itself well to grilling. This was nicely done. 

The sake (on the left) was:
焼き物 Tengumai Yamahai (Ishikawa/Semi Dry)
Junmai, Rich, funky, powerful, distinctive acidity and dryness has well balanced finish is clean

Simmered dish / 煮物
Tile fish and tofu simmered with sake topped with julienne scallion served with garland chrysanthemum and maitake, enoki mushroom served with ponzu and yuzu pepper

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There were subtle, elegant flavors here. They could be spiced up with the ponzu and interesting yuzu pepper in the two little dishes peeking out from the right of the photo.

The sake was:
温物 Nanago (Nagano /Dry/ Fruity Aroma)
Junmai-Dai ginjo, Redolently flavorful & smooth, yet deeply complex with long finish

Tempura dish /
Deep fried Soft shell crab, fluke with plum paste wrapped with shiso leaf, shishito pepper and lotus root 

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The tempura batter was light, crisp and still hot. The variety of ingredients made this a particularly interesting dish.

The sake (upper left) was:
揚げ物 Senchin (Niigata/dry/ fruity elegant)
Junmai Dai Ginjo, Fruity, floral, and with good structure, silky, smooth, mellow and well-rounded, extremely elegant and sophisticated sake

Rice dish / ご飯物
Rice cooked with Ainame (fat greenling), carrot, burdock, butter bur and julienne shiso leaf and myoga in a traditional hot pot with bonito broth served with pickled vegetable & red miso soup.
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rosanjin 017 (480x248) 

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This was an excellent traditional finishing rice dish, cooked in a traditional eartenware pot with elegant flavoring ingredients. The high-quality pickles sparked it up without impinging on its subtleties. The miso soup also had extra ingredients and care.

The sake was:
御飯物 Amanoto (Akita/Very Dry)
Junmai, dry and crisp but noted for its deep, rich flavor and refreshing finish

Dessert / デザート
Japanese pastry; Sticky rice made with kudzu powder, sweet red bean paste in side, served with molasses syrup (kuromitsu) and toasted soy bean powder (kinako), Matcha  ice cream, blueberry yogurt ice cream and baked cheese cake topped with assorted berry.

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As it was my birthday, I received a candle and decorative greetings along with the dessert, which is not traditional in Kaiseki, but, even in Japan now, one sometimes gets more than just a good piece of fruit. The dessert included several items nicely done with Japanese ingredients

The sake (to the right of the candle) was:
水菓子 Aodani no Ume (Kyoto/Sweet)
plum infused sake; it has aged 7 years; as a result the taste is deep and rich, a sweet  plum flavor with crisp finish.

The meal was excellent from start to finish. As we had ordered well in advance, special ingredients had been assembled for us. A lot of extra imagination and work went into preparing them without essential divergence from the Kaiseki traditions. The service, pace and ambience was excellent. We are glad we chose Rosanjin for another birthday celebration.

To see all of our Rosanjin meals click here. 

2 Responses to “Rosanjin, NYC 5”

  1. Happy Birthday again!

  2. Jerry Vance Says:

    Wow! Great day for all.

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