15 East, NYC 5

April 25, 2017

It had been almost five years since our last visit when Linda and I returned to 15 East with Amanda and Kent on April 8, 2017.

We were seated at a round table in the dining room.

We started with beers. Linda and Amanda had Orion “Premium Draft Lager.” Kent and I had Hitachino Nest “White Ale.”  This is a  wheat beer with added orange peel, coriander and other spices. Enjoyable as a refresher.

We chose the Tasting Menu from the fairly complex offerings. 15 East is best known for its sushi counter, but the kitchen is also interesting and the Tasting Menu includes plenty of sushi. We ordered a bottle of Tatenogawa 33 sake. This was followed by a bottle of Narutotai “Yamahai Genshu.” The first was considerably more elegant than the second. This is representative of their respective geographies–Tatenogawa is from Yamagata prefecture in the north, whereas the Narutotai is from Tokushima in the south

Hassun
There were four parts to this excellent appetizer course.
First
Two chunks of octopus.

These were tender and delicious. I think they had been slow-poached and then lightly grilled. 

Smoked salmon with red vinegar.

There was a distinctive smoky taste that was nice, but not very Japanese.

Russian snow crab on a shiso leaf topped with seaweed greens. (I think that “Russian” means in the Russian controlled seas just north of Hokkaido. I know that is true of the uni below.)

Firefly squid on an egg yolk sauce..

These filled the mouth with a good squid flavor. 

Chawan Mushi

This traditional egg custard was garnished with king crab and paddlefish caviar. It was nice, but I have had better.

Sashimi
A sharkskin grater and a five-year-old wasabi root were brought out; the freshly grated wasabi was served to us alongside a rich soy sauce.


There were two slices each of otoro, yellowtail, Japanese snapper, bonito and small grilled seabass. The seagrapes were from Okinawa. When we had finished the sashimi on this plate, the prawn head was taken away; it reappeared as tempura, which really brought out the flavor and was a nice crunch after the softness of the sashimi.

Choice
Linda and Amanda chose the
Cherry Wood Smoked Duck
satsuma yam, leeks, confit plum, honey madeira reduction.

They thought that the duck, plum, leek course was a great combination. It had good texture and taste.

Kent and I had a slice of red snapper filet on chickpeas with a green sauce.

The combination was unexpected, but worked nicely.

Nigiri

We were given pickled ginger and a light soy sauce for dipping. The ginger had too much vinegar for me. The first four of the eight sushi pieces arrived.


Otoro, the fattiest portion of the tuna.


Shrimp topped with caviar


Akami or the lean cut of tuna.


Sea bass with lemon juice and pepper.

Then the next four


Aburi toro (lightly singed tuna belly).


Saba (mackerel)


Baby red snapper with egg shavings


Anago, or sea eel.

Uni
We had asked and learned that the Tasting Menu this  evening would not include uni, or sea urchin. So we ordered as a supplement two Uni Flights to share. The origins were Maine, Russia and Hokkaido, the reverse order of our rankings, but they were all delicious with generous portions.


Soba

This was described as “Sakura soba.” We were in the sakura, or cherry blossom, season.  The cherry leaf was softened and edible. The buckwheat noodles were quite thin. They were served cold on a soy based sauce.
When we were done with them, at Kent’s request, some of the hot water in which they had been cooked was poured into our bowls to make a good soup.

Dessert
Mineoka
Milk sesame pudding, kurosato syrup.


The blob of creamy, sesame flavored pudding was good; not too sweet. The sauce underneath, made from Okinawan black sugar, was like a light molasses.

Black sesame macarons.

A nice finish.
We enjoyed the cuisine. It was all basically Japanese with local or modern touches. The ingredients and combinations were very good. The format was jumbled omakase. The service was friendly and efficient. Everything was explained as it was served, but I did not remember or note some of it. Fortunately, Kent, who speaks Japanese, could help me out for this blogpost. The pace was just right. The noise level was pleasant when we arrived, but gradually became raucous as the dining room filled up and the age level lowered. Here is the view from my seat as we finished.

We could see the activity at the sushi counter as we left.

http://15eastrestaurant.com

To see all our 15 East posts, click here.

 

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