Ukiyo, NYC

October 2, 2018

Jack and Grace Lamb own Jewel Bako, a sushi restaurant in the East Village which has had a Michelin star for the last thirteen years. They have tried several restaurants in the space on the other side of its entryway, most recently Degustation, which we enjoyed. But in May 2018 they transformed it into Ukiyo. Linda and I went there for dinner on August 23, 2018.

The front door, which used to be an unmarked red door, has been jazzed up.

We were seated at the far left corner of the eighteen-seat counter, right in front of the chef’s work station. This gave us the chance to watch and chat with Dutch chef Marco Prins, a four year veteran of both Oud Sluis and Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare.

Here are some other shots of the counter, a holdover from the original Japanese format of the space, and of sous-chefs at work.

The greens on the left were growing in a flat and were snipped as needed. Freshly grated citrus zest was used a lot.

We started with glasses of Nicholas Feuillate Champagne. The menu has à la carte offerings as well as five and eight course, our choice, tasting menus. All of our courses appear on the à la carte list so I was able to take the titles below from it, although they are not completely accurate as ingredients can change daily.  We ordered a bottle of 2007 Dominio Romano Tempranillo, which was very good.

Our first course was
Razor Clams, Yogurt Cream,

Clam meat was served in a razor clam shell dressed with yoghurt and a coconut sauce.

Tomato Structures,
Basil, Bottarga, Manchego,
Tomato Water, Elderflower

Pieces of fresh tomato were mixed with various seasonings and Japanese puffed rice.

Bread and Butter
Potato Onion Navette Roll,
Beurre Mont from New England

The warm, soft potato bread was nicely enhanced by the creamy butter topped with nori shreds.

Avocado, Radish, Buttermilk, Dill, Crispy Crab

We enjoyed watching the elaborate plating of this dish. First two little scoops of crab salad were put on the plate. Then they were topped with thin radish slices. Avocado and buttermilk balls were squeezed on. Dill and other little leaves were added. Finally the chef put battered pieces of soft shell crab into the basket in hot oil in front of us, and him, and added the tempura crab on top for serving fresh and hot.

Curry Bretagne Mussel Soup
Toast, Pickled Mussels, Carrots, Mustard

The creamy, foamy mussel broth was lightly curried. The toast wedge was topped with pickled Japanese mussels, mustard seeds and greens. I thought that this was excellent with good complementary flavors in balance.

Striped Bass
Tom Ka Kai, Turnip, Yuzu

A chunk of striped bass was covered with a coconut flavored foam and garnished with various little vegetables.

Foie Cocktail
Pickled Cherries, Sakura Blossoms, Cherry Meringue

Foie gras mousse in the bottom of crystal martini glasses was topped with pickled cherries, cherry meringue buds and thin toast crisps.

Black Angus Striploin
Eggplant, Miso, Crispy Potato, Black Garlic

From left to right were, I think, an eggplant mousse, miso braised eggplant, sliced beef sirloin, a beef tongue composition, black garlic mousse and a mashed potato rectangle that had been deep fried in the same bath used for the tempura.

Portuguese Cheese
Crispy Cranberry Pecan Batard, Fig,
Italian Orange Blossom Honey

The cheese was like a tomme, but softer. Nice.

Yogurt, Hyssop, Vinegar Meringue

Stewed huckleberries were topped with yoghurt ice cream and red wine vinegar meringue wafers.

Tea Service
Japanese Genmaicha, Chocolate Mousse,
Crispy Caramel, Sorrento Lemon Madeleine

A cup of green tea combined with roasted popped brown rice was accompanied by chocolate mousse topped with raspberries and lemony madeleine cakes.

We had a very good time. The cuisine was inventive, varied and well executed with good ingredients. It always held our interest. Watching the preparation, plating and serving of the dishes was enjoyable. The pace was quite rapid, which was fine with us. I expect that Ukyio and chef Prins will be around for many years.


One Response to “Ukiyo, NYC”

  1. Sue Girdwood Says:

    This looks terrific!

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