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Showing posts with label NCY 2014. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NCY 2014. Show all posts

Monday, July 28, 2014

NYC: Yakitori @ Tori Shin, Upper East Side

Recommended by friends and seconded by the sushi masters at Sushi Azabu,  Tori Shin the one-Michelin star Yakitoriya in the bustling Manhattan became host to my dinner on a rainy night.   Equipped with a charcoal grill fuelled by imported oak-tree charcoal, Tori Shin remains true to the Yakitori practice.  In here, be prepared for a predominantly chicken based menu which the chefs lovingly hand-grill each and every skewer.   I can already imagine people frowning at the word “chicken” but how can I blame you after having so many bad experiences myself.   Chicken is a common protein which means many people tend to abuse the convenience of it.  But after a long time comes something special like Tori Shin.
A moment at Tori Shin with Head Chef and Manager, Atsushi Kono.

As per usual, when at a restaurant like this I decided to go with the Omakase.  After all, if you are a newcomer and want to know what to eat, why not try the best the restaurant has to offer?
Pickled cucumber and radish

The first course of the night was a seasonal course of prawns, mozzarella, bean mix and a tomato like chutney.  It was nowhere near the conventional Japanese I was expecting, yet every bit was more-ish.  Fresh, and appetising with an intention to make one feel like eating more.  Reminds me a little of the pickled vermicelli at Kanta!

Then came the grilled Leba, or Chicken Liver.  Perfectly charred on the outside, creamy on the inside.  Imagine Foie Gras like consistency in the middle serenaded by a woody smokiness.  At the very last piece I added the recommended lemongrass salt which really elevated the flavours beyond the norm.
If you do not do organs, the salt will help a lot! 

The palate cleanser. A small bowl of grated radish with a drizzling of soy. 

Harami, chicken ribs.

Nankotsu, cartilage. Not a big fan of this as it is something I discard from my chicken every single time.  To some though, it is a delicacy.  A true example of the idiom "one man's rubbish is another man's treasure".

Pork Belly with Garlic Miso. Need I say more? Lovely crust on the pork with a garlicky miso to pair. Sweet!

Shiitake. I always knew this little fungus was magical beyond the large red toadstool in children storybooks.  Juicy, earth and with a drizzling of lemon, simple but yummy.

Onions.  You might think I am getting scammed at this point. Michelin dollar for chicken portions that no one really eats, shrooms and now onions.  Do not be fooled.  Even the Koreans put this little lovely herb on their barbecue.  When slowly charred over charcoal, these little beauties caramelises and becomes amazingly sweet.

Soriresu, or chicken oyster.  The most tender part of the chicken.  Juicier than the tenderloin or the thigh, inexperience chefs often discard this section with the carcass after carving the chicken.  At Tori Shin, a crisp and salty skin cover hide a tender chicken pieces that is simply juicy. Mind bogglingly good.
Thigh meat with yuzukosho.

Duck with asparagus.  Thinly sliced duck flesh could easily be mistaken by a high grade beef cooked to perfection.  But its mild gaminess was the giveaway.

The next summer dish.  A dish consisting of marinated diced tomatoes.  Felt like a Japanese bruschetta but with a much cleaner, and crisp finish.  Refreshing :)

Breast meat with Yuan Sauce & Moromiso & Shiso.  A chef specialty and favourite.  Tender chicken pieces marinated in a trio of soy, sake and mirin before being grilled on a skewer.  Topped with sliced shiso and Moromiso.  An explosion of flavours.  The chicken itself had layer of saltiness, sweetness and fragrance from the marinade.  Topped with miso and shiso it was a very nice bite!

Special meatball which consisted of two different mince; chicken and duck.  This was my request for my final piece.  It was simply wow.  Tender and juicy on the inside with rich flavours from the countless basting done.   Nom nom nom!

The last course was a rice dish.  My choice was the Oyako-don.  Chicken, eggs, scallion, onions and rice.  Whilst I found the over marinate was a little under and could do with more mirin/soy, I was absolutely pleased with the silkiness of the egg.  It was just so more-ish.  I added my own soy and made the dish a little saltier and was super happy.  After finishing, I had a bowl of chicken broth to wash it all down.  This definitely had my approval.  Good stuff!

The dessert was a Shiso sorbet.  Could not have had anything more refreshing to end the night with.   This leaf has a beautiful sweetness and fragrant to it.   Never knew it could be turned into something sweet as my meals on Seoul and now the States had taught me that Shiso was frequently used in savoury dishes.  To see it used as a dessert, was an eye opener.

Everyone has a different experience when it comes to eating.  One thing for sure is that the balance between good or bad never comes close.  For every exceptional restaurant come 3 or 4 bad experiences whilst most sit in the middle.   Then we have grilled chicken. Talk dry, sometimes undercooked flesh with the outer bit charred. God must be a very busy man listening to the number of complains from below.  But when done right, it become an impressionist.  A subject so capable almost like an art movement.  Tori Shin does exactly that.  Food is after all art no?  The one good Tori Shin does at this exclusive yakitoriya might be enough to make all wrongs done by other chef become right.  Faith in grilled chicken restored?  100%.  The good dinner tonight goes beyond the 1 star rating under the Michelin system.  Tori Shin has  got to be one of the most underrated restaurants in town!

Tori Shin on Urbanspoon