Ah, great tempura. How I miss you. A few months living in San Francisco has only made my heart (gullet?) grow even fonder. Despite the fact that Americans consume an incredible amount of fried food, it's almost universally crap, even in shmancy restaurants. Frying is relegated to cooking snack food or, at best, a crowd-pleasing appetizer.
The Japanese, though, have taken a simple Portugese dish and turned it into a refined art. Incredibly light batter, fresh oil and the best possible ingredients create a culinary revelation. And Suzuki-san, executive chef at the Yamanoue Hotel in Tokyo, is one of the art's finest practioners.
So I was both saddened and excited to hear that Suzuki-san was leaving his post at Yamanoue to open his own restaurant with a colleague. The restaurant, Sushi Tenpura Aki, opened in early November and I hopped on a plane to Tokyo this afternoon so I could try it for myself.
I'm thrilled to try out the new restaurant, but I am also a little nervous. Can the experience at the new restaurant possibly match the meals at Yamanoue? Suzuki-san prepared an incredible meal for my wife and me right before we left Japan, probably one of our top ten meals ever. That's going to be a hard bar to clear, especially in a new restaurant that probably doesn't have access to the same kind of resource that a hotel restaurant can tap.
Tune in to patrick.com in the coming days for the answer to this and other pressing questions.Posted by pmk at November 19, 2008 3:03 AM