Friday, 4 April 2014

Refined Japanese Dining Close to Home

My new friend, Danielle, told me about a Japanese restaurant in our neighborhood: Kushikatsu Bon. Never to turn down an opportunity to try a new restaurant, I suggested we try it. We met for lunch and were transported to another world when we entered this quiet beautiful pristine restaurant with a long counter and beautifully set places.

Like so many authentic Japanese restaurants, this one had impeccable, friendly service and served lovely food. Kushikatsu are brochettes that have been lightly breaded, fried and immediately served on a beautiful dish with a grate so that the brochette remains crisp. This style is from Osaka where the chef, Ito-san, came to Paris just 9 months ago. He was able to speak French rather well having just arrived, but we also spoke Japanese.

The 30 euro menu included salad, soup, rice mixed with fish and takenoko (bamboo shoots), and a small dish of Japanese pickles. Usually these dishes are served at the very end of the meal, but at lunch, everything is served all at once.

First we were shown the raw ingredients that would go into our kushikatsu.

Next came the various sauces including salt and pepper, lemon, soy sauce, a sweet and spicy mustard sauce and a vegetable sauce. The chef would tell us which brochette went with which particular sauce.

We were served our rice, salad and soup

There were seven kushikatsu including fresh shrimp from New Caledonia, chateaubriand, white asparagus with quail egg and grated turnip, goma tofu (a "tofu" of sesame paste) that the chef makes himself, green beans with a crispy rice coating, foie gras with eggplant and grated daikon. Each brochette came as a little mystery packet--looking about the same except for the shape and going with a different sauce. Biting into it revealed the treasure within.

The white asparagus with quail egg was especially ornate:

There were seven brochettes in all and we were given the choice of more if we wanted.

We were treated to green tea soba with baby Japanese mushrooms in a dashi-soy sauce.

Then came two desserts. The first a warm chocolate ganache fried and served over vanilla ice cream:

Break into it for the treasure:

For our second dessert, there was a choice among three. Danielle chose friend green tea ice cream and I chose yuzu sorbet. The third dessert was fried mochi with red bean paste wrapped in a sakura leaf. I was stuffed!!

Kushikatsu Bon serves a 60 euro dinner with different sorts of brochettes--12 in all. I would never make it! The restaurant is at 24 rue Jean Pierre Timbaud in the 11th arrondissement of Paris.

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