Summer garden vegetables
An extremely accomplished expression of beautiful, fresh vegetables. Moist chunks of pumpkin-flavored wheat gluten, thinly sliced green and yellow zucchini, delicate slivers of shaved asparagus, mild tomato gel and tiny chunks of jicama (a nutty root vegetable).
Chilled corn soup with corn and snap pea tempura
A bowl of thick chilled corn soup, served cold. Crowned with a generous serving of warm crunchy corn and fresh snap pea tempura. The small vegetable bites were delicately battered and lightly fried, bursting with bright flavors, tempered by a sweet coating. Together, the combination of hot with cold and smooth with crunchy was a delectable delight. All accented with thinly chopped refreshing chive.
Clockwise from top left: a tender chunk of fennel dangaku with a salty yet sweet yuzu miso glaze and garnished with fennel leaves. Crunchy slices of delicately fried eggplant (still smooth and soft on the inside), placed on a bed of sharp and spicy karashi mustard. Fresh green pepper, scallion, red paprika and thin slivers of goose tongue (a marsh sea grass). And finally, thin homemade wraps along with sweet red miso.
Avocado rice bowl with sesame-fu
Carefully glazed chunks of cool, creamy avocado with sweet, doughy pieces of sesame tofu. Placed on a small serving of sticky rice garnished with a thin layer of seaweed. On top, a parcel of grated radish and a sprinkling of wasabi and Szechuan pepper. With its simple, serene flavors, this was a fine stand-in for dessert.
Kajitsu is most likely the finest purveyor of kaiseki cuisine in New York. As I discovered, this means a traditional multi-course dinner. The restaurant serves shojin or “devotion” cuisine, a central premise of which is an aversion to taking life. Fish and meat are banned and all vegetables must be strictly in season. The menu comes in two options an 8 course version for $70 or a 4 course for $50 (we opted for the latter). The food is exquisite, cleverly considered, precisely prepared and, interestingly, served in specially selected traditional Japanese dishware, some of which were created by potters over 200 years ago.
Evidently, this place is perfect for vegetarians, vegans and those looking for a lighter, healthier meal. What’s more remarkable is that, despite the paired down ingredients, you’ll walk away feeling surprisingly full.
414 E. 9th St.