09 Jan It’s True Art at Brushstroke NY
An artist expresses thoughts with a brush; a chef expresses thoughts through food. Brushstroke, the new restaurant founded by Chef David Bouley and Chef Yoshiki Tsuiji, is where art and food meet and the beauty of Japanese culture is translated into an extraordinary dining experience.
Offering authentic Japanese cuisine, the menu is a reflection of the season. Typically, when restaurants change their menus seasonally, they change them 4-6 times per year. But at Brushstroke, the chefs follow a 20-phase seasonal calendar tied to nature which means that the menu will be different every time you dine there.
Brushstoke offers a kaiseki menu, a traditional multi-course Japenese dinner. Kaiseki is a type of art form that balances the taste, texture, appearance, and colors of food. The term also refers to the collection of skills and techniques that allow the preparation of such meals, similar to haute cuisine. Each menu is created in collaboration between the Bouley Test Kitchen in New York and the Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka, Japan.
The decor of the restaurant is modern, simple and subtle. But if you look carefully, you will notice exceptional detail. Unique materials, originating from New York and surrounding areas, include aged iron materials, rocks, stones, mud, old lumber and antique books. In fact, one wall in the restaurant, “the wall of authors”, is actually made from 25,000 books.
Brushstroke offers six, eight and ten-course menus, as well as a vegetarian menu. Sushi and sashimi are also available a la carte at the bar. The main dining room seats 47 guests, with seating also available at the bar (8), the lounge (16) and the private dining room (12). The service is impeccable and the servers are knowledgeable and friendly, explaining the nuance of each and every dish served.
On the evening we went, Brushstroke was offering the Early Winter Kaiseki Menu, 7 courses for $120. A few courses had a choice of 2 or 3 options and it was hard to select which one to order. Fortunately, as there were two of us, we were able to try almost everything offered on the menu.
The first dish was presented with a large leaf over it. The servers, in perfect synchronization, placed the dishes in front of us and removed the leaf to reveal the first dish:
Ankimo with Tosazu Gelee and Mixed Winter Vegetables
Monkfish liver had been boiled two times, like foie gras, so that it is delicate and melts in the mouth. The tosazu gelee was a vinegar daishi sauce that included chrysanthemum petal. Mixed winter vegetables were red bell pepper and fava beans with a drizzle of apple and elderflower reduction.
Golden Crab “Chawan-mushi” Egg Custard, Truffle Ankake Sauce
The Ankake sauce, a daishi broth thickened with kudzu, a flavor-neutral starch, included ground truffle. Lighter than a traditional custard and not egg-y, the flavors were a perfect balance between rich and light.
Toro and Kampachi Sashimi Selection
Fresh, tender sashimi, enjoyed with no sauces.
CHOICE OF FISH COURSE
Seared Main Lobster, Soumen Noodles, Creamy Uni Broth, Crushed Uni Flakes
An uni-lovers dream, the uni did not overwhelm the lobster or noodles but rather added a rich, savory element.
Grilled Alaskan Rockfish with Sun-dried Tomato Marine
The rockfish perfectly cooked, tender on the inside with a crisp surface, was served over a chrysanthemum leaf and carrot puree. The sun-dried tomato, a source of umami, was marinated in grape-seed oil.
Blended Essence of Butternut and Kabocha Squash, Smoked Paprika
Not a soup, the blended essence was bright and rich with earthy notes.
CHOICE OF MEAT COURSE
Canadian Pork Belly, Raspberry Amazu Glaze, Cauliflower Puree
Tender, rich meaty pork belly was elevated by the tart, yet sweet Amazu glaze (sweetened with vinegar sauce).
Japan Raised Wagyu Steak, Tasmanian Mustard, Angkor Pepper, Red Wine Reduction
With a supplemental price of $38, it was worth every penny. The meat was tender and full of flavor. Every element came together as it melted in our mouths. This was a dish that we wanted the flavor to last forever.
CHOICE OF RICE ENTREE
Winter Mushrooms in Ankake Sauce over Rice
After the previous courses, the mushrooms were a lighter option. With umami flavors, the mushrooms were tender over the broth and rice.
Golden Crab and Lobster Zousui Rice, Sake-kasu Broth
In comparison to the mushrooms, this dish, in which the egg yolk cooks in the rice as it is placed in the dish, was very rich and decadent.
CHOICE OF DESSERT
House-made Ice Cream
Mirin Ice Cream with baked apple and dried cranberries and Soy Sauce Ice Cream with black sugar sauce, pistachio nuts and powdered toasted soba. The soy sauce ice cream tasted like salted caramel.
Japanese Roasted Tea Pudding
Served with black sugar syrup, sweetened Kuromame (black beans) and buckwheat kernals
The finishing touch of the meal was a box presented with salty, sweet, light and airy Obulato. The rice paper was folded over pine nuts or Arare rice crisps (puffed rice), brushed with anise syrup and baked. The Obulato were then dusted with green powered sugar (powdered macha/green tea – a natural digestive) or purple powdered sugar (ground shiso, mint and basil – a natural palate cleanser).
From the presentation to the intricate flavors of each dish, art and food converge, making Brushstroke a true masterpiece and a dining experience not to be missed.
30 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10013