Modernist Dining in Bunkyo

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Dessert last night blew me away. Pictured above you see a "deconstructed apple crumble" that involved nitrogen-frozen whipped cream with a hot caramel soup poured over cubes of apple, cinnamon cookie crumbs, caramel ice cream and a slice of dried apple. It was such an impressive presentation and my first experience with "molecular gastronomy."

The rest of my birthday dinner was equally stunning. We dined at Citta' Alta, a tiny ten-seat place right around the corner from our house. There is only one option at dinner - the full course - and it was incredible. Starting with a "salad" that involved green pea whipped cream, we enjoyed a fish course that was garnished with ethereal lemon foam, fois gras served on raisin toast with and drizzled with chocolate sauce (plus a side of savory fois gras creme brule), homemade pasta with clams and tiny whole squid, and porcini risotto with strawberries in it. Then cames the mains! I had a pork cutlet served with an onion that had been roasted for 3 hours and some vegetables that were beautifully pan seared. Tod chose the duck with five spice sauce. Both were delicious. Then it was dessert time. In addition to the apple crumble we had a tiramisu, deconstructed again, that was incredibly delicious and very pretty. Then the final dessert - marinated strawberries with yogurt injected shirotama and a minature scoop of green tea ice cream. And when Tod mentioned it was my birthday, the chef sent over ("over" being across the counter - this place is all chef's table!) a dish of ginger ale jelly with fresh ginger sorbet. Wow.

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You need to make a reservation. Citta' Alta. http://www.cittaalta.jp/index.html




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