Monday, April 21, 2008

Local Fusion

JAPONAIS
111 E. 18th St.
NY, NY 10003
Tel 212.260.2020

THREE SPORKS


Tonight, my dad suggested we dine at either ribs mecca RUB or French-Japanese hybrid Japonais. More in the mood for fusion than righteous urban barbecue, we went with Japonais and had an unusual, delightful meal. (Even if my dad still thinks "fusion" is a racket cooked up by restaurant marketers.)

The meal began with a spicy octopus roll topped with sliced tuna and avocado- wasabi- tobiko sauce (amazing, spicy and sweet) and ended with homemade steamed buns with braised pork and scallions with hot mustard sauce (delicious). In between, we ate a sushi/sashimi platter which included some terrific toro; lobster spring rolls with mango relish and blood orange vinaigrette; and--the most fusion-y dish of the night--sirloin tip Wagyu beef cut with shishito peppers, mushrooms and Kirin light beer fondue, made with Brie cheese. And let's not forget the meal's most dramatic dish, "The Rock": thinly sliced marinated New York strip steak, which we cooked ourselves on a 450-degree rock (two seconds per side for medium rare; five seconds per side for medium). Fun!

Japonais is a high-concept restaurant that pulls off its scheme quite nicely. There's some major drama to the space, which is huge, with an Alice-in-Wonderland-type tree in the middle of the room. We wondered how long it'll be around, considering the square footage and the fact that it was barely half full tonight. But we wish them all the best. What neighborhood can't use a great French-Japanese restaurant that lets you cook your own meat on a sizzling rock?!--S

1 comment:

Ron said...

Nice work on the review....fusion mktg scam well noted!!
xoxox