Tatsuya is all about the little details. Fish is air flown from
My Sashimi Unajyu Bento ($30.90) pleased both my inner neat freak and epicurean. Food could not be more organized than when presented in a bento with each dish neatly occupying its own partitioned space. Presentation aside, the food was perfectly choreographed to keep you riveted, largely classical with a few twists thrown in when you least expect them, to ensure the thought of putting your chopsticks down never crosses your mind.
Miso Soup was the typical starting point. Smoky and rich with a saltiness that did not overpower, the quality was evident from first sip.
Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the Yuzu Chawanmushi stepped in to blow my mind. The basics were in place with egg's texture perfectly smack in between solid and liquid, firm on the spoon but disintegrating on the tongue. It was on that foundation that magic was made, a bare touch of yuzu zest caused a floral, citrus bouquet to leap off the creamy platform and dazzle; a seemingly crazy concept that thrills as much as it pleasures.
The Tempuras were a deliciously balanced if brisk tour of the archetypal fritters: still-crunchy okra, shrimp that was as rich as it was sweet and sugary sweet potato. Each was wrapped in a robustly crisp but delicately feather-light crust that sealed in elements cooked to their absolute prime.
The Japanese Pickles were a great palate cleanser at this point. I love most pickles but rosy hued Japanese ginger would likely be my favourite of the lot; delightfully astringent, wonderfully tart and oh-so-gorgeous.
The Unagi Don was one thing I forced myself to slow down and savour; I could not stop myself from wolfing everything down thus far. Smoky and sweet, soft with hints of crispness; the eel had me in awe even before I had it on the amplifying canvas of fluffy rice grains glazed delicately with mirin.
I almost could not bear to eat the Sashimi. There was something so entrancingly beautiful about the translucent, glossy slices of raw fish that it stilled my chopsticks for a moment. The pillow soft tuna was not tough at all, bringing a union to meatiness and delicacy. The salmon was like the finest butter on my tongue and the unidentified white fish had a curiously gelatinous texture but so delicious with wasabi that was more sweet than hot.
My friend had the gorgeous Barachirashi Bento ($28), chunks of sashimi on rice like vivid blossoms studding an ivory garden. Described as peerlessly divine, the intrinsic flavours of fish were given depth and context by a light yuzu flavour infused into the rice.
It’s so pretty; I can’t help but include a close-up.
His sides were more or less the same save for an additional Potato Salad that was so good he refused to share!