Posted on: Sunday, July 3, 2005
New 'Kobe' trio offers flight of fancy
"We thought we would add a trio comparison of kobe beef since we already do a similar dish with our maguro," Quah said. "I don't think anyone is doing this right now."
Probably not. The trio of Kobe beef which, by the way, comes from Kona and is the only U.S.D.A.-approved beef to be recognized with the Kobe designation features two-ounce portions of varying cuts, from tenderloin to rib eye.
"They (the cuts) differ every night," said sous chef Tsuyoshi Nishida, while pointing to last Monday's three different Kobe beef portions, which included a tenderloin, the underside of the tenderloin and thinly sliced navel short ribs.
At $58, this trio tasting doesn't come cheap, as Quah was quick to admit.
"But, it's Kobe beef," he said. "It doesn't get any better than this."
Since coming under new management last year, Tokyo Tokyo has raised the proverbial culinary bar.
"We strive for perfection," said manager and wine connoisseur Joe DePolis, who has helped open such fine-dining establishments as Padovanni's and The Bistro at Century Center. "When I started here last year, I used to shudder in my shoes when a guest would ask for the manager."
But now when patrons ask for him, DePolis said 99 percent of the time it's to tell him how great the food was or how wonderful the staff was.
"We've done a 180-degree turnabout," DePolis smiled. "All our hard work has come to fruition. And it's finally nice to see the rewards."
Among them is an increase in traffic among tourists and locals alike.
"Before, 90 percent of our guests came from the hotel," DePolis said. "But in the past month or two, we're seeing a ratio of 60 percent to 40 percent, with locals and Waikiki tourists accounting for 60 percent of our guest list and Mandarin hotels guests making up the remaining 40 percent."
Quah and DePolis both credit the entire staff's attention to detail as one of the reasons for this spike in patronage.
And another would be the delicate food, which the two restaurant industry veterans described as "traditional meeting modern."
Good examples of this old-meets-new culinary intersection can be found in executive chef Mamoru Tatemori's sauces, which include his foie gras ponzu that's used to enhance the Kobe beef "modern sushi;" and the irazaki, which was the old traditional sake-based sauce used to enhance dishes long before shoyu became a common Japanese staple.
|Sous chef Tsuyoshi Nishida adds the finishing touch to this sushi.|
This level of quality is found throughout the menu, from the premium Koshi-hikari rice to the fresh seafood flown in daily from Boston and the world-famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Japan.
Worthy alternatives to the trio of Kobe beef are the sashimi platter ($34), offering a sampling of fresh seafood; the ishiyaki Black Angus rib-eye steak ($35), which is finished tableside on a hot lava rock stone; and the "Kamaaina" sushi dinner ($32), complete with two pieces each of big-eye tuna, salmon and yellow tail, and a piece each of fresh water eel, shrimp tempura and California roll.
"We don't want to be just another Japanese restaurant," Quah said. "We want to introduce the concept of fine dining, Japanese-style."