REVIEW #47

Rosanjin

Rosanjin serves the third best Japanese Kaiseki cuisine in NYC, after Brushstroke and Kyo Ya. It is named after Kitaoji Rosanjin, a famous epicurean and ceramicist in Japan during the first half of the 20th century. Each night, the restaurant serves a series of meticulously prepared dishes on astoundingly beautiful handmade pottery from Japan to less than 10 tables.

Kaiseki cuisine originated in the Zen monasteries of ancient Kyoto and then evolved to an accompaniment to the Japanese tea ceremonies served at ryokan and eventually to the elaborately choreographed multicourse tasting menus that were served to Kyoto’s emperors. Kaiseki meals typically involve 7-9 courses and follow a highly ritualized progression involving an appetizer, a lidded dish (typically, a clear soup), sashimi, a simmered dish, a grilled dish and a steamed course. The core of Kaiseki meals is balance – of flavors, textures, colors, aromas, temperatures – and it is intended to be an expression of the four seasons and the local environment according to Owner Junkjin Park (Korean, but educated in Japan). Its courses are always served on elaborate, beautiful servingware meant to complement the visual beauty of the intricately composed dishes. Rosanjin once said that “plates are costumes for food” and when the restaurant changes its menu, it changes the plates first and then conforms the food to complement them. Don’t overlook the excellent sake list: the restaurant is a great place for the uninitiated to explore sake’s merits and range, offering pairings with its Kaiseki meals.

The romantic room envelops diners in an atmosphere of deep tranquility. Silk screens shield the outside world of TriBeCa and a long wall is outfitted in a richly colored and luxurious silk brocade fabric. With only a few tables, the atmosphere is hushed and tranquil, with the focus on the delicate, subtle creations set before you, and the highly professional service personalized and attentive. As is typical of much Japanese food, the dishes’ clean flavors have a lightness to them atypical of most haute cuisine. Extraordinarily fresh sashimi includes bluefin fatty tuna and various Japanese specialties. There is excellent, crisp tempura (Rosanjin also offers a tempura tasting menu), including kuruma shrimp sprinkled with rice cracker and pumpkin squash, rous root and asparagus. An excellent grilled rosey seabass marinated with saikyo miso comes wrapped in a bamboo leaf. Dessert is wonderfully simple: a few pieces of fresh fruit and some fruit ice cream. Kaiseki meals are completely immersive experiences, and Rosanjin is an underrated must-try for aficionados of fine dining.

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INFORMATION

TriBeCa
141 Duane St.
New York (nr. West Broadway)
212-346-7807
Mon-Sat, 5:30pm-10pm; Sun, closed
    Triarch, Designer
    Kazuki Shimazaki, Chef

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