Seattle Foodies First Friday Lunch Club hosted it's first lunch of the new year, if this is the start, it is going to be a great 2011. Darryl deserves much thanks for not just appreciating this fine chef, but keeping tabs on his resent move to Eastlake from Fremont. Chef Taichi Kitamura displayed not just the deaf touch of someone that appreciates locally sourced ingredients but has the finess to bring out the excellence in the subtleties of their flavors.
I am going to post Darryl's invitation with the great back story on how this meal came to be. I will include pictures and comments and leave the the rest for your imagination. By the way thank you Chef for being a gracious host and coming to all the tables a number of times to explain your philosophy, fantastic ingredients and your techniques. Chef Kitamura emphasized that almost all of the ingredients for the lunch were from the Pacific Northwest, two of the few that were not from the NW were soy sauce and wasabi. Even though there is wasabi being grown in the Portland area, he preferred a Japanese wasabi that is freeze dried, we all commented on how different if was than what is available at most Sushi restaurants and it was excellent in texture and taste. His staff was very attentive and well informed, their understanding of the ingredients and locations added to the appreciation of this great meal.
Darryl's invitation in black: my comments in rose
Two summers ago, Taichi Kitamura (then chef/owner of Chiso in Fremont) came to culinary camp and blew us away, the deep grilled beef flavors in his succulent yakiniku leaving a permanent mark on my taste memory. Which left me fantasizing about a First Friday lunch at Kappo, the omakase space above Chiso, so we could wallow in a multi-course version of his Japanese magic. But before I could make that happen, Taichi closed the Kappo space, turned Chiso downstairs over to one of his very capable chefs, and set his sights on re-opening in his own building. So, unhappily, I waited.
And finally, Sushi Kappo Tamura (2968 Eastlake Avenue East) is open, and, oh boy, was it worth the wait.
Normally, because they won't let me eat it, I pay little attention to restaurant decor. But the new place is a marvel of woodwork and art-as-serving-ware. Those gorgeous expanses of clear fir, both very Japanese and very Pacific Northwest, remind me how similar are the growing environments, and therefore foods, we share. Which becomes obvious once you taste Taichi's regionally sourced creations, like the earthy maitake mushrooms, tender wagyu beef shoulder, sweet dungeness crab, meltingly fatty salmon and tuna belly, succulent duck, perfect shigoku oysters, and rich grilled hamachi collar he dished out during a recent omakase (chef's choice) session. Fresh and intense flavors that keep me coming back for more.
And while Sushi Kappo Tamura is closed for lunch, Taichi will be hosting our next Seattle Foodies First Friday Lunch Club on January 7th. He's excited to showcase the local, seasonal winter fare of the region in a special four-course lunch. Here's what he's thinking:
- Full Circle Farm organic mustard greens and Washington Albacore tuna dressed with Wasabi Almond sauce (the Almond sauce at first tasted like a Thai peanut sauce, but this was much more nuanced in it's flavor profile) (the Albacore was almost creamy in texture in a very good way)
- Chawan mushi savory custard soup with Alaskan Dungeness crab and black cod (everyone raved about this dish, the saltiness of the cod, sweetness of the crab and creamy texture of the custard came together in this savory dish that was way too small)
- Bara Chirashi sushi with sustainable selection of seafood, cucumber, radish sprouts and house-marinated local chum salmon Ikura (all the different ingredients had their voice, I know it sounds impossible, but every piece tasted like it came from a different part of the ocean or garden)
- Dessert to be announced (dessert was Chestnut creme brulee, not sweet with fine pieces of chestnut)
We'll start at 11:30am, and the cost will be $30 (plus drinks, tax, & tip). He'll be offering an optional special feature sake or cocktail pairing. But here's the challenge: because it's a special opening, we need 30 people to make it happen. So please R.S.V.P. by January 5th if you can join us.
Until then, have a terrific holiday and New Year!
|Eastlake Ave. E. & E. Allison|
|The dinner wear was almost as beautiful as the food|
|Bara Chirashi Sushi|
|Chestnut Creme Brulee|