07.19.2013

Les Créations de Narisawa: a Journey through the Forest – Tokyo, Japan

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narisawac The Chubby Orangutan
Price
Five Dollars
Rating
Five Forks

Chef Yoshihiro Narisawa lights up his unassuming restaurant with dishes resembling carefully curated art pieces. If you don’t go to Les Créations de Narisawa with a child-like imagination, you have denied yourself most of the fun.

Like the children in The Chronicles of Narnia who traveled through a wardrobe to a magical land – as soon as I settle to my seat, my attention is captured by the flow of beautiful plates that transform the simple dining room into a mystical wonderland.

Narisawa is serving a set menu named: Early Summer Collection, 2013 – Evolve with the Forest. You must sharpen all your senses to witness life blossom in the forest, to taste the soil of the earth, to hear music from the running creek and to embrace the fragrant breeze of the sea.

The “Forest 2010” Bread of the Forest is a piece of rising dough mixed with sancho leaves and grapefruit citrus, placed in a jug decorated by branches of green leaves. It keeps growing as my meal progresses, and when it’s ready to be cooked, the waiter transfers the dough into a pre-heated stone bowl, then covers it with a piece of wood for 12 minutes. What I discover after 12 minutes is mouthwatering bread that I saw come to life – I have just witnessed the early summer blossom in the forest.

Bread of the Forest - The growing dough

Bread of the Forest – The growing dough

Bread of the Forest - Time to make bread!

Bread of the Forest – Time to make bread!

Bread of the Forest - The making of the bread

Bread of the Forest – The making of the bread

Bread of the Forest - Voila! The bread is ready!

Bread of the Forest – Voila! The bread is ready!

The Essence of the Forest, Satoyama Scenery is a piece of earth displayed in front of me. Chef Narisawa uses soy pulp and carbonized green tea to resemble soil and green moss; fried burdock to resemble a fallen oak branch with a sprinkle of flower petals and organic leaves. To perfect the dish, natural spring water is served in oak and cedar wood – I can see, touch and taste the nature and I can hear the running stream of the forest creek.

Essence of the Forest, Satoyama Scenery

Essence of the Forest, Satoyama Scenery

The dish that took my breath away is the Japanese Eggplant from Kyoto which is one part puree, one part sautéed and one part fried eggplant served with black olives and shiitake mushrooms, embellished by delicate flowers and dressed in a layer of tomato jelly. It is an intricate piece of art that is incredibly delectable.

Kamo Nasu, Eggplant, Kyoto

Kamo Nasu, Eggplant, Kyoto

The Garden - a beautifully decorated dish consists of sautéed green asparagus, seasonal fruits and tomatoes. At the top are organic leaves with different kinds of edible flower petals.

The Garden – a beautifully decorated dish consists of sautéed green asparagus, seasonal fruits and tomatoes. At the top are organic leaves with different kinds of edible flower petals.

"Ash 2009" Scene of the Seashore

“Ash 2009″ Scene of the Seashore

"Luxury essence 2007" - a chicken and pork soup dish with steamed black Japanese abalone, winter melon and green vegetables. It is cooked in a convection oven for more than 6 hours.

“Luxury essence 2007″ – a chicken and pork soup dish with steamed black Japanese abalone, winter melon and green vegetables. It is cooked in a convection oven for more than 6 hours.

Amadai, Tilefish, Hagi, Yamaguchi - Tilefish cooked over Japanese charcoal served with 2 kinds of mountain vegetables and sancho meal milk foam

Amadai, Tilefish, Hagi, Yamaguchi – Tilefish cooked over Japanese charcoal served with 2 kinds of mountain vegetables and sancho meal milk foam

Resembling what remains would be left after a camp fire, the Hida beef is displayed on top of actual charcoal to let us see how remarkable this concoction truly is. The Hida beef is a black-haired Japanese cattle breed that is known to have the finest quality in marbling, color, texture and smell. Chef Narisawa uses a French technique by cooking it slowly in butter and olive oil, then covering the meat in leek ash powder to make it look like charcoal. The taste and texture is refine and amazingly delightful.

"Sumi 2009" Hida Beef

“Sumi 2009″ Hida Beef

"Sumi 2009" Hida Beef

“Sumi 2009″ Hida Beef

Frozen sake served along with the Hida beef

Frozen sake served along with the Hida beef

Dessert: Salted Dogs - a cocktail with vodka and grapefruit juice, originated in England but found its popularity in Japan.

Dessert: Salted Dogs – a cocktail with vodka and grapefruit juice, originated in England but found its popularity in Japan.

Pina Colada

Dessert: Pina Colada with Coconut Sorbet and Passion Fruit Pulp

Assortment of 12 different kinds of pastries, macarons, cakes and fruits

Assortment of 12 different kinds of pastries, macarons, cakes and fruits

Chef Narisawa’s meticulously curated and elaborated presentation has finally come to an end. I on the other hand am still reminiscing in a dreamlike state – until the cold rain of an early Tokyo summer fall on my skin and awaken me from my sweet dream. Walking away from this magical experience I thought, “some refer food only as fuel for the body, while it is true, I would refer Chef Narisawa as an artist and his food creations as artwork, for I have found that magical wardrobe of Narnia, the one that will take me to a mystical land.”

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