Japanese / Kaiseki / Sushi
822 Madison Avenue (at 69th St.), New York, NY 10065
TEL: 212-988-7277 www.itoen.com/kai/index
Lunch: Tue-Sat 12pm-2:45pm Dinner: Tue-Sat 6pm-9:30pm (last seating)
Located on the Upper East Side right above the Ito En tea shop is the Japanese restaurant Kai focusing on kaiseki, originally a simple meal served during the tea ceremony. Kai builds on this tradition by offering an extensive menu with items from land and sea as well as offerings of tea, wine, and sake. Popular lunch choices are the two types each of donburi and obento, whereas the night menu features kaiseki courses, including prix fixe and chef’s omakase, as well as an a la carte menu highlighting chef specials. This winter’s prix fixe begins with items such as simmered monkfish liver and clear soup with snow crab before building to a sashimi assortment and simmered red snapper with turnip. You can cleanse your pallet with small snowy sushi before moving to the main course where you can pick between grilled Spanish mackerel and black cod. If you still have room, following this is the after dinner udon and homemade sweets for dessert. According to executive chef Yorinobu Yamasaki, the overall menu is tweaked often as many of the customers are regulars. It goes through a complete overhaul anywhere from 6-8 times a year, in order to take into account seasonal ingredients.
The $40 Shoka-Dou Bento Box features homemade tofu, grilled fish and assorted sashimi, seasonal simmered vegetables, a spring roll, and simmered shrimp. It also comes with mini rice balls, homemade oshinko, miso soup and an assortment of sweets such as Kai’s exclusive matcha covered almonds.
3 Best Sellers
Winter Prix Fixe $85
Seasonal donburi $20
Mishima Beef Hoba Miso Yaki $40