Been to Kouzan on 93rd and Amsterdam?
Any experience with this new Japanese restaurant?
I went to Kouzan tonight for a quick dinner. We had the shrimp and vegetable tempura appetizer, hamachi kama, the Kouzan roll and a California roll. The tempura was fried perfectly with a nice assortment of veggies (broccoli, onion ring, carrot, yam, taro, japanese eggplant) and 2 shrimps; the dipping sauce however was a bit too light for my taste. The hamachi kama was a huge portion -- I typically get only half that portion at other restaurants. It was broiled just right and came with a yuzu dipping sauce -- that could have been my whole meal. The rolls were both very good; I like the rice to stuff proportion, light on the rice. Service was attentive and the place is very nice for a neighborhood place. I'll have to try to raw stuff next time. Of the sushi places on the UWS, this is definitely one of the best.
The décor at Kouzan, the Japanese restaurant at 685 Amsterdam Ave. (W. 93rd-W. 94th Sts.), is very beautiful. There is a remarkable floor-to-ceiling waterfall between two panes of glass at the entrance. The service is excellent, very friendly and helpful. The food is very good but not remarkable in any way. And in several cases the food was not as promised on the menu. Our party of four enjoyed standard appetizers, miso soup and gyoza dumplings, which were fine. We also had an unusual item, Seared Combia Yellowtail Tataki with Buccaneer Anchovies and a black soy-based sauce ($10.25, photo 1), which was delicious. The anchovies came as tiny dried whole fish. The Sushi Special ($18.75) included 10 pieces (2 tuna, 2 salmon, 2 yellowtail, 1 whitefish, 1 super white tuna, 1 “sawara” [not a familiar term but apparently it means Spanish mackerel], and 1 shrimp). The Bento Box ($17.95, photo 2) included fried chicken cutlet, shumai dumplings, spring rolls, and seaweed salad. The Roast Arctic Char Herb Olive ($18.75, photo 3) had very crispy skin. It seemed very much more sautéed than roasted, and there was nary a trace of any olive. The Grilled Miso Black Cod (photo 4, $18.95) was delicious but again not as advertised. There was not the slightest hint of miso flavor. (This was too bad because miso is a wonderful ingredient to cook with—we have miso pork chop and lamb chop recipes that we love.) Mirin (very sweet rice wine), on the other hand, had been employed with excess liberality, and the outside of the fish was almost icky-sweet. Kouzan is a fine neighborhood place but the food is not distinguished enough to warrant a special trip.
Grilled Miso Black Cod, as popularized by Nobu, is made with a marinade of miso, mirin, sake and lots of sugar. The photo looks exactly right and it would be sticky on the outside and sweet. You can find the recipe here:
When I make it at home, I cut the amount of miso and sugar in half.
They serve their Sushi and Sashimi Special for two with a strobe light inbeded in the plate as deocoration. Enough said......