Kiyokawa ... anyone been?
JGold just gave a raving review of Kiyokawa in this week's LA Weekly.
A quick search here turned up only one mention of Kiyokawa, without any real in-depth review.
I'm not one that really trusts JGold and his reviews, so was wondering if any 'hounds here had first-hand experience and would like to share.
Link to JGold's review: http://www.laweekly.com/2009-11-19/ea...
So I went on Friday and had a great time. The meal was great and also a good value (relatively speaking of course). I think people compare it to Urasawa because they both do a kaiseki-style omakase, but purely food-wise, they aren't really the same. Value-wise though, it's an interesting comparison for me. Would I rather go to Urasawa once a year, or Kiyokawa 4 times a year?
Does anyone know if the kaiseki portion of the omakase menu changes seasonally?
I went a Monday...and was blown away the care and execution of every dish...flavors were beautiful and at the level of an urasawa meal. There is a lot of waiting in between courses as mentioned above, I didn't mind watching the master at work. The only meh part was the sushi course at the end. Fish was great but the rice was not at the level of mori, urasawa or sushi zo. Other than that an amazing meal. Best bang for you buck sushi kaiseki meal ever
Yes, unfortunately JGold has outed this place. I've been going there on a bi-weekly basis for 6 months now. It's always calm, half-empty, comfortable. Chef Sato and I often talk about pleasantries.
I just got back from there tonight, and it was a mad-house. I've mentioned this place twice on these boards.
Please go once and that's it. I don't want to wait like tonight.
Interesting. The one time I went (for lunch), I thought the restaurant and the presentation were beautiful and the actual fish meh. I wonder if they foisted the bad stuff on me, as can happen sometimes if you don't know the chef.
Perhaps I will give it another whirl sometime. Jonathan Gold seemed to think it was great. I don't really follow him, so I don't know how trustworthy he is.
disclaimer: my meal was paid for
I went there for the first time a little more than a month ago and really enjoyed my experience sitting in front of Chef Kiyokawa. As JGold explained, he's not a man to be rushed, and really, part of the experience is watching him artfully sculpt a bite of cucumber into some crazy shape. I'd go on a less busy night or maybe not during a lunch/dinner rush.
I believe I had the lowest priced omakase, and left fairly satiated (and I have a pretty large appetite). Unlike places like Kiriko, omakase isn't limited to just sashimi or nigiri, but also includes cooked dishes. The cooked dishes were all fantastic, distinct, and to be savored. The sashimi was fresh, expertly cut, and beautifully plated.
Before going, if I were to read that for $60-80, you get an omakase meal but with cooked dishes, I wouldn't have thought it was worth it. But now that I've gone, it's certainly worth it. Part of it is just the detail in presentation like the small spoons, individual graters, etc. Part of it is just trying completely new preparations of things. For example, I didn't know that taro skin was edible, and when I remarked about that, the chef gratiously paused in his work for a few seconds and talked about his process in making it edible.
Also, I *love* the ginger there, which is strange for me to say because I usually hate pickled ginger.
I go here almost once a week; because I work two blocks away. I love it and am never dissapointed. I find the quality of the fish and vegetables, beauty of the presentation, calm atmosphere, reasonable prices, and near-silent service combine to make Kiyokawa a true treasure. I'm a little sad that JGold is outing it, actually.