Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Yamazato

With green tea colored chairs, long and lean windows overlooking a Japanese garden and slender wood elements, Yamazato has a lovely Sukyia-style interior. Located on the ground floor of Amsterdam's upscale Hotel Okura, the Japanese restaurant first received a Michelin star in 2002 and is still the only traditional Japanese restaurant in Europe with a Michelin star.

The service at Yamazato was impeccable. From the time we sat down and ordered water to the moment we signed the check, we were treated like royalty, even though we must have looked like haggard tourists in need of hydration--and some good sushi. The good sushi we found;as for the hydration, I think it was cancelled out by the Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Champagne, but isn't that what vacation is all about?

Seasonal Alliance Lunch - 45 euros per person

Zensai
Grilled Fillet of Beef with Dengaku Miso
Simmered Blue-fin Tuna and Daikon Radish with Ginger
Mackerel Salad with Sake Lees and Kelp

J felt the beef was tasty, but nothing to write home about. He would have preferred to have the blue-fin tuna sashimi style. Seemed like such a waste to cook such a delicate piece of fish. The mackerel was kind of like a refined and polished version of good old American tuna salad.


Tataki
Sashimi of Seared Salmon, Thinly Slices Sea Bass and Pink Shrimp

This was the most delicate fish and crustacean I've ever had. We both heart sashimi, and this dish did not dissapoint.


Sansho Yaki
Grilled Duck with Sansho Pepper Sauce

After the amazing duck at both De Kas and Christophe, J felt this dish fell short. The soy sauce just overwhelmed it.


Nishiki Yaki
Grilled Miso Marinade Cod and Salmon Teriyaki with Green Asparagus

The cod was a wee bit bland, but the salmon had a nice crispy finish, and the presentation was interesting.


Sake Ikura Gohan
Salmon Flake and Salmon Roe on Rice

J thought it was a bit bland. I liked the texture contrast between the roe and the egg.

Akadashi
Red Miso Soup with Nameko Mushrooms

The mushrooms were a nice addition, but the broth was a little salty.

Dessert
Japanese Pancake with Green Tea Ice Cream

I felt the red bean paste tucked inside was a little dry, but the pancake was nice and fluffy, and the ice cream was refreshingly light. J says the dessert was his favorite part of the meal, thanks to the cool, intriguing flavor of the ice cream. It was certainly his kind of dessert: not too sweet.

We got out of Yamazato for what we would have easily spent at one of the local sushi places back home, but the meal was certainly more unique. J's not sure it warrants a Michelin star, but we still had a great time together and enjoyed the ambience and top-notch service.

Yamazato

Hotel Okura Amsterdam
Ferdinand Bolstraat 333, 1072 LH
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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