Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Zenkichi...one of Williamsburg's Best Kept Secrets (Sssh! Don't tell the hipsters!)

Its been quiet some time since I've reviewed a dining establishment. It's not that I've stopped eating out. Quiet the contrary. I eat out way too much & need to start cooking. The problem is that there is always some Top 10 or Top 20 must eat lists that hits my inbox or someone posts on FB. These lists are not just mere lists, they are challanges! My goal is to go through these lists and compare what these reviewers wrote versus the reality. You know I don't believe half of those full of crap reviews. I just use them as a jumpoff.

So here goes...if you're looking for sushi or some crazy Phoenix roll..this is NOT THE PLACE.

This Williamsburg Modern Japanese eatery appeared on Refinery29's Top 10 Secret NYC Restaurants to Impress Your Foodie Friends list. Did someone say 'secret'? Instantly, this became my must do list for the summer. I couldn't get a reservation for several weeks. I parlayed my dilemma to a friend of mine who suggested I plead my case saying it was someones bday. Guess what? it worked! Now, why didn't I think of that?

The outside of the place looks like an average NYC building. Each table is private. It is set up with a roll up bamboo screen that gives you some ahem privacy. Each table is also equipped with silent buzzers that summon your server. How cool & awesome is that?

I brought my date since I had to try out these privacy features for my trusty readers. Oh sorry, I meant I had to try out the FOOD for my trusty readers. For the record, it felt like I was having an affair. I'm saying you have this shade, the silent buzzer, the place is dimly lit, flowing sake & japanese style tapas that are ever so sexy. I love thet feeling that I'm up to no good, so this was perfect. On ambiance alone, I give this spot high marks. Ahem..getting back to the real reason behind my review, the food. You definitely have to do the Chef's Omakase Tasting Menu for the full effect. All 8 courses were amazing. My favorites were the Washyu Beef Tataki (it melted it in your mouth), Sashimi of the day (Tuna Tartar), and the Saikyo Miso Cod. I'm was not a fan of the cod, but now I am. 

The Washyu Beef is the one in the white bowls.

Our server was great. My only minor concern was that she wasn't well versed in sake and their selections. I know nothing about sake. All I know is what tastes good to me. I asked her to tell me the difference between the regular sake tasting menu versus the premium. She couldn't tell me so she called over another server. He basically told me exactly what was written on the menu. Not much help. Premium more or less means better so that's what we decided. I was not going to do anything regular at this place.

Left: Grilled Teba Wings; Right: Saikyo Miso Cod

We had 3 different types of premium sake. We each both loved a different one. The 3rd selection we did not like. I ended up downing it like a shot because we couldn't let it go to waste. Betty Ford would've been proud.

Left: Mineoka Tofu; Center: Truffle infused with Whiskey; Right: Frozen Black Sesame Mousse

To my surprise, the great people at Zenkichi  remembered my birthday story. Our server appeared at our table with our dessert with birthday candles & catching me in a most...ahem.... interesting situation. I clearly remember saying to my date (my back was to the shade), "She's behind me, right?". Luckily I was only slightly misbehaving. Those bamboo shades definitely set an... ahem...mood.

I sang Happy Fake Birthday to my date as we tried to contain our laughter at the situation. I have to say Zenkichi definitely got thumbs up for detail and service. 

Zenkichi is without a doubt and bribe highly recommended by this Insomniac. The food was absolutely delicious, the service was impeccable and the ambiance is ideal for a great romantic date. It definitely can be a bit pricey, so this is not the place you bring your side pieces or bootycalls. I know they need love too, but not this much love!

Bookmark this Brooklyn spot & take your boo on an anniversary, birthday or what the hell...a fake birthday!

Buen Provecho!

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