Dinner at Shoji @ 69. Chef Derek Wilcox previously trained at Kikunoi for 7 years and 3 years at Sushi Aoki in Ginza. He returned stateside a year ago. I had my reservations prior to dining here, glad to report he has legit skills and does an excellent job sourcing ingredients from the local NY area and Japan.
Few thoughts… I think the concept might be better served skewing more towards kaiseki/Kikunoi style than going head-on with the new sushi heavy hitters. Don’t get me wrong, his sushi is very good aside from a few very very minor technical issues (i.e untoasted nori). IMO the city could do with a few more kaiseki restaurants at Okuda’s level. I would love to see Shoji evolve in this direction, especially one incorporating NY/Northeast seasonal ingredients executed by a chef of his caliber.
Hokkaido uni with eggplant “noodles”
Boston Chu-toro served with sauce made of egg yolk, tosa soy sauce
Grilled Long Island striped bass with local tomatoes dressed with pressed sesame oil, excellent.
Shioko (juvenile Kanpachi) served with yuzu white soy sauce
Poached octopus from Sajima with cucumber blossom, eggplant, pepper, new potato, myoga
Soy milk cream, egg white and CA botan ebi broth (no solids) custard - Amazing texture and flavor. Very smooth, soft and integrated flavors. Best dish of the night…
Summer corn soup
Shin Ika (Baby cuttlefish). This was the body of an entire cuttlefish. Soft and supple texture.
Aji, very good.
Boston bluefin akami
Long island fluke cured in kombu
Scallop (forgot the specific source off the NE coast)
Monaka (wafer) filled with soy cream, blueberries hyssop