Events

Takashi Restaurant

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chef/Owner Takashi Yagihashi

Review

EAST MEETS WEST AT TAKASHI

By Nadia Gould, Vice-Chargée de Presse

Nationally acclaimed Chef Takashi Yagihashi’s passion is creating contemporary menus fusing the classicism of French technique and Asian flavors into aesthetic fine dining compositions with American influences and twists. He has been the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef, Midwest as well as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s America’s Best New Chefs in 2000. Since that time, he has gone from strength to strength garnering widespread respect and acclaim. Esquire and Chicago Magazine named Takashi as one of the Best Restaurants in 2008. Chicago Magazine food critic and reviewer Jeff Ruby in issue April 2011, praised the fascinating and exceptional staying power of Takashi Restaurant “quietly soldier(ing) on, night after night, without the driving force of the spotlight” in today’s environment reflecting the urbanites’ fickle approach to restaurants who are hard‐wired to seeking out the newest spot and desperately chasing the shiniest scene for their next high. If the “trendies” have ditched the restaurant, the true gastronomes and food authorities have not. Last Fall, the venerable Michelin red guide in its first Chicago publication recognized Takashi’s excellence by awarding it a star out of the 23 that it gave out throughout Chicagoland. The shy but amiable Chef Takashi Yagihashi is no stranger to the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Chicago. He is an old and reliable friend. Once again, he treated us to his refined culinary wizardry with unique wine/food pairings – classic and contemporary. 

We were greeted with an interesting mixture of hors d’oevres.  Crispy asparagus with prosciutto; steamed shrimp dumplings; soft boiled quail egg with big eye tuna; tartare of salmon with crispy taco and home made tofu with ocura and pickled wild leeks. They were paired with Boyer Brut Blanc de Blancs from Savoie, France. This dry, crisp and clean tasting sparkling wine with hints of green apple and apricot became a charming accompaniment to the varied flavors of the canapés.  The next course was an assembly of squid, rock shrimp, octopus, organic chicken and Yuzu remoulade. It was paired with a Hitachino Nest White Ale beer from Kiuchi Brewery, Ibaraki prefecture in Japan. Chef Takashi chose this food/beer combination to enable us to experience a typical fare in a traditional Japanese izakaya (a Japanese pub serving food and drink in an informal and lively atmosphere). 

We then moved to a very delicate course of steamed golden tail fish in rice paper with peekytoe crab mousseline and manila clam-dashi broth. This delicate and immensely flavorful preparation was well matched with Rihaku “Dreamy Clouds” Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori Sake from Shimane the prefecture of Japan. This unfiltered sake (nigori) is mellow and well-rounded, a bit less chunky, but more fruity and complex than most nigori sake. It is rich and creamy with a wonderful finish (umami, that hard-to-describe flavor that satisfies and makes you want a bit more). The chef cleverly chose this nigori sake to complement the umami flavors of the golden tail fish and manila clam-dashi broth. This was an umami with umami matching!

Grilled South Carolina squab and foie gras with confit of rhubarb, candied kumquat and polenta cake awaited us next pairing with 2006 Pinot Noir, Dog Point Vineyard in New Zealand. This course had a delicate combination of bold flavors and delicate textures which called for a wine that could accompany both. The selected wine’s fruity and earthy notes paired well with the gamy squab and candied kumquat while its acidity balanced the richness of foie gras. If this was not a treat enough, the next course and wine pairing were delightfully matched. Roasted Wagyu beef and veal sweetbreads with spring potato, Fiddlehead fern, red wine risotto with wild leeks were served with Andrake Cellars 2000 “Reserve Red Blend” from Red Mountain in Washington. This Cabernet Franc and Merlot blend has aromas of raspberry, black cherries, plum, espresso and hints of smoke.  It is complex in flavor and was a perfect match for a roasted Wagyu beef course!

Lastly we were treated to a rich and luscious desert combination of white chocolate and pistachio napoleon, vanilla strawberries, passion fruit sabayon and strawberry sorbet. In a pairing with 2000 Chardonnay Domaine de la Bongran “Cuvée Botrytis” Mâcon Villages in Burgundy this desert course created a perfect symphony. The sweetness and the aromas of orange peel, apricot and a hint of nutmeg, combined beautifully with the sweet taste of the napoleon and contrasted with the acidity of the fruit and the fruit-based sorbet. What a splendid ending to a night of culinary delight!

Invitation

Chicago Magazine food critic and reviewer Jeff Ruby in issue April 2011, praised the fascinating and exceptional staying power of Takashi Restaurant “quietly soldier(ing) on, night after night, without the driving force of the spotlight” in today’s environment reflecting the urbanites’ fickle approach to restaurants who are hard‐wired to seeking out the newest spot and desperately chasing the shiniest scene for their next high. If the “trendies” have ditched the restaurant, the true gastronomes and food authorities have not. Last Fall, the venerable Michelin red guide in its first Chicago publication recognized Takashi’s excellence by awarding it a star out of the 23 that it gave out throughout Chicagoland.

Nationally acclaimed Chef Takashi Yagihashi’s passion is creating contemporary menus fusing the classicism of French technique and Asian flavors into aesthetic fine dining compositions with American influences and twists. He has been the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef, Midwest as well as one of Food & Wine Magazine’s America’s Best New Chefs in 2000. Since that time, he has gone from strength to strength garnering widespread respect and acclaim. In Esquire and Chicago Magazine named Takashi as one of the Best Restaurants in 2008.

The shy but amiable Chef Takashi Yagihashi is no stranger to the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Chicago. He is an old and reliable friend. Once again, we are calling on him to treat us to his refined culinary wizardry with unique wine/food pairings – classic and contemporary. We will be taking the entire restaurant – both up and downstairs. Seating is limited, so please sign up early.