Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Last week, I was invited by Chef Nick Wang to sample his menu at Amami, a Japanese restaurant with a rustic and zen feel in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. I spoke a bit with Chef Wang who spoke about his passion to serve unique high quality food, using natural ingredients. In fact, Amami means "sweetness from the heavens" and the name written in Japanese calligraphy that is displayed on one of the walls of the dining room, also means harmony, representing the harmony of flavors as well as the harmony of the staff working in the restaurant like family as Chef Wang explained.
I love the decor there: rustic and zen as I mentioned before, and casual, but with a nice setting, a bit more elegant than your regular sushi place. Besides the main dining room, it has a small dining room in the back that can be used for private parties and accommodate 30 people. There are few things you cannot miss in the decor: the wood that is all over (yes, they respect wood...a Seinfeld reference) and the paintings made by a local artist, one of them being a geisha superbly made. At night, with its dimmed lights and music in the background, it has a lounge-y feel that I found comfortable, the noise level being quite good and allowing me to have a nice conversation with my wife.
I started the meal with a Japanese Old Fashioned that was made with Iwai Japanese Whiskey, fresh ginger and mint syrup, and Angostura Bitters. It was sublime, perfectly balanced and not too strong, it has a nice sweetness.
To start, they brought us a sashimi sampler with fish coming from the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, some of them, unknown to me, at least on a plate, such as the Blue Fusilier. The presentation was beautiful and I loved the fact that each piece of fish was served in a different manner. I should mentioned that they are part of the omakase menu that they serve at the sushi bar. There was:
Kinme Dai (Alfonsino or red bream)with Sancho pepper and sea salt:
Ara (Grouper) with spicy daikon
Aodai (Blue Fusilier) with organic miso:
Baby Kanpachi (Amber Jack) with crunchy garlic:
Kurodai (Porgi or sea bream) with Kiwasa wasabi and gold leaf:
The next dish is something that they are testing and they wanted to know what we thought about it. It was a bigeye tuna tacos made with a homemade spinach shell. That was succulent: I loved the association of the tuna that had a soft texture with the crunchiness of the shell. I definitely think they should have it on the menu and would not be surprised it becomes a best seller.
After that, was a classic: yakitori. There were two kinds:
- vegetarian with shishito peppers and King oyster mushrooms.
- non-vegetarian with (from left to right): chicken heart, chicken gizzard, calamari legs (aka tentacles) and pork belly.
I loved both kinds, but if I had to pick, I would say that the pork belly was the best, followed by the chicken heart and oyster mushroom.
Another vegetarian dish was the grilled miso eggplant that was much better than what I usually get in Japanese restaurants.
We then got a second sampler with fish, but this time it was a roll and sushi. The roll was their Tuna Salmon Twister, made with crunchy spicy salmon, honey roasted peanut topped with Japanese spice-crusted tuna, avocado and a spicy cherry aioli. The pieces of Nigiri included Blue Fin Otoro (Fatty Tuna), Hamachi Toro (Yellowtail Belly), New Zealand King Salmon, Madai (Sea Bream) and Scottish Salmon Belly.
At the same came their vegetarian ramen that is one of the best I tried so far, finding very often that vegetarian broths lack depth. Well this one was very good and I definitely recommend it if like me you love ramen. It was made of a soy bean based soup with seasonal mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, wakame and scallion.
As I was ready to eat the sushi, they brought me an oyster shooter, made with a Kumamoto oyster, a quail egg, ikura or fish roe, grapefruit, yuzu infused vodka and topped off with Pochi Pochi sparkling sake.
Last was dessert: they served us a green tea tiramisu and a miso ice cream, both homemade. I admit that I did not really liked the tiramisu that was a bit frozen on top, but the ice cream was phenomenal: it was quite creamy and had a nice caramel like taste.
Oh, and I should mention the glass of premium sake they offered us with dessert, a Fukuju Junmai Dia Gingo.
This was a spectacular dinner and I was glad we had to walk a bit to the train after that: Amami is not your regular Japanese joint and I see myself going back there just to enjoy some great food.
Enjoy (I did)!
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Amami - 57 Nassau Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11222