Please note that the meal was complimentary. However, the opinions expressed in my blog are 100% my own!
Haru is not unknown to me: I remember the first time I went there was at their location in Gramercy with our friends Jen and Chris, before this blog even existed. I was blown away by the original meal I had, thinking at first that it was a classic Japanese place. The meal went beyond my expectations and it was probably my first step into Japanese fusion. And this week, I got to try their new location in Hell's Kitchen, that just opened a week ago, the crowd definitely getting the word of it as it was packed from the moment we arrived to the moment we left.
I like many things besides food there. First is the elegant decor and the light that is not dimmed, allowing dinners to not only see their food, but also what is being served to other tables. Because yes, this is the kind of place where your head will turn in many directions, trying to see what others ordered, sometimes with envy.
This dinner was also the opportunity to meet with Chef Ben Dodaro who crafted some seasonal dishes on the menu that we got to try. Some, because some other dishes have been on the menu for years. Smartly, they gave us a wide preview of what they offer, with tasting portions of appetizers, sushi, entrées and desserts. When asked after each plate what I liked the most, I admit that I was not sure what to answer, everything being different and so good. Here is what we got:
Short rib yakitori, marinated in a yuzu miso marinade. The meat was delicious, tender and flavorful. Under was a green apple salad that at first I disregarded, considering it more like a presentation item, but then, when I tried it, I could not believe how good it was.
Bluefin crab and corn fritter. This was definitely not what I expected and I was for sure not disappointed: the crab was definitely the star and was not at all overpowered by some fillers as you often see with crab cakes.
Lobster taco: made with Maine lobster, this is the perfect example of a fusion dish. What was interesting was the shell made with gyoza shell! It was a bit spicy, thanks to the jalapeño-ponzu dressing, and had a nice crunch given by the cucumber. It is for sure hard to say which one of these dishes were my favorite.
Then was the sushi, served with Sho Chiku Bai Nigori, an unfiltered sake (hence the milky color) that was quite good (more restaurants and bars should propose sake).
As well as a cucumber gimlet that was quite refreshing and could be drunken like milk...
The selection for the sushi was:
California king crab roll:
Hell's Kitchen roll made with crunchy salmon, cucumber, lemon-chili mayo, topped with salmon, avocado, tobiko caviar and sriracha. It was served with a lemon-chili and sriracha mayo.
Mandarin and fennel tuna sashimi:
Toro (fatty part of the tuna belly):
All were delicious and fresh. The most interesting one was the uni that had that nice creaminess and smoothness.
After that were the entrees:
Filet mignon served with dashi, on top of spinach (that I admit did not like, not surprising as besides spinach a la crème or fried spinach, I am not a big fan) and a nice potato and wasabi fritter. The steak was really good, tender and perfectly cooked medium. And as you may know if you follow this blog, I am always thinking twice before ordering steak in a non-steakhouse restaurant.
Hot chili-garlic shrimp accompanied with harusame noodles (glass noodles), carrots and squash. The shrimp was perfectly cooked and delightfully spicy.
Crispy duck served with a ginger-scallion pancake, a take on Peking duck that was fantastic.
This was served with some wine:
Red - Malbec Salentein reserve:
White - Sauvignon Blanc Whitehaven:
Last was dessert, with a very unique one: a tempura cheesecake that was delicious, a bit crunchy and soft inside.
And a dark chocolate white miso brownie that I found just ok.
This was a great tasting offering a wide variety of dishes that allowed me to discover quite a lot of specialties served at Haru. This is definitely a place to know, a good addition to the Hell's Kitchen restaurant scene.
Enjoy (I did)!
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