Chef: David Bouley, Isao Yamada, Hiroki Murashima
Price: $85 tasting menu (8 courses) is the only option for dinner currently with a $135 tasting menu option to come shortly
Address: 30 Hudson St., NYC 10013
Hours: Mon – Sat: 5:30pm – 12am
Natalya and I have been proud residents of Tribeca for over a year now, and it’s been our goal to visit all the fabulous restaurants our neighborhood has to offer. So we have been anxiously looking forward to dining at brushstroke, the latest David Bouley Tribeca restaurant, which officially debuted to the public on April 20, 2011. The restaurant concept was in development for nearly a decade, and from my first visit, all I can say is that it was clearly worth the wait. brushstroke resulted from the culinary collaboration between David Bouley and Yoshiki Tsuji of the Tsuji cooking school in Osaka, Japan. While Bouley and Tsuji are not actually in the kitchen (for the time being), the kitchen is in the very capable hands of Isao Yamada, who had a restaurant in Japan, and Hiroki Murashima, who taught at the Tsuji school.
Although brushstroke does serve sushi à la carte in the lounge, the restaurant is not meant to be a sushi restaurant but rather a Kyoto-style restaurant with emphasis on seasonality. In honor of the current hanami season (literally “flower viewing” in Japanese, referring to sakura, or cherry blossom, festival), the restaurant is adorned with delicate floral arrangements. We even started the meal with a miso and cherry blossom tea. The space is immaculate and the light wood wall paneling reminded me of the traditional sushi restaurants I used to frequent in Japan.
Currently, there is only an $85 tasting course dinner which consists of 6 fixed courses, your choice of a rice dish, and dessert. The 5 rice dish options are: Tempura of Early Spring Vegetables and Lobster, Chunks of Lightly Seasoned Raw Tuna, Assorted Sushi, Dungeness Crab or Lobster Steamed with Rice Prepared in a Rustic Do-nabe Pot. We did the tempura, tuna and crab — tempura was my favorite, with the crab a close second. There will be a $135 tasting menu as well, which the server said will be offered in about a week or so. The bar menu has about 12 cooked dishes, including most of the tasting menu courses, as well as sushi and sashimi available à la carte. As much as I wish I could afford tasting menus every night, I am very glad there is an à la carte option in the lounge area, which is as beautiful a space as the main dining room. The walls are stacked with some 20,000 old paperback books, and within the walls, there are tiny little windows displaying scenes from Japanese marketplaces.
I am a huge fan of David Bouley, and I feel particularly fortunate that he decided to choose Tribeca for his culinary playground. I dined at his eponymous Bouley for my birthday dinner last year, and it was absolutely fantastic. Whether it’s a fancy French restaurant or a casual bakery, there is something wonderfully welcoming about all of Bouley’s restaurants. At Bouley and brushstroke, we were definitely one of the younger guests at the restaurant, and yet the service was impeccable, gracious and did not reflect any age discrimination whatsoever. I came with Natalya and Annie (who also joined me at Bouley last year!) and we all sat at the end of the chef’s counter right in front of the talented Yagi-san. I loved watching the sushi chefs dexterously cutting into the fish to prepare various types of sushi. I also enjoy sitting at the counter to practice some of my Japanese — which consisted of me playing “Name that Fish” game every time Yagi-san brought out a new type of fish to cut (in Japanese of course).
On to the important part — the food! Everything was so gorgeous and meticulously prepared, with very subtle and delicate flavors. Honestly, every dish tasted just as beautifully as it looked… I will let the photos explain the rest!
Tsukino Katsura “Yanagi” (Willow) – Junmai Ginjo Kyoto ($95)
A beautifully crisp and dry sake with a hint of sweetness
Light Miso Cherry Blossom Tea
Tastes as beautiful as it looks
Young Vegetables Tossed with Miso-Mustard Dressing
The spring veggies included shittake mushrooms, asparagus, daikon, shallots, and broccoli rabe. I loved the light miso-mustard dressing — it was super refreshing!
Sesame Tofu with Wasabi
Home-made tofu is the best
Chawan-mushi Egg Custard Layered with a Dungeness Crab and Black Truffle Broth
Reminescent of another favorite Bouley dish: Porcini Flan, Alaska Live Dungeness Crab, Black Truffle Dashi. Very similar concept, slightly different execution, but equally incredible results.
Chef’s Selection of Sashimi: Maguro (Tuna) and Suzuki (Sea Bass)
Grilled Black Cod in a Sesame Marinade Seared Sea Urchin Sprinkled with Pistachio, Pickled Turnip
Bouley just knows how to work with uni (sea urchin) as this dish has now joined Bouley‘s Sea Urchine Terrine as my two favorite uni dishes. Who knew you could sear something as amorphous as uni??
Seared Lobster with Yuzu Miso
Duck Smoked with Sencha Leaves
You could really taste the smoke green tea leaves that had melded into the flavor of the duck… yum! Also served with asparagus and fiddlehead fern tempura
All were served with pickled vegetables and miso soup
Dungeness Crab Steamed with Rice Prepared in a Rustic Do-nabe Pot (+$15)
Very worth the extra cost! There was crab and salmon roe all mixed in with the rice for flavorful goodness!
Tempura of Early Spring Vegetables and Lobster Served Over Dashi Steamed Rice
My favorite of the rice dish options
Chunks of Lightly Seasoned Raw Tuna Served Over Dashi Steamed Rice (+$8)
I honestly would just prefer straight sashimi
Lychee Sake Sorbet with Tangerines and Peppercorn
Soymilk Panna Cotta with Matcha Green Tea Sauce
Yes, it is topped with a edible gold leaf AND there is sweet azuki red bean inside
Red Bean Chocolate Cake
Baked Rice Paper with Pinenuts Sprinkled with Matcha Powder and Red Beans Powder
And of course, must end the evening with a glass of champagne! A toast to brushstroke’s opening!