Saturday Date Night (Dinner and Movie): January 8, 2011 @ 5:30 PM
I once met this girl who is half-French and half-Japanese. I thought "what an exotic combination!" Bushi-Tei, a once Michelin Star awardee, is like that girl. The fusion of Japanese and French cuisine produced a delicate culinary artwork.
For the first Saturday Date Night of the 2011, Enrique and I decided to have dinner at J-Town where we could also catch "The Black Swan" at the Kabuki later on. We had 2.5 hours to spare between dinner and the movie. We decided to relax and play it by ear.
I was surprised to find Bushi-Tei as a very elegantly decorated restaurant in contemporary design. You see transparent glasswork everywhere including the dining table, except for colored potteries on shelves which are the focal point. The chairs are leather and the utensil are steel except of bamboo chopsticks. Simple but very classy.
All throughout dinner, at one point, 4 servers were attending to us: our main waiter, the assistant waiter and 2 busboys. Our main waiter was very well-versed on that evening's menu yet relaxed and friendly. He explained every dish and came back after each course to check on us. Our water never went down pass the half the glass before it was filled again.
AMUSE BOUCHE: Complimentary "tuna puffs." Nice free food but it was not better than canned tuna.
DRINK: Torrontes for $8. So reasonably priced, generously poured yet so refreshing. They allow a tasting of your wine before you decide on it.
BREAD: Artistically presented tasty nutty bread flavored with rice and a flat cracker.
APPETIZERS - We decided on two apps:
a) Yuzu marinated calamari, cherry tomato, fine herbs, cucumber vinaigrette 12
*Surprisingly, Enrique hogged this whole plate of marinated calamari. We were supposed to share! The calamari was simply-prepared. The flavors were simple, delicate yet refreshing to the palate.
b) Lobster and Crab, Chrysanthemum leaf, papaya, bacon, ginger cream, curry oil 18
*I got nice chunks of crab meat and lobster, papaya in cream but not heavy. I didn't know it had bacon which I did not like to eat (I thought I was eating dried fish) which sort of overpowered the dish. Otherwise the papaya complimented the dish. I still like it very much.
a) Day boat sea scallop, saffron Yukon potato chowder, pop over 28
*Once again my carnivore guy surprised me when he ordered scallops as his main dish. I think he was so inspired by the calamari. And as accurately as our waiter explained, the tastes of the scallops were delicate and prepared medium rare. I had a bite and it was great!
b) Big eye tuna, rock shrimp risotto, crispy shallot, coconut red curry 28
*Popular dish according to our server. The tuna could have been cooked more rare but the rock shrimp risotte in curry wowed my palate but did not overwhelm me. It was just right. The clean taste of the tuna brought out the fun exotic taste of the curry risotto.
DESSERT -- Enrique and I were really having an unexpectedly simple but enjoyable culinary experience that we went all out:
a) Espresso for me. I wish they served this with my dessert instead of before but it was still nice to sip on this bitter-strong coffee.
b) Caramelized banana: Black rice pudding, banana ice cream 8 Exotic version of fried banana with a kaleidoscipe flavors going on in our mouths.
c) Apple dumpling: French vanilla ice cream, caramel sauce 7.5 Ordering this with the banana just doubled/tripled/quadripled the fun!
*One was exotic and the other one was traditional. Now I am glad that Enrique nsisted that we get a dessert each. They were just simply divine and delcious!
d) ) Almond cakes and truffles: Very thoughtful compliments of the house but I still recommend to make room for the desserts above:
Tab: $122 after tax, before tip and before $40 Groupon. Even with the Groupon our final bill was still $102 with 20% tip included.
Despite the mixed opinions on Bushi-Tei's culinary strengths (or weaknesses), Enrique had one of the most enjoyable fine dining experiences in a while. It helps that we went to Bushi-tei devoid of any expectations except for a hope of a beautiful date night.
The flavors of Bushi-Tei's cuisines are not overwhelming or strong. They were mellow, delicate and simple.If you want strong flavors which will induce explosive culinary euphoria, Bushi-Tei is not the place; although all throughout dinner we heard exclamations of foodie ecstacy from tables surrounding us: "Superb," "Oooh, this is sooo good!" "Delicious!"
* Bushi-Tei once held a Michelin Star.
*The bathroom is probably one of the fanciest if not the fanciest in the City. We're talking about front wash, back wash and drying mode including heated seat. (Nope, I am not talking about a fancy carwash.) Check this out:
FOODIE GIRL'S RATING: 5 Stars --With the delightful and above average culinary experience we had on the evening we had dinner at Bushi-Tei, I can understand why it was awarded a Michelin Star. I continue to wish Bushi-Tei all the best.
0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Very disappointing but there it has some good things to offer.
3 Stars: It is okay but do not expect much. I will still return.
4 Stars: I like it! I will be singing your praises!
5 Stars: I will be dreaming of you at night!
6 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)