Thursday, February 03, 2005

32. If memory serves me correct...

If Michiba was the strongest Iron Chef, Kenichi the most popular and Sakai the most aloof, then it would be Ishinabe who would certainly be the most commercial. Travelling through Japan he had his face on Daimaru posters, chains of pattisseries and a number of restaurants. He was also the shortest lived Iron Chef with only 8 battles, but 7 of those were wins.When I saw he had a restaurant at Ikspiari, only 5 minutes from the hotel, I felt it was fate that I go there.

The menu offered a reduced degustation menu which was great since I don't think my cholesterol or wallet could handle another Sakai-sized beating. That said, reduced was only 4 courses instead of 7. I had a fois gras entree and Carolyn salmon, the food was nice, and the little piece of gold foil in the centre was a nice touch.

Soup was consommé with a pork mousse. Very nice, classy, French style cuisine. The main was superb, Fricasee de Homard. More gold leaf and a very well presented dish. This was easily the best lobster I have had, the flavour was concentrated and it melted in my mouth. Carolyn also had the same dishes and was most impressed. It also saved on the photography.

Finally desert, if Chen Kenichi's had an achilles heel, it was the Peking duck. Here it was the chocolate parfait. It was acceptable, but a little runny and the gold leaf looked like it was tacked on as an afterthought. If Sakai hadn't have set such a high benchmark, I would have thought more, but at the end it was kind of a bit disappointing. But given it was also less than half the price of Sakai's I can't complain too much. Also when the Champagne by the glass is Veuve Clicquot at only $12 a glass, I can't complain about that either.