From the sound of the whisk touching the bowl and the sizzle of the meat to the conversations in English and French plus the calm music in the background, Jean-Georges Tokyo, a French-cuisine restaurant located in Tokyo's Roppongi, was filled with just the right amount of lively ambience.
Under the high ceiling, head chef Fumio Yonezawa prepares the dishes as he checks the guests' pace and occasionally exchanges words with his staff. But when it comes to the finishing touches, he takes his time and works carefully. When the guests see the beautifully served dish placed before them, their faces light up.
Many of the dishes served at the restaurant incorporate fruits. To use the seasonings sparingly and highlight the sour and sweet taste of fruits is one of the things the 37-year-old chef learned from the owner Jean-Georges Vongerichten while training under him in New York.
At the restaurant, the apple will go into a snow crab salad while scallops will be served with raisin sauce. In early spring, Yonezawa surprised the guests by serving sauteed bamboo shoots with banana sauce.
As one of the dishes that capture the spirit of the restaurant, Yonezawa introduces carpaccio of red seabream this week. The light pink fish, red strawberries, green herbs and yellow buttermilk dressing blossom on the white plate. The harmony of the refreshing taste of the dressing, sweet and sour strawberries and the subtle bitterness of the herbs envelop the light-tasting red seabream.
This summer, Yonezawa will take part as a chef in "Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale 2018," an art event to be held in Tokamachi city and Tsunan town in Niigata Prefecture between July 29 and September 17. He has been commissioned to create a lunch menu for the visitors’ tour that will run during the event.
While he works day and night at his restaurant, Yonezawa finds the time to take part in such activities. "Instead of just keeping the experience and the skills I have gained inside the restaurant, I want to pass them on to society and spread the word about the abundant nature of food."
Half a fillet of red seabream (madai) sashimi
Herbs such as dill, chervil and mint
Seasoning A (2 Tbsp buttermilk, 1 tsp Champagne vinegar, 1 Tbsp olive oil, some salt)
Thinly slice fish.
To make dressing, add Seasoning A in bowl and mix thoroughly. (Adjust amount of vinegar and salt to taste. Buttermilk may be replaced by yogurt.)
Lay red seabream on plate, garnish with sliced strawberries and finely torn herbs. Top with some olive oil (not listed above) and pour dressing on the side.
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From The Asahi Shimbun’s Watashi no Ryori column