Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sho-U, The Central

Kinoko Batayaki

The Central has been operating in a bit of a half-open, half-under construction mode for a while. And it had been a while since I was last there, so I was hoping to go there tonight to find that maybe some new places had opened up since then. To my dismay, there wasn't really anything too interesting. The basement was a bore, Marutama had a huge line, and even that Manhattan Fish Co had a line out front (not that I wanted to go there). So I figured that I'd try one restaurant on the third floor (The Central #03-85, 6534-8066) that I felt a bit bad for, as it was tucked away from the action and had some strange cavernous entry way that prevented a direct view of the dining room from outside. Well, some ameyaki steak thing on the menu seemed kind of appealing at the time.

There was a bit of a cold feeling inside...not of the temperature, but the decor. Granted, it was supposed to be an acclaimed interior designer's work that I'm sure would look nice in a fancy studio or something. But the white room that I was in (as opposed to the black or red rooms available) felt dull, rather than the warm feeling I would want while feeding. Indeed, it gave me a burning desire to don one of those white jumpsuits from The Island. Or go prepare for a medical examination or something.

Ameyaki Bifu SutekiBut enough about the fluff. How was the food? The kinoko batayaki sounded interesting: dip your wild mushrooms into a butter and sake base sitting on a burner. While the butter did give it a nice rich aroma, it was a bit too sweet for my taste. And what about the steak? There's no doubting that the food was of high quality, and they did a good job of preparation too. But it was just too contemporary for me. Even the kinoko tsukemen featured a broth's consistency that was thicker than I would have wanted.

Will I return? Probably not. Again, they did a great job of procuring quality ingredients, and arguably the dishes were innovative. But this sort of modern Japanese just didn't suit my more traditional tastes. It was expensive too, which was all the more reason to be disappointed that they didn't take American Express.

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