Remember in elementary school everyone had one of those awesome snap bracelets? You know the ones that were made of cheap sheet metal that would eventually cut throughout the rad neon coloured material covering this sharp hazard that ultimately inspired some sort of child safety department in government? I remember kids would walk around with slit wrists and pale due to the loss of blood they suffered at the hands of these bracelets and the price of being cool. Regardless of the potential of falling over unconscious in the middle of Homeroom with lacerations and blood squirting from their wrists; remember how if you didn’t have one, you weren’t one of the cool kids – this can be attributed to anything these days anyways. I still feel out of the loop for have never watched Dexter or Entourage, so if you don’t get the snap bracelet reference, DON’T JUDGE ME. For this week’s post, I decided to revisit a Japanese joint that’s been the focus of glares of astonishment, personal ridicule and amazement of wondering what planet you’ve been living on if you still haven’t been to, Kazu.
I had written about Kazu before, and by “before” I really mean back in the days when you were able to walk in and get a seat, albeit all 12 of them, and didn’t need to bring a snack to wait inline for the 5:30 dinner service. Two buddies and I hit up Kazu one sunday evening, being seasoned Kazu regulars, we knew what we were getting, both literally and figuratively, in terms of food quality and service as well as what dishes we were going to order. Kazu has both a set menu as well as specials that adorn the walls. Make sure you read the wall thoroughly, it’s messy and that’s part of the fun.
We started off with an order of bonjiri yakitori. Grilled skewers are typical izakaya food, and on this day, the special was “chicken tail” skewers served with teriyaki sauce. Plump and juicy morsels of chicken tail, unctuous and fatty were glazed with teriyaki sauce and grilled to a perfect char. I’m so glad they didn’t call it a “Pope’s nose”, and I’m convinced the enjoyment factor would have been far less had any mention of any of the Pope’s body parts been mentioned during my meal.
Next up was the pork cheek paté. Served up with toasted tortillas, the pork cheek is braised, pulled then mashed with some miso and dressed with a sweet and spicy chill sauce. The pork was extremely soft and smooth, the muted pork flavour was complimented by the robustness of the miso and set off with the sharp sting of the chill sauce. You take your piece of tortilla and do a little scarpetta along the sides of the bowl; manners dictate that it’s not very polite to pick the plate up and lick your food off, but when your neighbour sitting at the next table does it, all manners are left at the door with all the suckers waiting for the second service.
Like in my first post about Kazu before, we split the salmon and tuna bowl. Rice with tuna and salmon sashimi, with lettuce and cucumbers, topped with crispy noodles, in a sweet soy dressing. Really light and fresh, this bowl is a party pack of gestures and flavours; the delicateness of the raw fish crunching in your mouth due to the tempura flakes and fried noodles and the sweet and spiciness of the two different sauces, my pallet was awake taking notes and trying to keep track of what exactly was going on all at once.
We also ordered the grilled pork necks. Marinated and grilled in a sweet soy and miso sauce, the pork necks were sticky, fatty and smokey. There was not THAT much meat on the bones, but it was enough to warrant me holding it up against my face to slather the sauce against my ear, wiggling my tongue against the nooks and crannies making me perform some sort of sick porky cunilingus on the butchered vertebras.
The beef carpaccio was simple and fresh. Thinly sliced beef topped with arugula a sweet citrusy dressing peppered with furikake and tempura bits. This dish was a bit uneventful… It was cold, because the meat was raw, the arugula was green because of the chlorophyl… and so on.
Between the three of us we attempted to split the shrimp burger. I say “attempt”, not due to the logistics of the fact that the burger was split in half and not cut like a Mercedes Benz, but because amongst the three of us, the shrimp burger is a general favourite. The homemade patty made with whipped shrimp and onions, and served grilled with sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and tempura bits. The seasoned mayo served with the burger was extremely creamy and sweet and the bun was straight up Italiano out of the bag. The patty had a nice bouncy bite to it and the creamy mayo added a nice richness to the burger.
The last dish served was the grilled salmon belly. Succulent and deliciously fatty, the toro was glassed with a sweet soy sauce that practically candied the fish. This bad boy had HDL and omega-3 levels comparable to any 30 second Dr. Oz commercial. As highly as I recommend this dish, I dare you to polish it off alone, heavy as a Paula Dean chicken fried butter sticks with a sour cream and avocado sauce – it goes without saying, splitting this amongst a few people is your best bet.
Like I said the lineups are legit. This is a picture of the lineup 30 mins before Kazu opens on a SUNDAY at 5:30pm. If you’re going to hit up Kazu, make sure you do it soon, I pity the fools who are going to brave the cold and mind numbing temperatures in a few months, FOR a few months.
I firmly believe chef Kazuo is half genius, half evil, and half rockstar. The kind of stuff he thinks up of to put on his menu is the handy work of only someone who is able to tap into everyone’s inner most animalistic desires of food-lust. This revisited episode has been brought to you by the fact that it’s been way over a year since the first time I wrote about the place and the fact that I’ve probably eaten through the menu a few times… not to mention having ordered almost everything on the menu too… hahaha, heyoooooo.