Kajitsu

New Years is my least favorite holiday of the year. To me, it's like the equivalent of bowling: I would rather stay home and do nothing. There's little I enjoy less than reminders that I'm getting older and looking back on on how little I've accomplished, so New Years pretty much checks off all the boxes. However, this year, I decided to have dinner at Kajitsu, a restaurant specializing in Buddhist temple cuisine. I remembered once reading that they did a special New Year's meal, and I finally decided to try it out. While this would prove to have been a false lead, the meal was nevertheless as thoughtful and meticulously-crafted as anything straight outta Kyoto, and I would have never known otherwise, had I not asked, that this was not a special holiday meal - that it was, in fact, the daily standard. 

 
 Turnip, carrot, sweet black bean. In the back, under the bundle of leaves, is burdock root coated in toasted almonds. The sweet black bean is called kuro mame, and it is commonly served at New Year. It sounds like it would be weird, but it's really delicious.

Turnip, carrot, sweet black bean. In the back, under the bundle of leaves, is burdock root coated in toasted almonds. The sweet black bean is called kuro mame, and it is commonly served at New Year. It sounds like it would be weird, but it's really delicious.

 I'm kind of a nerd about drinkware, and I think that Japanese glass is some of the most beautiful. It's so thin and beautiful. 

I'm kind of a nerd about drinkware, and I think that Japanese glass is some of the most beautiful. It's so thin and beautiful. 

 I chose to do a sake pairing, and almost every pairing came in a uniquely different glass, all of them ridiculously beautiful. 

I chose to do a sake pairing, and almost every pairing came in a uniquely different glass, all of them ridiculously beautiful. 

 White miso soup with grilled mochi, kale, watermelon radish

White miso soup with grilled mochi, kale, watermelon radish

 Pickled daikon with yuzu, lotus root with Japanese mustard, taro potato, sweet potato, broccoli rabe, mochi, konjac, pickled kelp with kanpyo, kumquat jelly, fried soba (resembling pine needles), candied pecans. 

Pickled daikon with yuzu, lotus root with Japanese mustard, taro potato, sweet potato, broccoli rabe, mochi, konjac, pickled kelp with kanpyo, kumquat jelly, fried soba (resembling pine needles), candied pecans. 

 This is goma tofu, a type of tofu made out of sesame. It has a texture a closer to mochi, and when done right, it has this beautiful, rich nuttiness. It's my favorite, and here, it was especially delicious. 

This is goma tofu, a type of tofu made out of sesame. It has a texture a closer to mochi, and when done right, it has this beautiful, rich nuttiness. It's my favorite, and here, it was especially delicious. 

 Artichoke, somen croquette with enoki, snow cabbage, lettuce, saffron, tomato

Artichoke, somen croquette with enoki, snow cabbage, lettuce, saffron, tomato

 Oden with fried tofu, brussels sprouts, daikon, fennel, kohlrabi, nama-fu. I will eat but never crave or desire to eat brussels sprouts, but they were surprisingly ah-mazing and actually my favorite part of the dish!

Oden with fried tofu, brussels sprouts, daikon, fennel, kohlrabi, nama-fu. I will eat but never crave or desire to eat brussels sprouts, but they were surprisingly ah-mazing and actually my favorite part of the dish!

 Tableside presentation. 
 My favortie part of any Japanese course meal is the claypot rice at the end. This one has red bean, fried tofu, hijiki, burdock root. 

My favortie part of any Japanese course meal is the claypot rice at the end. This one has red bean, fried tofu, hijiki, burdock root. 

Kajitsu NYC New York shojin kaiseki
 The rice with some pickles in the background. Any rice not finished at the restaurant is packed up to bring home, and I personally think that it's best enjoyed in the middle of the night, sitting in the middle of the floor. 

The rice with some pickles in the background. Any rice not finished at the restaurant is packed up to bring home, and I personally think that it's best enjoyed in the middle of the night, sitting in the middle of the floor. 

 Chilled soba with pickled plum, daikon, nori, sesame, shiso. Dinner here usually comes with a choice of rice or soba, but the next level omakase includes both. Obviously I chose the option with more food and more carbs. 

Chilled soba with pickled plum, daikon, nori, sesame, shiso. Dinner here usually comes with a choice of rice or soba, but the next level omakase includes both. Obviously I chose the option with more food and more carbs. 

 Strawberry and coconut (?) ice cream.

Strawberry and coconut (?) ice cream.

 Red bean daifuku

Red bean daifuku

 Ceremonial matcha from ippodo with a small sugar candy from Kagizen-Yoshifusa in Kyoto

Ceremonial matcha from ippodo with a small sugar candy from Kagizen-Yoshifusa in Kyoto

 

Date: January 2018
Camera: Canon 6D