Living on the East Coast means that we can easily travel to other destinations that we wouldn’t even think of when we were living elsewhere. Charleston, Charlottesville, Richmond, and others, to name a few, but the big city that comes to mind would be NEW YORK CITY. I absolutely love and adore New York City, and am crazy about the food there. Like, before we go, my husband and I look up youtube videos for restaurant reviews. In my mind, NYC is the mecca of vegan food.
We try to make a roadtrip out to NYC at least a couple of times a year, and each trip is especially meaningful because we get to spend time with my cousins, and C LOVES her cousins. They so graciously gave us a date night and watched C, so we set off to Kajitsu (P made reservations a month in advance), a vegan restaurant with a Michelin star. This restaurant specializes in food prepared in the shojin tradition, originating from Zen Buddhism, in which no harm is inflicted upon animals.
We enjoyed a multi-course menu, served omakase (chef’s choice) style. I think we had about eight dishes, including dessert. P had his meal with different sake pairings, and I opted for the tea pairings. The menu changes daily, according to the seasons of Japan, and when we went, it was February. February in Japan is the time of Setsubun (like a New Year’s Eve) and Lunar New Year. This dishes we had reflected that time of the year, adorned with holly leaves (to drive out bad luck).
We sat at the chef’s counter, and it was the best decision we made. We got to pick out our own ceramic teacups to drink kumquat juice from, and had an array of dishes that were so well-thought out, you could easily believe Japan was right outside the door. The flavors of the dishes we tried were all so intricate and you could taste every component.
I can’t tell you everything we ate (I also didn’t take pictures of everything we ate because I didn’t want to interrupt the service and experience). But, I can tell you that my favorites were the pounded mochi rice lollipop encrusted with truffle (I typically don’t like truffle, but this was divine), a freshly made miso soup with seasonal vegetables and house-made mochi, and an interesting cold soup with a black bean tofu. I can also say this – the service, explanations of the food served from our waiter and chef, and the complete reverence of the food were amazing. We received some freshly whisked matcha green tea at the end of our meal, and watched our server, mesmerized and he concentrated intently on the entire matcha-whisking process.
Our dining experiences was easily a good three-hour date night. You’ll spend a pretty penny (or two) at this place, but it’s definitely worth it for the flavors and experience.
Location: 125 E 39th Street, New York, NY 10016