11 Oct2009

Jozu Kin

by Marketman

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As is often the case on Sundays, we wanted to have lunch out, but were bored with all the potential prospects… So when friends suggested we try Jozu Kin at Fort Bonifacio, written up today in Margaux Salcedo’s article in the Sunday Inquirer Magazine, we said we were game for that. Margaux’s column is one that I usually read, but hadn’t done so this morning, so I went in search of it to see what we could expect at lunch. The article struck me more as an ode to the Chef Jayme, a friend I gather, more than a review of the restaurant itself. With credentials including stints in the kitchens at Balthazar and three Batali restaurants in New York, expectations were higher than normal. And when the price of an average meal was estimated at PHP800-1,500, I was prepared to spend PHP1,500+ but be wowed vis-a-vis the normal run of the mill, what I like to call, “Filipinized Japanese” cuisine that is so common in Manila. But mention that this restaurant was owned by the offspring of Mr. Villavicencio (of Tripe V, Saisaki and Kamayan fame) should have tempered my heightened expectations somewhat. Four of us ate lunch today, and all are fairly experienced restaurant customers, and these are our collective thoughts on Jozu Kin…

The restaurant is located at Burgos circle in Fort Bonifacio, near all those new Megaworld apartment buildings. Constructed into a double height ceilinged ground floor rental space, the restaurant has a mezzanine where the bulk of the restaurant tables appear to be located. The ground floor houses more tables and the kitchen, I gather. It is bright and airy downstairs, dark and a bit claustrophobic on the second floor. I personally dislike mezzanines in restaurants, and while I understand they are an economic necessity due to the cost of rental space, they rarely, if ever, make cozy dining spaces wherever in the world you might be. The interior decor is unusual in that I had no idea what they were aiming at… Faux brick walls with cement oozing out was matched with dark wood veneers and a wall of quilted leatherette which was nicely intentioned to muffle out the horrendous noise levels so common in many restaurants these days. It was dark, masculine, almost club-like or bar-like in the upstairs dining area. A bar was in fact tucked into one corner of the mezzanine and we were seated close to it. With blenders going constantly to fill diners seemingly insatiable desire for high-mark up fruit shakes, the sound of the blender was deafening and frankly, truly irritating. And I am certain the entire mezzanine was treated to the constant cacophony. Yes, definitely, they need a sound muffler or case for that blender. The restaurant is quite new, so it was a surprise that they didn’t seem to have enough menus on hand, and I don’t like sharing menus unless I am on a date early in the courtship process and want to be brushing epidermis with one’s intended partner.

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But once we opened the limited menus (our table first had to share 2 of the precious documents), the prices of the dishes immediately suggested we had perhaps arrived with the wrong expectations. Most of the dishes were surprisingly budget friendly, and given the location, the interiors, and the size of the dishes, this struck me more as an upscale Saisaki than a downscale fancy restaurant. One could easily dine here comfortably for lunch at the PHP400-500 average ticket per customer (unless ordering the really pricey stuff) and maybe just a bit more if you were having dinner. Whenever I go to a new restaurant, I try to order my “benchmark” dishes… to compare them to what I personally think is a good example of this dish, reasonable value, presentation, etc. So I started off with an order of tuna sashimi, photo up top. What arrived were 6-8 generous slices of a pallid raw tuna, more pink than red, and definitely not the finest you might find in the market, and probably even previously frozen. A plus was the nicely grated horseradish on the side, and the taste was fine, but if you can’t nail the tuna sashimi at a Japanese restaurant, expect other disappointments as the meal progresses. I thought this was a generous 8.0/10.0 for the price charged.

Our second starter was an interesting sounding dish name “Sake Balls” or something similar (sorry, my names might be a bit inaccurate and some prices unstated as the receipt was not itemized and I don’t take notes while eating). Sake is salmon in Japanese, I gather and a thin slice of salmon sashimi covered the top half the rice ball, perhaps 2/3 the volume of a golf ball, and was topped with a smidgen of cream cheese and a piece of fried salmon skin. We all thought this was awful. Far too much rice, no flavor of salmon coming through, and the cream cheese a bit odd. But worse, the fried skin was distracting and didn’t help the dish one bit. Ours was definitely makunat (unpleasantly chewy), and it was like having some rice tutong or burned rice bits stuck in one’s teeth. We wouldn’t order this again. This rated a 4.0/10.0.

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The spicy tuna temaki, also mentioned in Margaux’s article, was very good and met RM’s expectations. At the price charged, he felt it was a strong 8.5/10.0. And would definitely order it again.

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Mrs. MM is a linguine a la vongole fanatic, and makes it well herself, so she decided to order the Chef’s fusion take on this classic dish by using green tea? noodles, with lots of clams, shallots, etc. It looked pretty good. But it definitely lacked verve. It was bland. The absence of wine was not made up for by an alternative ingredient. And in Mrs. MM’s opinion, the use of chopped green onion in place of chopped flat-leaf parsley drew a wrinkled face. She still finished the entire order, and rated it a 7.0/10.0. At PHP290 for this order, it was a very reasonably priced main course.

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Mrs. MM also ordered some agedashi tofu, a staple at our Japanese meals, and liked it a LOT. It was light and not oily in the least. It was a generous serving of six pieces and sat in a sauce that was well seasoned and flavorful. The grated radish was just the right amount for the liquid. Nothing fusion here, but they nailed it. We all rated this at 8.50/10.0.

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I have stopped ordering gindara at all but the best Japanese restaurants as I find they tend to use a poorer quality of gindara, even a substitute for the original, but I was happy that MG ordered this as her main course for lunch. A relatively thin slice of gindara looked perfectly grilled and was smothered in teriyaki sauce that was just appropriately sweet. She was very happy with this dish, and would rate it a solid 9.0/10.0 and it was PHP440.

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MG also ordered the garlic fried rice, and quickly noted that upon arrival, it had more color than the typical white rice served with some fried garlic on top. Some effort was at least applied to this bowl of fried rice, and the addition of soy and other flavorings made this another well-received dish, which she rated also at 9.0/10.0. It was PHP60 or so.

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For my main course, I ordered cold noodles served with three pieces of shrimp tempura. The noodles (green tea instead of normally buckwheat noodles) were okay, and again the grated wasabi was a plus, but the noodles were laid on top of several tube ice pieces that were rapidly melting onto the serving box. Watery noodles, even though cold, are not the ideal way to enjoy this dish. The noodles are best served well chilled, in my opinon, but not dripping tube ice water. The water dilutes the dipping sauce, and as could have been predicted, dripped on the way onto the table and spilled on the way off the table. The raw quail’s egg was nice and the sauce well seasoned.

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The tempura was competently executed and overall I thought this dish rated a 8.50/10.0 for the PHP290 or so price. I could see dropping in for this dish with a Diet Coke and leaving with a bill of less than PHP400.

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RM decided to go for something unusual and ordered these jalapeno ebiko cha soba noodles. For someone used to serious spice, he found this “too spicy” and picked out the several pieces of jalapeno that remained in his bowl. He thought it would be improved a bit by a slight reduction in chili, and maybe just letting diners add more if they wanted to. In its current version, he rated this a 7.0/10.0. At PHP312 (bizarre price we thought), this struck me as being a bit pricey.

If there was one thing apparent at this stage of the meal, it was not what we had expected. Either the dictates of the owners regarding what would or would not be a commercial success or the dishes that we ordered did not exhibit the touch of a chef who came so well credentialed. There was no brightness to each order, no unique sharpness of flavor that is common in a Batali dish, no matter how plebeian. Things were muddled, unsure, insecure. It was neither a nailed example of Japanese cuisine nor a convincing example of fusion Japanese-French-Italian that would leave a strong enough impression. It was reasonable value for the prices charged, but maybe that just means the chef’s skills were poorly showcased in this setting. Chef Jayme was working the floor, even clearing trays, and was on the mezzanine a couple of times while we dined. And maybe they were just surprised by the relatively full house they had today, probably as a result of the review of Ms. Salcedo, as they seemed a bit under-manned and under-stocked, but it’s early goings and I hope things find their stride in the months ahead. They had no Coke Light, so I happily took a Coke Zero, only to order a second one, and they were already “out-of-stock”.

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If we had a mixed review of the appetizers and main courses, we had a unanimous one on the two desserts we tried at lunch. And it was that we should have gone next door to Sugarhouse instead. The tapioca with brown sugar was okay, but it came with one of the most disappointing buko ice creams I have ever tasted. I suppose one could have been aiming at a lighter sort of buko foam, but this it was not. It was soft, probably unintentionally soft, and a result of a hot kitchen or weak freezer or both, less flavorful than it could have been, and had an odd mouth feel. I rarely say this, but serving a scoop of Magnolia style high carageenan and air pumped ice cream might even have been better. This rated a 6.0/10.0.

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Finally, we ended on the worst note. How can one mess up an order of what is essentially banana turon and mango ice cream? An odd option in a Japanese-French-Italian fusion place, by the way. The turon was a whole banana cut in half, therefor seriously chunky, and it barely cooked all the way through. The skin was a vietnamese style rice wrapper that was not crisp or browned at all, more like a damp oily skin which held fresh mint leaves against the bits of jackfruit and banana. Mint and bananas did not seem like a good idea and this whole dish was poorly executed. And the mango ice cream was again unbelievably disappointing. This was a 4.0/10.0.

Overall, we averaged out all of the individual dish ratings to an aggregate 7.0/10.0, which I think fairly describes the lunch we had today at Jozu Kin. It could definitely improve, and I hope Chef Jayme takes comments from his customers into account when adjusting or improving dishes in future. As we were leaving, I dropped by a nearby table with over 10 guests, one of them a regular marketmanila.com reader and asked them what they thought of their lunch. Let’s just say it didn’t seem too far off the review I have just written here. Oh, and one last thing. A service charge was not included in the bill. To me, that says only one thing. The staff are likely to be undercompensated and it will be an uphill battle training everyone to provide a level of service that would leave a positive impression… Our total bill for all ten dishes plus several drinks was roughly PHP2,500 or PHP625 each, far less than the expected PHP800-1,500 range quoted in the article. We will go back at least one more time, perhaps to try the less common and more pricey offerings on the menu, and maybe then the influence and style of the chef will be more apparent.

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Gener says:

    First time i heard about this filipinized japanese cuisine, Well im sure they have to be nice food al the way and its still affordable indeed! My mouth watered if ever i imagined the good taste of this japs foodies, A combination of nigiri-zhusi, shashimi tuna salad, chicken tempura and sake (with the exception of wasabi) then have some dip of caviar on ice…Wow!

    Oct 11, 2009 | 8:12 pm

     
  2. Vanessa says:

    This restaurant doesn’t seem too inspiring. Thanks for an objective review.

    By the way, I went to Marché des Enfants Rouges. I believe you were there, too, on your last visit to Paris. Did you know of Chez Takéo, the Japanese bar at the back end of the market? Wonderful fare at friendly prices! It’s always full. I was astonished with the quality. The colorful and vibrant market, though diminutive, was a delight to find in the heart of the Marais.

    Oct 11, 2009 | 8:17 pm

     
  3. Marketman says:

    Vanessa, yes, we LOVED Marche des Enfants Rouges, and while we ate Italian, we sat next to the Japanese stall and noticed how wonderful the stuff there looked. The Moroccan place was likewise intriguing.

    Oct 11, 2009 | 8:19 pm

     
  4. Good Life says:

    OMG that turon was bastardized. The salmon skin chewy. Noodles with ice on the bottom? What is going on? Do this people taste test ? Or do they expect customer to come back.
    Well anyway thanks for the review.Good job as always!!!!

    Oct 11, 2009 | 11:24 pm

     
  5. chip says:

    I really wanted to try this after reading about Chef Jayme… Will make sure to temper expectations when I do =)

    BTW did you get to try any of the Wine Depot restaurant week menus? I tried Pepato’s: 5 courses with 3 wine pairings for less than 1,000 Pesos. Food was above average only but it was definitely a great deal for the price charged!

    Oct 12, 2009 | 4:06 am

     
  6. franco says:

    I normally avoid anything related to Saisaki. Past few times eating there I recall walking out disappointed. I’d think this one would not be any different.

    Oct 12, 2009 | 8:17 am

     
  7. kurzhaar says:

    off thread here, but of general interest for bloggers and their readers:

    http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm

    Excerpt: “The revised Guides also add new examples to illustrate the long standing principle that “material connections” (sometimes payments or free products) between advertisers and endorsers – connections that consumers would not expect – must be disclosed. These examples address what constitutes an endorsement when the message is conveyed by bloggers or other “word-of-mouth” marketers. The revised Guides specify that while decisions will be reached on a case-by-case basis, the post of a blogger who receives cash or in-kind payment to review a product is considered an endorsement. Thus, bloggers who make an endorsement must disclose the material connections they share with the seller of the product or service.”

    Oct 12, 2009 | 8:53 am

     
  8. mommy says:

    Hi MM, Seldom these days do readers get an honest to goodness reviews be it in newpapers and blogs as the writer is either a friend or got to wrtie about it with ex-deals. Thanks for sharing your experience on your lunches. I remember as a teenager how I look forward to having family dinners at Saisaki and Kamayan (this was when eat all you can tempura, eat all you can buffet w/no left-overs was introduced). They used to serve quality dishes.
    These days, their promos at kamayan, Saisaki and Somethng fishy left me nothing to desire.
    Super Sayang.

    Oct 12, 2009 | 9:13 am

     
  9. Marketman says:

    kurzhaar, was planning to do a related post on that topic. As you may have noticed, I completely agree that bloggers should fully disclose relationships, freebies, etc. :)

    Oct 12, 2009 | 9:17 am

     
  10. Muzzy says:

    Judging by your photo, the tuna sashimi looks like the type that’s been treated with carbon monoxide to keep it looking pink. Very common practice with lower quality fish and often served at supermarkets (at least in japan.) But the ones i’ve seen look a whole lot better than this. Thanks for the review. I like learning about what to avoid as well as what to try.

    Oct 12, 2009 | 10:39 am

     
  11. kurzhaar says:

    I’ve heard/read about this issue discussed on and off over the past couple of years or so. It’s pretty telling that at least here in the US it’s been serious enough an issue that the FTC stepped in. I think it is great that you have an entirely advertisement/sponsor-free blog.

    Oct 12, 2009 | 12:01 pm

     
  12. Kai says:

    I never want to eat anywhere related to Triple V. Perhaps, in the past, when Saisaki/Dads/Kamayan were the only choices, but now there’s a lot of restaurants to choose from, I’ll always opt to bypass any offering from the group.

    Now let’s see what happens about the implementation of the Guides. I’ve been so frustrated with “endorsements” from many (Filipino) bloggers that I’ve learned to discern which are truly objective reviews, or completely stopped reading that blog altogether.

    Oct 12, 2009 | 12:11 pm

     
  13. Cris Jose says:

    Thanks for giving an honest review of the place… at least I know where not to go :)… and thank you for not allowing advertisements on your blog MM… I think dalawa pa lang blog sites ang napuntahan ko na walang advertisements, your’s and Culinary Concoctions by Peabody…

    Oct 12, 2009 | 12:13 pm

     
  14. Ley says:

    Last year, hubby and I had an anniversary dinner at one of the most expensive restaurants in Cebu. The decision to dine there was prompted solely by an article we read in the local daily that gave a very impressive review of the resort/restaurant. After the dinner, we both agreed the meal was good but NOT worth the price. Early this year, a client (who turned out to be a business partner of the person who wrote THAT article) asked me to review/revise their PR contract with that expensive restaurant/resort. OMG! I strongly feel that an article (be it published in dailies, magazine or in the web) SHOULD disclose that the author is paid or is the PR person of the establishment suject of the review. Even newspapers and magazines that publish these kind of article guised as objective review but are actually paid ads, should demand that a disclosure to readers be made. I can just imagine how many people have been misled by these articles.

    Oct 12, 2009 | 1:17 pm

     
  15. Joyce says:

    unfortunately, that is a common practice in manila to exchange freebies for a good review. the only restaurant reviews i took seriously was doreen fernandez’s food columns as i knew she never took freebies and paid for meals herself when she was reviewing a place.

    Oct 12, 2009 | 1:46 pm

     
  16. cumin says:

    Don’t you miss Lucullus (sp?) who wrote restaurant reviews in the Business World or whatever was its name back in the 80s? Acerbic wit, I still remember some memorable phrases from his column. Identity not disclosed and didn’t accept freebies so his reviews had complete candor.

    Oct 12, 2009 | 1:55 pm

     
  17. Joanne says:

    SIngapore is following the US in that direction. It’s in the papers today that the govt will soon compel bloggers and other users of new media to own up to gifts received for write-ups. I think its a really wonderful idea. I just wish the newspapers in the Philippines will do the same disclosure for all their ‘lifestyle’ pieces which are ‘sponsored’ or if the writer is friends/neighbours/ relatives with the resto owners or chefs.

    Oct 12, 2009 | 4:45 pm

     
  18. Hershey says:

    MM, if I am not mistaken, the Japanese word for salmon is shake, ‘sha-ke’ :)

    Oct 12, 2009 | 6:53 pm

     
  19. MES says:

    Naughty, naughty MM asking for my opinion on the food with the chef right behind him! ;-D You quite caught me off guard there. I wish I had tried the tempura, based on your review!

    Oct 12, 2009 | 7:19 pm

     
  20. ifoodtrip.com says:

    I tried Jozu Kin by chance two sundays ago. I and two friends were tired after a whole afternoon of volunteering packing relief goods nearby, we decided to try it since it was just next door to where one of my friends lived. We ordered mostly sushi and one order really stood out, the one with oysters and salmon. I thought the place showed promise and I decided to try it again with a proper dinner. I didn’t know the credentials of the Chef until reading Margaux’s column last Sunday which made me want to go back sooner.

    With such credentials and with the result of your review, i will give it some time before I will go back. Just like athletes and artists, Chefs need to get into a groove first and that may take a few weeks and maybe months. Notice how restaurants such as Cicou and Lolo Dad’s Brasserie got bad reviews from bloggers when they first opened but got better reviews later on. Hopefully its just a groove thing.

    Oct 12, 2009 | 7:37 pm

     
  21. Marketman says:

    ifoodtrip.com, I agree, I do hope he finds his stride, I don’t normally dine in restaurants less than two months old, but this was an unusual situation. MES, I figured you could figure out good from bad… :) Hershey, thank you, that does sound right…

    Oct 12, 2009 | 8:51 pm

     
  22. James says:

    I’m with you there, MM. Rarely do I visit restaurants within a month of opening. Most restaurants don’t take the time or expense to give their service personnel or their kitchen brigade practice working together. So, early customers get to pay for this process.

    I made the mistake of going to the opening of a chain Japanese restaurant at the new Robinson’s here in Tacloban. Their staff was slow, didn’t seem to wait to talk to the people at the tables, and brought food out as it became ready (which meant my 6 year old son had to wait until everyone else had their food … of course, nobody ate until we all had food … my donburi was cold).

    I went back a month later … they still did not seem to understand that a restaurant should deliver the food to all the diners at a table at the same time.

    I won’t go back a third time.

    Oct 13, 2009 | 1:05 pm

     
  23. peter v says:

    my hats off to MM for a fair and balanced review. you wrote it the way you saw it and tasted it. you pointed out the good and the bad. i wish all food critics are the same, with an unbiased opinion so readers will have the right idea on these establishments.

    Oct 13, 2009 | 4:13 pm

     
  24. Rowi says:

    Hi MM,
    It’s been a while since I read your blog and was pleasantly surprised to see the new and more navigable lay-out. Congratulations! Well done!

    Really appreciate your objective and personal restaurant reviews, this one in particular as my husband and I love Japanese food and find exceptionally good places to enjoy them in Manila, but some of the old reliable restaurants have either closed shop or as you described it been filipinized. Your reviews really help us who plan to visit Manila and are there for a short stay.

    Oct 13, 2009 | 6:10 pm

     
  25. portugalbear says:

    Thanks MM for the honest feedback. I too try to stay away from the Triple V chain. It has really deteriorated over the years. They can’t seem to get their act together again.

    Oct 13, 2009 | 6:28 pm

     
  26. giselle acop says:

    Will definitely try the temaki! :)
    I think you mean cacophony?

    Oct 14, 2009 | 12:11 am

     
  27. bernice says:

    hi marketman,

    thank you for this post. i actually read inquirer.net everyday and look forward to marguax salcedo’s article every sunday. when i read her article about jozu kin, i wished i were back home to try it. but after reading your post, i see that there’s no rush after all as i 100% trust your taste. but being a pinay in ny, i have a soft spot for filipinos who lived here and eventually went home to bring home what they learned, so i’m probably still going to try it when i get back and give it a chance.

    and i’m glad that you feel that way too.

    “We will go back at least one more time, perhaps to try the less common and more pricey offerings on the menu, and maybe then the influence and style of the chef will be more apparent.”

    i agree. perhaps if you try the more pricey offerings on the menu, the influence of the chef would be more apparent. but the other mediocre dishes still had no excuse.

    reading marguax salcedo describe the dishes below made me salivate:
    “Sushi Ebi Balthazar Style.” This is sushi but lathered with rosemary, garlic and thyme. sounds intresting, as well as the pan seared scallops bathed in truffle oil.

    Oct 14, 2009 | 7:24 am

     
  28. Maki says:

    Im not a fan of sushi but this one looks great.. ^___^

    Oct 14, 2009 | 7:45 am

     
  29. Jap Lover says:

    I dined here the 2nd day this place opened. I’d have to say the food was very good. I didn’t care who the chef was nor did I care who which offspring it sprouted from.

    All i knew was the decor was nice and the food was fresh. Not quite filipinised. Sorry!! How can you filipinise raw fish?? I’m a food lover that has dined from many different parts of the world. I bet you if Morimoto was the chef, you would have loved the food if he put out Filipino Spaghetti. I also would guess you all would say, wow authentic japanese with the hot dogs so fluffy inside. Reality CHECK PEOPLE!!

    This place is very promising. If you all can find me a better quality Tuna, then post it here. Otherwise, let’s just enjoy the meal. And no, i don’t know any of the chefs or owners. I am just your typical food lover who’s been around the world.

    People, let’s enjoy the food. Eat, if you don’t like it, don’t come back right.. Live, love, eat

    Oct 14, 2009 | 12:53 pm

     
  30. teny says:

    If this is resto is owned by the saisaki group then chances are they will be serving the same kind of quality of japanese food. If I will be spending that much then I would have rather gone to a more authentic japanese restaurant.

    Oct 14, 2009 | 1:10 pm

     
  31. Marketman says:

    giselle, thanks, yes it is cacophony… have changed the post, thanks. Jap Lover, glad you liked it, but I stand by the post as I’ve written it, certainly there are different takes on the food, but there definitely IS BETTER tuna sashimi available in the markets, I have used some of it in other posts like tuna tartare featured on this blog before. Filipinized in that some of Japanese restaurants in Manila are often sweeter than usual, and focus on pandering to a taste that is more expected by local diners… If you dine at Tsukiji on Pasay road, or a Japanese owned restaurant amongst many on Pasong Tamo’s little Japan and a Saisaki, you would know what I mean by filipinized Japanese food. I did not say that Jozu Kin’s food is Filipinized Japanese, in fact, I specifically state “I was prepared to spend PHP1,500+ but be wowed vis-a-vis the normal run of the mill, what I like to call, “Filipinized Japanese” cuisine that is so common in Manila.” Perhaps you need to read the post with more care or comprehension before hastily drawing your conclusions. I am glad you enjoyed your meal there and many others probably will to. We were obviously less enthusiastic about our meal last Sunday…

    Oct 14, 2009 | 4:20 pm

     
  32. kurzhaar says:

    Reviewing a restaurant is always tricky–the reviewer has his/her own tastes and previous experiences which colour his/her reaction to a meal, and of course any restaurant can have an off day.

    I rely to some extent on reviewers whose tastes are similar to my own (which of course takes some time to figure out)…this goes for both food and wine. Nowadays I will buy a case of wine untasted on the recommendation of a certain friend of mine who is in the wine/food industry, but that is based on years of experience. On the other hand, I recall an allegedly professional restaurant reviewer whose tastes I could never trust if this person was reviewing anything even faintly “exotic” (Japanese, Thai, even Spanish food)…it was beyond my comprehension how this person ever got the job when this person admitted to disliking raw fish or meat, could not tolerate heat (spiciness), and didn’t drink anything except white wine.

    On a similar note, there is a lot of chatter going on about the recent demise of Gourmet magazine. I was crushed to hear of it, as I am a third-generation subscriber (my grandmother subscribed way back at the beginning). Conde Nast has decided to keep Bon Appetit but to close down Gourmet, and I think that is telling. What a shame…while there are aspects of the “old” Gourmet I liked, as well as aspects of the “new” Gourmet, there have always been contributions from good writers and challenges to the serious cook. I read comments from some that Gourmet never had recipes they would cook, or focussed too much on expensive/hard to get ingredients, but I did not find that to be true…some of my staple recipes are from Gourmet and many are based on pretty everyday ingredients. But I guess there are those who prefer Bon Appetit to Gourmet (I am not one of them).

    PS
    If you have not read the books on the creativity process and food and reviewing by Dornenburg and Page (Culinary Artistry, Becoming a Chef, Dining Out), I highly recommend them. It is especially interesting from the viewpoint of American restaurants right now.

    Oct 15, 2009 | 2:22 am

     
  33. Marketman says:

    kurzhaar, you are absolutely correct in that it takes time to find the folks whose recommendations jive with one’s own. Taste is subjective to some degree, of course. And yes, when you find someone who “agrees” or is “in sync”…then it’s easiest to trust them. As for Gourmet Magazine, I am indeed upset, and it is a telling clue as to where the American consumer/diner/cook/advertiser are all headed. Bummer.

    Oct 15, 2009 | 8:59 am

     
  34. kurzhaar says:

    I was out for dinner tonight (oysters, braised snails on roasted cauliflower puree, duck confit) with friends and we were bemoaning the loss of Gourmet. When I got home I got around to listening to this week’s episode of KCRW’s “Good Food”. It’s worth listening to: Gourmet magazine, food blogs, a snippet from Harold McGee, and a few other topics:

    http://goodfoodonkcrw.vox.com/library/post/rip-gourmet-magazine-backyard-farms-top-chef-tomato-leaves.html

    and

    http://goodfoodonkcrw.vox.com/library/post/a-death-in-the-family-gourmet-magazine.html

    Oct 15, 2009 | 2:04 pm

     
  35. Ines says:

    I just saw this review now and I have to say I agree. Ate there last week and it was such a sad, disappointing experience, especially since it was recommended by friends.
    I ordered the cha soba and found it extremely tasteless, there were ice cubes in my dipping sauce, which I have never seen before! The gyoza, though humongous, tasted more like the wrapper, and the filling lacked salt. My boyfriend’s beef teppanyaki also lacked flavor. The only saving grace was the tuna sashimi which was very fresh.
    So here is a comment a month later after your post MM, and saying that it seems things have not improved. :(
    For great Japanese, I stick to the classics: Kikufuji, Sugi, Seryna, Kai, Tsukiji…etc. These are places where you know a Japanese person is at the helm. Best Ramen I have tried so far is at Ramen Ron on Pasay Rd- I highly recommend it :)

    Nov 25, 2009 | 1:54 pm

     
  36. gwen, makati city says:

    i went there the week it opened. i loved the food. chef jayme was pleasant and answered some of my questions about the food. he seemed well versed even though he admited japanese wasn’t his forte. i love his creations. specially the foie gras with hatchimitsu glaze and the uni udon. i did enjoy the food that first time.

    last week i returened with my friends. i was looking forward to telling chef jayme my gastronomic adventures in spain and italy. we ordered the basics and some of the the creations of chef jame. to my dismay, the food has changed. i asked for chef jayme and the server said that he has resigned. that answered my question as to why the food quality has changed. the food is still good. but somehow it isn’t the same. staff is still corteous and service has improved. i hope that the new chef or who ever is in charge will follow what chef jayme has begun or even surpas what he has made in terms of creating dishes.

    i wonder what chef hayme is up to. but i sure can’t wait to try his cooking again.

    i think maket man is right about what hes said…..

    Dec 17, 2009 | 5:21 pm

     
  37. scramoodles says:

    @Marketman – Why do you refrain from ordering Gindara? It’s one of my favorite fish! I have almost always eaten it everyday at a small homey eatery in Los Banos. Here in Manila, however, I never found fresh Gindara in wet markets and the frozen ones are always so expensive (unlike the affordable Gindara steaks I usually had back in Laguna). I was just wondering, why don’t you order it anymore? Mercury poisoning? Gindara’s declining population? Please shed light. Thanks

    Apr 4, 2010 | 3:33 pm

     
  38. Marketman says:

    scramoodles, the reason I caution against Gindara is that there is a LOT of substandard “counterfeit” gindara served in restaurants, both locally and abroad. True Gindara is known as black cod or sablefish and only caught in the Pacific Northwest, preferably by sustainable methods that include line and hook and the use of trawlers. The finest gindara are kept as fresh as possible and often end up in Japan to be served raw as sushi. Only when the fish doesn’s pass the sushi test does it then get grilled… However, worse than getting bad Gindara, several restaurants and establishments, simply outright substitute a lesser quality fish known as Escolar or even “local gindara” in it’s place, and if not properly prepped, this can lead to stomach problems, or if not that bad, just seriously oily poop! So when I don’t know much about the restaurant, I tend not to order Gindara as I am sceptical that it is the real thing indeed. In Manila, there are only one or two restaurants I would order Gindara on a regular basis such as Tsukiji, and I can assure you they charge FAR MORE than most neightborhood Japanese restaurants claiming to to serving Gindara… And according to my googling, it isn’t at risk for high Mercury. And they are starting to farm it, but to some controversy.

    P.S. If you are buying “fresh” gindara that hasn’t been frozen in Laguna, then it probably isn’t real Gindara, which is imported from the U.S. or through Japan. Note cautionary tales on how to eat Escolar without getting sick or upsetting your stomach in the second link above.

    Apr 4, 2010 | 3:56 pm

     
  39. Dorothy says:

    Wanted to keep this a secret but I had to share. I love love the food in 7rin Shichirin Yakiniku Restaurant on Kamagong Street, Makati. Although their known for yakiniku, their ramen is to die for! I’ve been a regular for two years. The place is not fancy and the prices are reasonable. Mostly Japanese expats eat there and is highly recommended in a Japanese website http://4travel.jp/overseas/area/asia/philippines/manila/tips/10152509/

    Aug 18, 2010 | 5:35 pm

     
 

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