back to 15 East
I was thrilled to see that 15 East was packed last night. There is no doubt that the pains of the economy are slowly starting to trickle into the restaurant industry. Places aren't as packed and reservations aren't showing up. It not only freaks out the owner, it freaks out the patrons.
Marco, who owns 15 East and Tocqueville, was there last night. He is such a nice guy. We let him plan our meal and the sake too. We ate and drank for hours. Good company and good food…you can't go wrong.
I do not remember the sakes we drank but I do remember that we drank more than necessary. There were four of us. We started with a small tasting of mushrooms. Simple and just something to get the juices flowing. Next plate out was a mixture of appetizers. 2 small slices of poached octopus that is served with large pieces of salt to dip in to. A good combo. I love the salt. You can order that on the menu which I believe we have done a variety of times. With this he served us a small cup of roe that had been marinated in a house soy sauce. Really interesting and flavorful and the marinate actually cut the salty flavor that usually comes with roe. With this we had a dollop of sea urchin from California. I am a huge fan of sea urchin and 15 East always gets really fresh fish and when it comes to urchin, it really needs to be fresh.
Our next round was miso soup. The soup there is really rich. It was really just a palette cleanser for me. I find that I fill up on soup and didn't want to do that. Next out a plate of sashimi. Small pieces which is all we needed. Everybody was served their own plate throughout the dinner. Each piece was flavorful and delicious. I can't recall all the types of fish we had I do remember that the kampachi was sliced in a conical shape and very thin. Really good.
Yes, we still have more coming. Next out, I believe this was next out, was a flight of tuna sushi. This was hands down my favorite. 5 or 6 pieces of tuna and each was prepared differently from searing it to marinating it to different types of tuna including toro. Each was an "oh wow".
Our next course was house-made tofu. I don't usually find this that interesting but this was really good. Warm with a custard texture with some sauce and scallions for dipping.
Last savory course was the beef. Thinly sliced pieces of room temperature rare meat with dipping sauces on the side. At this point I can't remember the sauces on the side. The meat was full of flavor and worked with all the fish we just had. Something I never order at 15 East so a treat.
At this point, and 3 bottles of sake later dessert seemed inevitable. Tempura rice pudding like risotto that had been quickly deep fried in an Asian batter. The plate seemed to be wiped clean in minutes.
We have been back several times to 15 East and will continue. Small, intimate, delicious and is always a hit. In tough times I believe people will return to places they are familiar with and know they are going to get a really delicious meal.