One of my favorite dishes is their Moules Frites, the mussels within a compelling broth in which you should dip your crusty rolls. You might even just want a straw (which they actually provide for the broth in one of their Steamed Clam dishes). Their Miso Soup is one of the best I've ever had, putting to shame the thin, lackluster miso soups you find at a number of spots. Their wine list is strong on French wines, including Alsatian, and they also have a small, but well curated section of Japanese Sake. If you haven't been there yet, I highly recommend you check it out.
Earlier this week, AKA Bistro held a special popup event, Let's Talk About Sushi, a collaboration between Master Sushi Chefs Chris Chung of AKA Bistro and Youji Iwakura of Atelier Kitchen Zen. They were assisted by Assistant Sushi Chef Philip Wolfe. The dinner, which cost $98 per person, offered essentially 12 courses of food, from an amuse-bouche to dessert, and most of the courses were Sushi
There were suggested wine and Sake pairings for each dish, and if you opted for all of those pairings, it cost about another $100. However, you could also choose just a few of the pairings, each which were separately priced. Some of selections included wines and Sake that were not usually available by the glass. I opted to get a bottle of Kubota Senju Tokubetsu Honjozo Sake ($58), a clean, dry and aromatic Sake that would pair well with the various Sushi dishes.
The event was held in the main dining area and the Chefs worked at one end of the room, fully visible to all of the diners. It was fascinating to watch the intensity of the chefs as they worked, to see the care and attention that went into each dish. They seemed to be perfectionists, ensuring that each dish met their strict standards. They made sure that each piece of nigiri had the proper ratio of rice for the size and type of the topping. Both Chris and Youji bring many years of sushi experience to the table and their exquisite skills were more than evident in the dishes that we were served.
Most of the Sushi dishes were Nigiri ('hand-pressed"), seafood or other items atop vinegared rice. However, each dish was more creative than just a piece of fish atop rice, adding other flavors and textures to elevate the dish. The fish and other main toppings still were the stars of each dish, but they had costarring additions to make each bite even more compelling. The freshness and quality of the toppings were evident and not a single dish was a failure. The dinner provided plenty of diversity and complexity, and I craved seconds of all of the various dishes. I'm not even sure I could choose a single favorite from all those tasty plates.
The final dish, which I didn't get a photo, was the Dessert, the Choux à la mode, basically an ice cream puff with azuki and amazake ice cream. Sweet and creamy, with a flaky pastry shell, it was a pleasing finale to this stellar dinner.
Overall, this was a stellar dinner and each and every dish succeeded. The diversity of ingredients, textures and flavors delighted the eyes and the palate. Kudos to the chefs for all of their hard work in creating this sushi dinner. Chef Chris Chung has also told me that they will be doing another Sushi popup in the future so I strongly encourage my readers to attend the next event. And if you haven't been to AKA Bistro yet, you should also check out their usual menu.