1088 Morton Blvd.
Kingston, NY 12401
Dinner from 4 PM
This new gem of a restaurant is going to be a little hard to find, but I promise you it’s worth the effort.
In his book Outliers, author Malcom Gladwell posited that it takes a minimum of 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at your craft. Last night as we watched our dinner plates being prepared, I calculated that in the last twenty five years the owner, Makio Idesako, has accumulated something more than 50,000 hours honing his craft, more than qualifying for the honorific, Itamae, or master chef, literally translated as “behind the board”.
Makio (Mike to his friends and the regulars) opened his first restaurant, Sastsuma – Ya, in Mamaroneck in 1989. His creations there inspired two write ups in the New York Times, and a loyal band of followers. He worked there with his wife until 2005, after which he made his first attempt at retirement. He was lured back to work by his friend, John Novi, of Depuy Canal House fame, where Makio presided over the sushi board at Amici Sushi. I met Mike a few years later working at the Bull & Buddha in Poughkeepsie, now shuttered.
His latest (and he promises his last) venture is tucked away in a hard to find strip mall on Morton Boulevard (just west of 9W in Kingston near the Red Lobster). The intimate but very comfortable space will accommodate exactly 26 diners, with five four-top tables and six seats at the sushi bar. Reservations are strongly recommended.
The restaurant’s complete menu can be found here, but the best way to experience the chef’s talents is to ask for Mike’s “Omakase”, or chef’s choice. Last night we were offered ten individual dishes. For $75 per person, you will be treated to a parade of beautifully designed dishes that incorporate many of the Japanese artistic disciplines like flower arranging, origami and painting – combining not only flavors, but textures and colors that must be savored visually first, and only then, tasted. Slowly. Last night’s dinner was a two hour affair that included not only plates of sushi and sashimi, but vegetable presentations, roasted Spanish mackerel, steamed mussels in teryaki broth, finishing with green tea and red bean ice creams nestled in a rice flour dough.
A sampling of those dishes follows:
|Baby Octopus with Grated Burdock Root & Sesame|
|Rolled Pickled Cucumber with Crab|
|Ankimo – made with monkfish liver and flying fish roe. Fantastic!|
|Two Battered Rolls – Soft Shell Crab and Shrimp|
|Classic Sushi – Tuna, Fluke, Salmon, Yellowtail, and Eel|
If you enjoy sushi, put this place on your list.
If you do stop in please let our other readers know about your visit in the comments section.