Skip to comments.Shalom Japan: Restaurant Review
Posted on 01/31/2014 10:35:00 AM PST by nickcarraway
In a city bursting with every variety of fusion cuisine, restaurants need to be pretty crafty to come up with a truly original mashup. Enter Shalom Japan, an intriguing Williamsburg newcomer blending two seemingly mismatched cultures into one stunningly harmonious menu.
As you pass through traditional Japanese noren curtains emblazoned with the Imperial Sun overlapping a Star of David, its quickly clear that this is no garden-variety Brooklyn farm-to-tabler.
A mandatory start to your meal is the doll-sized loaf of warm braided challah ($7). Unlike Nanas, this ones dough is infused with fruity sake kasu, giving the bread a rich, funky flavor. Dab some with a bit of raisin butter, but save the rest; youll be happily dunking it the rest of your meal.
Use it to sop that glossy puddle of inky, thick black tahini beneath hefty tiles of seared Tuna Tataki ($17). It takes a moment to catch the sly reference to Semitic soul food and the telltale flavor behind hummus. The pairing is inspired, but its richness relies on the accompanying charred onion and broccoli to balance things out.
The restaurant, like virtually every dish, is a collaboration of seasoned chefs Sawako Okochi and Aaron Israel, who come from different worlds but both are fluent speakers of the language of flavor. The couple, partners in life and work, have deftly married their respective food histories as well. Case in point, their Okonomiyaki ($11), a crispy, cabbage and bacon pancake that is ubiquitous in Japan but gets a bold dose of deli DNA by substituting lightly pickled sauerkraut and shaved lambs tongue. It is a delicious and must-order umami bomb right down to the bonito flakes that flutter on top.
Tuna Tataki with Tahini at Shalom Japan in Williamsburg, Brooklyn PEARL GABEL/ NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuna Tataki with Tahini at Shalom Japan in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Lamb happily reappears as glistening, caraway-spiked barbecue ribs ($16). Throbbing with garlic and sweet soy, these fatty, meaty lollipops make lip-smacking finger food. As good as they are, their richness makes it nearly impossible to finish a plate alone. Make your tablemates and cardiologist happy. Share.
All the dishes start conceptual here, but a few ought to stay that way. Aburaage ($10), a seemingly clever repackaging of the classic Swiss peasant dish, raclette, slips melted cheese into fried tofu envelopes. The result is way too much of a good thing. Even the zesty green tomato salsa cant hold back the waves of grease that leech from these pockets.
Another work in progress is the Ankimo Terrine ($10). Using monkfish liver, a textural doppelganger for foie gras, the dish is a gorgeous illusion that fades at first bite. From a kitchen brimming with unrestrained flavor, this paté was conspicuously mute. A terrifically fresh, astringent side slaw of daikon, carrot and dill only underscores the dullness of the main player.
The restaurants signature dish, the Lox Bowl ($21), kicks standard chirashi to the curb with a hint of Yiddish. The heaping rice bowl is topped with delicate slices of house-cured lox and finished with a Sriracha and mayo crack sauce.
Your multicultural tour comes to a heart- and belly-warming end with a hefty ingot of caramel-soaked chocolate banana bread pudding ($9). This kitchen sink of sweetness is, like the lamb ribs, a challenge to tackle solo, but its sure fun trying.
The challah at Shalom Japan is as obligatory as a first course as it would be at a Rosh Hashanah meal. PEARL GABEL/ NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
The challah at Shalom Japan is as obligatory as a first course as it would be at a Rosh Hashanah meal.
Hours: Dinner: Tues.-Wed., 6 p.m.-10 p.m.; Thur.-Sat., 6 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 6 p.m.-10 p.m.; closed Mondays
Reservations: Recommended, OpenTable
Summary: A mostly harmonious, if unconventional, marriage of Jewish-Japanese with plenty of spark.
DONT MISS Sake Kasu Challah ($7); Lambs Tongue Okonomiyaki ($11); Lambs Ribs ($16); Lox Bowl ($21); Challah Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding ($9)
PASS ON Aburaage Pouches ($10); Ankimo Terrine ($10)
Go early, it can fill up later on.
$7 for a roll??? And it is mandatory?
Challah is mandatory! Once you’ve had a good one for Shabbat you’ll never think of it as mandatory again!
Half Jewish(Eurocommies) and half Japanese(check their WW II record).
Great find Grace!
Japanese Jews fascinate me!
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