I've been to Amsterdam 11 times and never thought the city was known for their true culinary experience. That changed on December 23, 2012 when I went to Okura Hotel to eat the Sazanka - Teppenyaki Restaurant!
Sitting at the Grill (all foods are cooked in front of you, with the exceptions of chef's starter and desserts) wondering how everything was going to pan out? Just to give you a little background in my taste, live in New York City and have attended some of the best restaurants such as Per Se, 11 Madison Park, Le Bernadin, and so on. My favorite japanese restaurant in NYC is Sushi Seki (must eat at the sushi bar). Last, but not least - Went to Japan this year for the 1st time!
The chef at our grill was Y. Tamura. She has been working at Sazanka for 8 years. Have to say, it was a pleasure watching her work the grill with 8 people surrounding her. I ended up ordering the Sazanka Seasonal Menu (7 courses meal) with Sake pairing.
Started off with a chef's starter (salmon with tapioca style) that was nice to start off with. Now come the main dinner.
For Your Information (FYI), the chef will show you each course up close before preparing.
1) Aonori Tempura of sweet bread, with seasonal vegetables marinated in Ponzu. Sake pairing - Okunomatsu Shuzo, Fukushima Perfecture (location or area where the sake came from), Japan
I never go out of my way for Sweet Bread, however this was absolutely delicious. Very delicate and sweet tasting. Okunomatsu Shuzo Sake was a sparkling, bubbly, yet subtle sweetness to offset the sweet bread. Delicious!
2) Sea Salt crusted sea bass with leek and Yuzu sauce. Sake pairing - w/ Oze no Yukidoke Yuzu-lemon she, Gunma Perfecture, Japan.
Have to say I was blown away by this preparation (and the sake, of course). The Sea Bass get cooked on the grill with thick amount of Egg White and Sea Salt on top. After a few minutes, The Egg White and Sea Salt got hardened to a point where the chef turned over and used it as a base for the meal. When the egg white was turned over, the chef stripped the skin off of the sea bass and used it to make crispy skin! The final prep was adding Leek to the top and crispy skin on the top side of the hardened Egg White and Sea Salt. The Sake had a wonderful flavor of bubbly lemon. The Lemon taste offset the sea salt and the combination of both the fish and sake was absolutely perfect!
3) Fresh half lobster and mussels with a spicy Miso sauce. Sake pairing - Kotori no Saezuri, Saltama Perfecture, Japan.
Another great dish! I'm going to run out of ideas what to say because literally all of the food and sake pairing were that good!
4) Thinly sliced US Beef with Oyster, Teriyaki sauce and Oba leaf. Sake pairing - Taru Sake, Kyoto Perfecture, Japan.
Think of the beef as Shabu Shabu. Very thinly slices of beef wrapped around the oysters. OMG, I never thought the Beef and Oyster would go hand in hand! This was good as it get!! Again, the sake was a nice smooth flavor to go along with the beef and oysters. Yummy!
5) US Black Angus beef fillet. Fried Rice, seasonal vegetables, seasonal sauce, Japanese pickles and Kizami salad. Sake pairing - Horin, Kyoto Perfecture, Japan (plus a bonus Red Wine of Tommasi - the connoisseur figured that I would appreciate more taste of sake and wine).
I could have chosen the Kobe beef for an extra 49 Euro, however I was pleasantly happy with the US Black Angus beef fillet. The beef was so tender, that I barely had to use my knife to cut the meat. The fried rice was amazing, one of the best I've ever had. The 2 drinks - Horin sake and Tommasi wine was both nice and dry plus very smooth. Another great combinations!
6) Seasonal pre-dessert was delicious - and can't describe it :( It was a light soft cream with a breaded pounded cake (not really a pound cake, but something similar).
7) Finger of dark Varlhona chocolate and sesame with soya milk sorbet. Sake pairing - Ume genshu Shirakaga, Gunma Perfecture, Japan
Very rich chocolate cake offset by a nice soya milk sorbet (literally tasted like ice cream). The sake was very sweet and was perfect for the dessert!
All in all, this was one of the best meals I've ever had! I'll be back! Thank you very much to Sander (connoisseur), Nonaka (waiter) and Y. Tamura (chef) for an unbelievable experience!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.