I wanted to give this Japanese restaurant on the Easter Island a try since I started to plan my trip to the island. For those who want the full story made short: it is definitively a must if you are on the island.
Here is the full story. First of all it is not a sushi based japanese restaurant, and this is a good news. In Europe and in the US we are full of sushi restaurants and the repetitively of their menus is very annoying to me.
I strongly recommend you to follow the advices on the door, the most important being: follow chef’s advices. He knows perfectly the different combination of tastes you will find in the cooked dishes and this is definitely more than you can simply infer from the name of the dish on the list. Another (personal) suggestion: avoid cola or other soft drinks, the dishes you can find at Kotaro fit best with a hot green tea.
Let’s come to the dishes now. After a five minutes conversation with the chef I was suggested to go for the white fish cooked in a reduction of miso soup. The sauce obtained from this reduction is reasonably salty but sweet at the same time and gives the fish a strong taste on the surface that perfectly averages with the less tasty inside. The result is delicious. All the main dishes are served with a miso soup (very good, forget the one you may know from crap the japanese restaurants mentioned above), rice and vegetables. Moreover the menu includes a small appetizer made of raw fish (sushi indeed) in a sour sauce. The only (very minor) negative comment is about this sauce which was too sour to me, but maybe it is just my opinion.
Then, since I was very hungry (I haven’t had lunch that day) I asked something more. Again the chef showed up with a full set of suggestions and we decided to go for the grilled beef. It was a piece of beef cooked with a very tiny amount of sauces. Indeed it was almost a plain grilled beef. It was served on a (very) hot pan that positively impressed me. I have seen mean served on hot pans or hot rocks any times but usually the pan is just warm and cools down after a minute. This was so hot that, although being placed on a dish, it warmed-up the wood of the table. The beef was came with a very nice and tasty sauce and it was up to you to decide the amount of sauce you want to put on the meat. I have tried plain slices and others full sunk into the sauce. Both impressed my positively.
Finally let’s come to the prices and the atmosphere. The environment is very nice, it seems to be in the kitchen of a private house and it has been fully handmade. The music is great, I appreciated all the tracks (and this is a rarity), most of all a couple of tracks by the air supply.
The prices are not high at all for the island. I have payed a similar amount for a grilled slice of tuna in a restaurant downtown, and they are on average similar of those of a good japanese restaurant in Europe. Moreover, in the bill I haven’t found the two green teas I have drunk and they do not charge the 10% tip as the other places on the island.
I rank this place among the best 5% of those I have ever been in my life and 2nd among the japanese restaurants I have ever tried. On the island I think this restaurant scores a rank 1 in ex-aequo with te moana. Given the completely different kind of food they propose it would be unfair to rank one higher than the other.
In the end I wanted to share this impressions with the chef but he was no longer in the kitchen when I was about to leave. I am sure he will read this lines.
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