Treat your taste buds with teppanyaki: Yamanami
A Japanese open kitchen concept, teppanyaki is an art of cooking that builds anticipation and excitement for the foods on the iron griddle. Competition among teppanyaki restaurants is fierce, and I’ve eaten my way through the city to bring you two of the best teppanyaki spots in town. Trust me, you’ll want to lick the plates clean when you’re done.
A meal here begins with an amuse-bouche: a petite cube of spinach cake, an appetizer display of botan ebi (botan shrimp) on a slice of sudachi, tuna laid over a single shiso leaf, and buri (yellowtail) on a heap of grated daikon and yuzu. The taste highlights the freshness of the seafood, patted down with a tinge of unexpected umami. Infiltrated by miso, salt and nori, the signature ise ebi (Japanese spiny lobster) is fired up on the griddle to a lushness that commands attention. Then there are seasonal vegetables, grilled with the faintest touch of salt and pepper that leaves their natural flavors and textures barely tempered. They are brought into focus with house-made sauces such as daidai (a bittersweet Japanese orange) in ponzu.
For the highlight of the meal, the chef recommends Kobe beef. The meat is seared just short of tender with a variety of Japanese seasonings. They know their place and work simply to deepen the natural flavors of the meat without eclipsing it. Kobe beef sirloin is marbled with fat to the point of extreme sweetness, shattering and sinking under the teeth. I am recommended a French red with opening scents of licorice and a finish of orange peel. It cuts through the fattiness of the meat while further emphasizing and suffusing its beefy sweetness. It is sheer pleasure, and the tenderloin is no different—a leaner version of its cousin, both served alongside garlic rice with crisp bits infused with wok hei (Cantonese: “breath of the wok”) flavors the way paella is with socarrat.
A space of darkness and wine overlooking the city’s skyscrapers, aromatic with mouthwatering grilled meats, Yamanami is the kind of place you’ll want to return to time and time again.