Nose To Tail, Leaf To Root
‘Nose-to-tail’ is fast becoming one of the most used adjectival phrases of the decade, but can it still apply when the ingredients in question are in fact in possession of neither a nose nor tail? NYC restaurant Kajitsu thinks so, and it seems they might be right, as evidenced by their surging popularity and recent relocation from an East Village basement to a Murray Hill townhouse. In three short years, the vegan Japanese diner has elevated vegetables to star status in the Zen Buddhist ‘Shojin’ style, and if their new, sleek digs are anything to go by, business is booming indeed.
Sunny, airy and fittingly minimalist, the second-floor space helmed by Chef Masato Nishihara continues to offer, as before, two monthly set menus featuring seasonal dishes prepared using all parts of the produce available (hence ‘nose-to-tail’), plus handmade noodles, gluten and rice flour-derived fu, and tempura. Expect Yomogi tofu with black sugar syrup, soy milk and sesame puree, morel mushroom sukiyaki, and Sizzled Rice Casserole with Nappa cabbage, daikon and pine nut. But if you aren’t quite ready to go all-the-way vegan, be sure to check out Kajitsu’s new spinoff called Kokage, conveniently located right downstairs, serving seafood and eggs as well as veggies. Nose-to-tail or leaf-to-root, however you describe it, it’s all good by us.