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- Revealed: This Year's James Beard Foundation Awards Restaurant and Chef Semifinalists
Because I’m still jet-lagged and living on Japanese time, here’s more from Tokyo.
My second night in Tokyo, I went to the opening of 57, courtesy of my friend Steven Hall, who’s doing their PR. The restaurant, no doubt the city’s first chop house, has a super-talented chef at the helm—Fumio Yonezawa, who is only 26 but has somehow spent four years cooking at Jean-Georges. His appealing all-American menu features dishes like root beer–braised short ribs, and excellent sides such as crisp smashed potatoes with Gorgonzola. There’s also a fab cocktail list that includes my new favorite drink: Ramune (it’s made with sake and named for its key ingredient, Ramune, which is every Japanese kid’s favorite soda, packaged in a fun bottle with a marble in it). The opening party was ridiculously fun and packed crowded with dancers who I think must have been the most elegant Harajuku girls ever, dressed in white and wrapped in Christmas lights that flickered on and off (and that thankfully didn’t electrocute them). The Japanese cocktail scene was great - more on that later.
Then I stopped eating American food and concentrated on Japanese. I did take another break, though, when we went to the acclaimed Chinese restaurant Wakiya, in Tokyo’s Akasaka ’hood (which our taxi driver couldn’t even find). If that name is at all familiar, it’s because the Japanese-born chef Yuji Wakiya is opening an outpost in the Gramercy Park Hotel—rumors say this summer, the Wakiya Tokyo manager says winter. They’re especially well known for their noodles—we had the option of spicy (very) or salty. If my meal wasn’t quite as good as I’d heard it would be, it might be because I got there late because the Tokyo Giants game we caught at the Tokyodome was just too close and exciting to walk away from.