The nine-floor ride in a claustrophobic, battered elevator is well worth it: The doors open to Kondo, a Zen-calm dining room of muted tans and blond cedar presided over by fry master Fumio Kondo, revered for his secret-recipe batter. The chef dips a series of fresh vegetables and fish into polished bronze woks filled with roiling sesame oil; unblemished stalks of asparagus, fresh ginger buds, whole pink shrimp, and tiny goby fish all get the hot flash. One seasonal specialty is smoky shiitake mushrooms, farm-raised on cedar logs. For a finale, ask for the shredded carrot, inspired by a spun-sugar dome the chef tasted at one of Pierre Hermé’s patisseries in Paris.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.