Posted 13 April 2005 - 10:00 PM
I've been going back to VivreManger's post a few times wondering if I should say something and how to say it. Well, I'm reckless enough that I will post something, even if it's controversial. At least I've had a month to figure out what bothers me about Hiroshi's place, which is certainly fine dining, even if I don't care for it.
Nanette and I decided not to go back. I'm thinking that it is probably because we were compensated well in Japan and learned the various traditions, rituals and the art of different cuisines. We ate at the best eel joints, the kind you need an introduction from someone more important than yourself, to get into, and also neighborhood yakitori dives. And that probably explains my reaction to the fusion cuisine at Hiroshi's. We were also exposed to different cuisines in other Asian countries we visited, even if we can't now tell anyone much about them because we can't remember all the names and places and things we enjoyed. I mean to say that the names in the different Chinese dialects didn't stay with me, and I didn't pull out my notepad to write things down...
In a way, I found the tampering with the food at Hiroshi's to be almost alarming. I didn't put it in words, but if I have to now, I'd say that too much tradition had been abandoned, leaving me wanting the dish done, well, "right". There's such a pressure in fusion cuisine to depart from customs that have been preserved, for good reason, for a long time, even unto the hundreds of years. This is my personal reaction. A person who did not have my experiences would also not have my prejudices. It's just me, I admit it. And yes, I know I'm living in Hawaii now, not in an idyllic past life in Japan. I know, I know.
My meal at Hiroshi's simply made me want to get back to Japan when I can, and to savor the ingredients prepared in those places that have survived for perhaps hundreds of years because they know how to cut the ingredients, the order of serving and the temperature they should be served at, the art of applying the appropriate technique or preparation to the ingredients, even the appropriate vessel to present the dish to the diner. Not that food doesn't evolve, of course it does. But I'm not used to it going crazy. It's supposed to behave!
That may be part of it. Another part was that we felt that there was competition in the plate, some of the ingredients were fighting with each other, not cooperating.
So there, I've said it. Most people will greatly enjoy their dining experience at Hiroshi's, but I won't be going back. <sigh> I think I'll start saving for that eel joint in Akasaka, if I can ever figure out how to get an invite to it again.