Uptown dining in seriously downtown digs
Claim to fame: The fine dining spot that doubles as a bike shop
Reason to go: Creative cuisine that won’t break the bank
To look out for: Exotic local ingredients like perecebes and blue Araucana eggs
Loud, cramped, and marvelous. Two years ago, Kan Morieda took over a bike shop, installed a tiny kitchen, and started turning out ambitiously creative food at Salmon & Trout. The makeshift, urban-cool look of the interior matches the young chef’s ballsy approach to cooking. The menu brims with eclectic insouciance: here a nod to Copenhagen, there a bit of Brooklyn swagger, pulled together with verve and plated with chopsticks on Japanese ceramics.
Morieda’s “matcha” is a verdant whip of shiso, slippery jute, and soft-shell turtle broth, brightened with ginger-like myoga and plum vinegar, the soup hides a delicious surprise of tender slices of whelk. Concealed beneath a dark veil of red shiso jelly, the smoky eggplant and conger eel purée looks imposing but tastes amazing. A bright red splatter of sauce made from beets and raspberry juice adds a touch of sauvagerie to the signature dish, a breadcrumb-crusted loin of wild venison from Yamanashi, served with bitter melon pickles scented with hops. For dessert, there’s a bountifully simple mélange of Kyoho grapes, cream, and sponge cake made with sake-kasu (Sake lees).
The drinks menu exhibits similarly peripatetic proclivities. The evening begins with a spritzy cocktail of sweet-potato shochu and bergamot from Shizuoka Prefecture. The pairing course covers natural wines from the South of France, rum from Martinique, British beer, and Japanese sake, with delectably sweet mirin (The rice-based liquor) to end the meal. The space is tight, with seven stools at the counter and six more seats at the table near the entrance. The electric bicycles hanging on the wall are more than mere decoration – they’re for sale.