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Archive for April 15th, 2007

dAn $80 seven course tasting menu for $55 ?  Count me in!

Eva and I couldn’t pass up this good dinner deal in the West Village.  We had 7PM reservations for Chanto and I guess it was still considered pretty early, because I was surprised to see so few people there.  While the restaurant seems small because all you see are the tables in the back and the mezzanine, there are actually a few levels to Chanto.  There’s even a designated fine dining room.  The restaurant has a full bar with a large lounge in the front, which probably means it gets to be pretty crowded on Saturday nights.  The decor and furniture are mostly deep reds and black, giving off a very intimate vibe.

chanto outside chanto bar

 Course 1: Fatty Tuna Carpaccio with a ginger sauce and watercress salad.  The fatty tuna was delicious – it was so .. smooth, it just sides down my throat!  The color of the tuna is really good too – it definitely has that vibrant zebra pattern, though you can’t see it too well here.

tuna carpacio

Course 2: Tebagyo- chicken wing filled with pork gyoza stuffing marinated in teriyaki sauce with Chinese broccoli on the side.  Teriyaki sauce is probably one of my favorite sauces- it’s like soy sauce, only better!  And you can put it on virtually anything, and is especially yummy on those greens.  I tend to be really good about my veggies and don’t eat them with any type of sauce, but this teriyaki/choy combo may be deadly.  Also, chicken wings stuffed with pork?  Wow- who thought of that idea?  Soo clever!  The flavor of the pork is preserved inside the chicken and the chicken itself was good because of the teriyaki.  This goes to show that you can make a dumpling out of anything.   

pork stuffed chicken wingchanto- pork chicken wing inside

Course 3: Sauteed miso marinated black cod- sake kasu sauce garnished with sake plum and watercress salad.  I was a fan of the fish, but not so much the sauce.  I’m not sure which element of the sauce my palate didn’t appreciate, but the favor just didn’t do it for me – it was a bit on the tangy side.  The fish was succulent and flavorful all by itself. 

chanto- miso cod

Course 4: Hashiyasume/Intermezzo: yuzu sorbet.  This more or less tastes like plain yogurt with its hint of sourness- but different.  The flavor needs a little getting used to in the beginning; it’s like nothing I’ve ever tried before.  But I think plain yogurt is probably the easiest way to explain this in both terms of flavor and texture. 

sorbet

Course 5: Specially aged charcoal grilled sirloin- served with jyaga butter wasabi soy sauce.  It seems to be a Japanese twist to the classic American potato and meat dish- but taste-wise, it just wasn’t very inventive.  The meat was cooked medium rare [on their suggestion] and was a little tough and meaty tasting for me.  The soy sauce didn’t go well with the steak because it was just too salty- I did like the large grain salt they provided- it didn’t take over the taste of the beef completely. 

chanto sirloin

Course 6: Omakase nigiri sushi.  Nigiri pieces were good, but what stood out for my friend and I were the tuna sushi pieces- they were sooo soft and flavorful, they kind of just melted in our mouths.

chef's choice sushi

Course 7: Chanto chocolate fondant with green tea ice cream.  If I was a chocolate lover, I would probably trip over myself in chocolatety happiness with this cake.  It’s rich molten chocolate on the inside and chocolate cake on the outside – with ice cream on the side- how can one go wrong with that?!  I certainly wasn’t going to let this go to waste – I mixed each spoonful of chocolate with some greentea to take out some of the sweetness just so I could tolerate this massive amount of chocolate.  In the end, I didn’t finish the cake, but I did manage to eat a good chunk of it.  The green tea ice cream was great though- it has a very strong green tea flavor.   

molten chocoo cake molten choco lava

One of my favorite things about Chanto is the plates that they use.  All the China were beautifully and intricately decorated, giving it a very classy feel.  Before Japanese Restaurant Week, I didn’t even know Chanto existed and I’ve been in the neighborhood before.  I’m glad I discovered this place and would definitely come here again.  They do seafood, regular entrees, and desserts well.

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