30 Hudson St., at Duane St.; 212-791-3771
Among the delicacies that fall under the heading of mushimono (steamed dishes) in Japanese cuisine, the egg custard called chawanmushi is by far the most popular, especially among children. These junior-league foodies must have sophisticated palates, judging by the version of the dish on offer at Brushstroke, the Tribeca collaboration between David Bouley and Osaka’s Tsuji Culinary Institute. The chawanmushi in question is made by combining eggs with dashi and soy and straining the mixture to within an inch of its life. Then it’s steamed to some mysterious point between liquid and solid to achieve a texture that makes panna cotta, soft tofu, and, say, flan look like a bunch of amateurs. Depending on his mood, chef Isao Yamada tops this silky concoction with either Dungeness crab, seared foie gras, or uni, and serves it in the traditional teacup. It’s hot and jiggly and seems vaguely illicit. You wonder whether it ought to come with at least a PG-13 rating.
Adam Platt on Brushstroke
From the 2012 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine