Take a detour out of the Manhattan borough for an evening and cross the bridge into Brooklyn. In the heart of the Williamsburg area, you’ll find Zenkichi Modern Japanese Brasserie. It was opened in 2006 by a homesick Tokyo native.
This is an authentic experience that will take you beyond the sushi and yakitori. It’s sure to top any dinner you’ll try on your trip.
Only true New Yorkers will know how to find it. It’s hidden behind an unidentifying door with just a few light fixtures out front. You won’t find any signs outside.
Once you step inside, the lighting is dim and you’ll walk down a narrow bamboo hallway.
From there, you’ll be seated inside an intimate, wooden booth with a curtain.
Your server will greet you with a moist towel and to wipe your hands. There are plenty of drink choices on the menu. From Japanese beers to saki flights, anything you could possibly want is on their list.
The saki flights come in two different pairings: The basic and premium.
On the basic menu, you’ll find a trio of the following:
- Tai Hei Kai, which has a slight kick to it and pairs well with seafood
- Suigei, that’s also known as the “drunken whale” and has a smoother, sweeter taste
- Urakasumi Junmai, which is smooth and tastes fresh and crisp
On the premium menu, you find the following trio:
- Dewa Sansan, that has a hint of melon to it. It’s smooth and is infused with green apples
- Seikyou “Marboroshi” is a little sweeter than the Dewa and you can taste the apple yeast
- Kokuryu Gonyahu Mangoku has a caramel hint to it. This is the clear winner of the flight with a bolder taste than the others
Once you have your drinks ordered, try one of their appetizers. The night we were there, we were surprised with a chef’s selection of appetizers. These change daily. Be prepared for a surprise if you order it because you never know what you’ll get.
Japanese eggplant with Japanese ginger is on the left, a fish cake with a Brussels sprout is in the center and a jelly creation resting on top of a sea scallop is on the right. All three were delicious and well seasoned. They each complimented each other and layered the flavors as you progressed through all three.
Everything here is served in petite portions. Ordering several plates to share with your party is definitely the way to go.
Next up, was the Raw Jewel of the Day. That evening, there was a trio of sashimi fish; salmon, tuna and yellowtail. Everything was so fresh and top grade. This had to have been one of the table’s favorites.
The Filet Mignon Tataki was out of this world. The garlic ginger soy sauce served with it was the perfect blend of tangy and sweet.
This is different from any filet mignon you might order at an American steakhouse. This cut was served over rice noodles and was prepared medium-well. It’s a must-order if you stop in.
The Japanese Chicken Meatball isn’t your average Italian meatball either. It’s served in a “ktana” style bamboo sword. It was brought out and presented on this special paddle.
It came with a poached egg sauce. the chicken was full of flavor and felt like refreshing spin on a typical meatball.
Next was the cod. It was very good. The buttery, smooth flavor of garlic and pepper really made this dish. The filets were filling and the perfect size.
It was time to move on to dessert! First up, was the Frozen Black Sesame Mousse. It’s as decadent as it sounds. The mousse is served in a small ramekin and topped with a sesame wafer. It was the perfect sweet treat after such a filling meal.
For safe measure, we tried one more dessert. The Walnut Chocolate Pudding was layer upon layer of flavor. The combination of walnuts and chocolate were a match made in heaven. It was a blend of richness and bold flavors that left you satisfied.
This was more than a dinner, it was a dining experience. If you’re in this area of Brooklyn, definitely add it to your list of places to stop in. You won’t regret it!
For More Information:
Modern Japanese Brasserie
77 N 6th St.