On December 15, 2016 I was treated to my first Michelin Star restaurant. Michelin Stars are a prestigious restaurant rating system from the famed “Michelin Guide”. Anonymous inspectors dine at these restaurants and review if they are worthy of the accolade.
Having been recommended by Anthony Bourdain, Jewel Bako lives up to its brilliance. Hidden in the heart of East Village, the intimate and elegant restaurant was a warm refuge from winters bite. The ambiance was traditionally Japanese with bamboo finishes offset with mirrored glass giving it a contemporary touch.
Since I was embarking on a 2 week trip to Chile for the holidays, my boyfriend and I celebrated with a bottle of unfiltered sake,SHIRAKAWAGO SASANIGORI, recommended by our server. The milky wine is served chilled and has a silky finish of coconut,vanilla, and cream.
As we enjoyed some Sake and defrosted a bit, the chef delivered a complimentary “amuse bouche” of delicious premium Blue Fin Tuna topped with Tobiko (flying fish roe), spicy aioli over crispy rice. The subtle sweetness of the tuna and slight crunch of the rice made for a mouth-watering starter. It was a bite that I hoped never ended!
For the main course and the main reason we chose Jewel Bako was for their acclaimed seasonal Spiny Lobster dish. It is only served until early March and you must call before to notify you will be ordering it to give them time to prepare. In true Michelin fashion, the server brought out the live lobster to us for approval. It was pretty massive and got me very excited!
After about 20 minutes, I was impressed with the server who presented us with fresh grated wasabi followed by the lobster with its tail filled with fresh lobster sashimi. When they mention “live” I did see its antennae move a bit…It is not for the faint of heart, but the flavor was out of this world.
We decided to follow-up with the Chef Sushi Omakase that was a myriad of eel, mackerel, salmon, Toro, and a spicy tuna roll. The cuts of fish were so fresh and bursting with flavor, it was hard to share, haha.
So here is the kicker, the second part of the Spiny Lobster dish. The chef takes the remaining part of the head and legs and makes a miso soup. The aroma of the miso infused with lobster essence brought any miso soup I’ve had to another level. If I told you I didn’t try to scavenge for lobster meat and possibly suck on the legs, I’d be lying.
All in all, it was the most lovely experience. Chef Mitsunori Isoda has created an amazing traditional sushi experience with a modern twist. If the Live Lobster is a not for you, their selection of sushi and sashimi is world-class. Jewel Bako is perfect for celebrating special occasions or if you want to treat yourself to a Michelin experience.