Friday, October 24, 2014

Kaiseki in Durham: Yamazushi

Durham's Yamazushi is a tiny restaurant tucked into a Durham strip mall.  Paper covers the windows, so you can't see the diners inside.  Most nights, the place holds only six lucky guests.  A week ago, I and a few friends were a fortunate four among those six. 

Yamazushi serves a traditional kaiseki dinner, a meal characterized by seasonal ingredients and a fixed order of styles of preparation for the courses.  We enjoyed this menu on our visit. 

Click an image to see a larger version.

The atmosphere inside the small establishment is quiet, almost serene.  All of the place settings and serving dishes differ from each other, each course's dishes similar but unique; many are pieces of pottery the chef made. 

The first course, a delicate Japanese persimmon salad served in a carefully carved Japanese persimmon, was sweet and tart in different measures, a gentle but delicious introduction to the meal. 

Every bite of the next course, a sashimi selection, was also delicious.  Even the flowers were edible.

The courses continued in this vein:  stylish, attractive, and delicious. 

To the best of my knowledge, no other restaurant in the Triangle is offering this type of meal.  At $85 per person for the dinner (drinks and bottled water, if you want them, are extra, as is tea), it's not cheap, but it's also nowhere near the area's most expensive dinner.  If you like this sort of Japanese food, I highly recommend Yamazushi. 

I am already eager to return. 

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