French-Japanese, seasonal degustation at Chijmes
Under the direction of Head Chef Takuya Yamashita who personally sources for fresh and natural ingredients, Whitegrass offers plates of French-Japanese fare. Five and eight course menus are available for dinner, along with a fine selection of wines that will encourage you to agree to the additional wine accompaniment.
The hype: The one Michelin-starred restaurant at Chijmes retains its fine dining element after reopening, but now with a menu of French-Japanese cuisine by Head Chef Takuya Yamashita.
The vibe: Surprisingly unostentatious, Whitegrass’ interior is rather casual-luxe, which makes it comfortable and not overly intimidating, unlike most other fine dining places. The use of pastel colours and archways as room dividers makes Whitegrass akin to an intimate, open-concept home with dining rooms.
The food: You’ll only find seasonal degustation menus here. For dinner, there is the 5-course ($168) dinner experience and the 8-course ($228) extravaganza. Although the 5-course will suffice, trust Chef Takuya to entice you to go for the latter with his speciality Somen and Blue Lobster dishes.
The amuse-bouche does its job, but the mains are obviously the highlights. The Stuffed Wing features a mid-joint chicken wing packed with pistachios, italian rice and Tokachi mushrooms, and sits in a broth of chicken consomme; it is as delightful as it is warm and comforting.
Like the Stuffed Wing, the Seasonal Fish is a crowd pleaser. It's a perfect hybrid of French and Japanese fare, epitomising the restaurant's concept. Bathed in a fresh and light cream sauce, accompanied by a medley of diced greens, including bamboo shoots, the amount of crunch pairs perfectly with the delicate texture of the fish.
The Murata Gyu is a good reason to choose the 8-course option. Undercutting the sweetness of the well-marbled beef slab is a good amount of sherry vinegar and asparagus.
The drinks: Wine pairing comes at a very reasonable $68 for the 5-course and $88 for the 8-course. If not, beverages like tea, coffee and sparkling water are also available.
Why you’ll be back: There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about the young chef— fitting, because he actually studied in France and mastered techniques under famed, award-winning restaurants. His artistry is one to watch, which definitely justifies many visits.