Amazing Japanese food with a modern twist.
Located in Downtown Manhattan, Kaikagetsu is the newest addition to the many restaurants located in the area. Taking inspirations from the Hida region in Japan, Kaikagetsu takes authentic Japanese cuisine and brings it to the streets of New York City.
We tried the Getsu tasting menu which includes 5 different appetizers, 5 kinds of sashimi, a grilled dish, a simmered dish, a fried dish, a rice dish, a sushi dish, and 3 kinds of dessert all paired with a carefully selected sake. This course looks intimidating and seems like a lot of food (because it is) but picking one of the tasting courses was a great decision. The great thing about Japanese food is that it isn’t too heavy so you don’t get full until the very end. It was a great experience understanding all the of the different flavors and techniques that go into Japanese food as well as seeing some of the modern twists that Kaikagetsu takes. And since there was so much food, we will be touching upon some of the highest points of the meal (there weren’t really any low points).
For the appetizer course, our favorites were the duck with Japanese leek, the sweet potato jelly, the pumpkin with red miso. The duck was very tender and the leek was a great pairing with it. It had a great savory taste when you first try it and as you continue eating you get this kick at the end to finish it off. The duck was tender and the leek gives a great contrast in texture so every bite doesn’t feel the same. The next one was the sweet potato jelly. Sweet potato anything will be my favorite, but this dish was very interesting. The jelly had a very smooth texture that you could just suck right into your mouth. But what was the most surprising thing was how authentic and prominent the sweet potato flavor was in this jelly. The sweetness was not muddled at all and if nobody told me it was sweet potato before, one bite would have been enough for me to guess it. The pumpkin with red miso was one of our favorites too. The pumpkin sweetness was there, but not too in your face with the sweetness. The miso paired extremely well with it because the savoriness of it balances out the natural sweetness from the pumpkin.
Our next favorites were a part of the sashimi course. We loved the oyster, the sea urchin uni, and the fried shrimp head. The oyster was amazing. It had a great natural salinity to it which is something I love about oysters. It was paired with some seaweed so there was a nice crunch with it that paired nicely with it. The sea urchin uni was great. It was airy and light but had the great natural sweetness that sea urchin has. And lastly was the fried shrimp head. I will say, looking at this was a little scary. The eyes were still attached and so I did hesitate in eating it for a moment. But taking that first bite was something else. The initial crunch when you take that first bite was a great start. And as you continue to eat it you get this subtle saltiness to it that really takes it to the next level. For something so intimidating to look at, it packs a lot of flavor so suck it up and take that bite.
Next up is the Miyazaki beef broth shabu. If you have never had this before, it is essentially an open flame heating up this broth. You are supposed to dip in the beef for a few seconds to let it cook and then pair it with soy sauce. The beef that came with it was so fresh and nice that I had a piece raw and it was delicious. The broth itself was packed with this umami flavor and really accentuates the savoriness from the beef. It was also fun to see the open flame and cook the food yourself. I would come back just to do this part again.
The fried dish is next and that dish was the snow crab cream croquettes paired with a red ginger mushroom tomato sauce. The croquette itself was great. It had a great, brown exterior and when I tapped it, the inside felt light and airy. As I cut it open with my fork, the crab looked so juicy and moist. When I took a bite of this the first thing I got was the initial crunch from the fried exterior. And as I kept eating I got to that sweet, moist crab that paired well with the fried part of it. The tomato sauce had a subtle sweetness to it that really helped brighten up the dish and take the crab’s natural sweetness and bring it to the next level.
And lastly, who could forget about dessert? Our favorites from the dessert course was the soy milk cheesecake and the chestnut jelly. The cheesecake itself was creamy but not too sweet. It melted in your mouth as you take each bite. It was paired with a berry compote which added not only sweetness to the dish but some acidity which helped brighten the dish and its creaminess. The chestnut jelly was moist and not overtly sweet which we liked. The fact that these desserts weren’t too sweet was much appreciated because it felt like it added that final note to help balance this amazing meal.
Kaikagetsu is definitely a place to go to if you want an authentic Japanese meal with some twists. The meal was so great and well thought out. It was a lot of fun to explore all these flavor profiles and get a taste of authentic Japanese cuisine.