Category Archives: Japanese

Sticks of Bliss: Maison-Yaki delivers big flavors in bite-size portions

My only two regrets of my visit at Olmsted’s Japanese-French spinoff Maison-Yaki is passing on the chawanmushi and resisting the urge to order two of everything. 

I kept staring at the menu and contemplating if we should order the chawanmushi even after we—my son and I—ordered the bulk of our meal: 

• tempura frog legs—the melt-in-your-mouth miracle. The frog legs are delicate, buttery, savory and unforgettable. Served piping hot with a tasty green dipping sauce. This dish is a reason of its own to visit this yaki-topia. Any picky eater will love frog legs the way mine does.

• king trumpet mushrooms—Pick this plate to indulge in pleasantly chewy and satisfying mushrooms served with a diced sweet peppers and tomatoes sauce. Not sure if these mushrooms are the ones grown in house but they probably are!

• lobster & sauce americaine—Divine. A lobster patty that’s been fried and skewered then drenched in a savory sauce. We ate this all too fast.

• chicken breast and sauce allemande—Very good! Cooked perfectly and retained a good amount of moisture. 

• duck a l’orange—I loved this fatty piece of caramelized duck but the sauce was the brilliance of this particular plate. A mini egg yolk posed in the middle of an orange sauce waiting to be mixed. The end result was a luscious, creamy crave-worthy dressing.

• lamb leg & herbes de provence—Gamey, medium on the inside and roasted/grilled on the outside lamb with a light herby sauce. We loved it.

The plates came out fast and not in any order. Maison Yaki doesn’t course, so you get what you get when you get it. I loved this philosophy. It was so refreshing, like every plate that came out was a burst of surprises. Lots of flavor, lots of juicy meats and lots of French sauces that hit the spot. We surprisingly felt full. Each skewer is only two bites but the flavor was amazing. Next time we’ll need 2 (or 3) orders of frog legs. 

After all of that goodness, I was still thinking about ordering the chawanmushi until my son insisted on ordering dessert. After weighing our options, we decided that we’d get the Japanese cheesecake this visit—my son promised the wait staff, the manager and the other patrons that we’d be back next week. He gets carried away about great food like his mom. 

The cheesecake was a cloud. We found ourselves floating on air while eating it, it’s so light and fluffy. The best I’ve tasted, hands down. And it’s served with plums that thankfully, tasted like tart, saucy cherries. A flawless end to a flawless meal. 

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Chawanmushi: The Japanese Custard that French Chefs Love

I’ve got a plan. My plan is to find the best Chawanmushi in Brooklyn. Hopefully, it will be as good as or maybe even better than my memory of the egg custard with mushrooms, aka Porcini Flan, that I devoured at Bouley years ago.

It was decadent, silky and almost too easy to inhale in one truffle-loving moment. I adored it so much that most of my lengthy Yelp review of Bouley was about the magic that I tasted in the French chef’s nod to the ever-incredible Japanese Chawanmushi.

In order to fully appreciate the flan, the amazing French waiter instructed me to uncover the ramekin and lightly wave the lid back and forth to completely enjoy the aromas of the dish. Truffles never smelled so phenomenal.

Chawanmushi is traditionally prepared with soy sauce, dashi, mirin, ginkgo, shiitake mushrooms, other widely-used Asian veggies, and occasionally, boiled shrimp.

No wonder the French seem to love it. To me, it tasted mild but rich, complex and earthy, and had the rare ability to appeal to most of tastebuds. There’s just something about that cream, egg and mushroom combo that never fails to amaze and satisfy me—I love mushroom and runny egg on pizza too.

Surprise, Surprise. I can’t seem to find any Brooklyn French bistros that serve Chawanmushi. But I will visit the few Brooklyn Japanese restos on the following list, that serve traditional Chawanmushi—some with seafood, yum!

Sushi Lin
335 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11217

https://www.sushilinny.com

Shalom Japan
310 S 4th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

http://shalomjapannyc.com

Geido
331 Flatbush Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217

https://www.yelp.com/biz/geido-brooklyn?osq=chawanmushi

Wassan Brooklyn
440 Bergen Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

http://wasan-ny.com

Okonomi
150 Ainslie Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211