It’s not often that a three Michelin star chef comes over to be the guest chef in a local hotel but for three nights (June 6-8), chef Jun Yukimura of Tokyo’s Azabu Yukimura will hold court at Yakumi, the Japanese restaurant at Solaire Resort and Casino.
At the first of three sold out dinners on Thursday night, he and his team of four prepared a kaiseki menu that featured seasonal flavors and textures. Guests enjoyed pass-around bites of tuna tartare and spheres of foie gras, the latter enveloped in a shiny, gelatinous sheath. Once placed on the tongue and pierced with one’s teeth, the goose liver flooded one’s mouth with its creamy decadence.
Dinner for 90
Yakumi and its full-sized kitchen is a far cry from Yukimura’s tiny 16-seater restaurant in Tokyo that consists of a long bar and a table for four. This time, he and his team prepared a multi-course menu for 90 diners. He had to close Azabu Yukimura while he’s away.
The chef wearing pristine kitchen whites and black sneakers with white rubber soles calmly walked around the restaurant that evening.
In an interview with Lifestyle during his initial visit last February, Yukimura said that he had wanted to open a big restaurant when he was younger. Instead he gained experience by working in big restaurants in Paris, Shanghai and Melbourne before opening Azabu Yukimura.
His aim has remained constant: to be remembered as a chef who always offers guests a unique experience. At dinner Thursday night, he did not disappoint. We started with Steamed Hokkaido sea urchin and lobster jelly followed with Bottarga powder and cold soba noodles–cold appetizers that conjured images of the sea.
Yukimura did not have a hard time sourcing ingredients as the hotel imports seafood and other supplies from Japan twice weekly. Steamed ground duck with dashi and wasabi was a hefty dumpling in eggy custard while his special seasonal appetizers and sushi consisted of bite-sized portions of grilled chicken, savory bonito, and eel rolls.
For the main course of Japanese Omi beef with tongue-tingling sansho flower pepper, Yukimura personally dipped the marbled beef in hot broth for a few seconds before placing the beef in bowls and topping it with the moss-like herbs. It was a fitting end to this dinner by a three Michelin master.
Solaire’s Culinary Masters series will continue later this year with a guest chef from Singapore.