A Yen For Eat­ing Zen

Where Berlin - - DINING -

Ja­panese cui­sine may be amongst the world’s most revered, but un­til re­cently, few res­tau­rants here fo­cused on fine Ja­panese din­ing, cater­ing in­stead to the masses with cheap fu­sion sushi. The open­ing of Zen­kichi in Fe­bru­ary, how­ever, ex­panded Ber­lin’s culi­nary hori­zons – and set the bar high.

Up­stairs is the cheery, sun­lit House of Small Won­der café (p. 50), run by the same hus­band-wife team as Zen­kichi. But de­scend down­wards and you’ll dis­cover a sub­ter­ranean oa­sis of Zen, a sub­dued labyrinth of ta­bles tucked away in in­ti­mate booths, sur­rounded by plenty of dark wood and bam­boo. The at­ten­tive servers are sum­moned by a press of the call but­tons lo­cated at each ta­ble.

The mis­sion of Zen­kichi is to trans­port din­ers to Tokyo for the evening, so al­though or­der­ing à la carte is an op­tion, the ad­ven­tur­ous should leave their culi­nary destiny in the chef’s hands with the eight- course menu, which means “I’ll leave it to you.” De­pend­ing on what’s in sea­son, this will trans­late into sashimi from the fresh­est fish of the day, del­i­cate home­made tofu, seared scal­lops in del­i­cate broth, grilled Alaskan cod with miso marinade, or per­fectly light tem­pura dipped in matcha green tea salt. Three dif­fer­ent sake tast­ings – ba­sic, premium, and con­nois­seur – of­fer de­li­cious insight into the wide world of fine Ja­panese spir­its. Jo­han­nis­str. 20. T: 030. 24630810. www. zen­kichi.de


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