A Yen For Eating Zen
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