Yes, I know. Another Japanese restaurant in Beaune, you say.
Why ? Well, it is light, digestible, and a bit of variety never hurts. And I think Pinot Noir goes well with a lot of Japanese food. Because of all the bitterness and aromatic spice.
After driving by Sushikai for years, I finally stopped there. It wasn’t that I hadn’t wanted to go in the past. But something always happened to get in the way. Either it was closed when I could go, or the people I was with did not want to eat Japanese. Always something.
Owned by the chef of the Charlemagne (in Pernand Vergeleses) and his Japanese wife, this place has a pretty good deal on lunch and had very quick service.
The amuse bouche was brilliant: simple, inexpensive ingredients and, most importantly, delicious. Radish with chicken liver. A marriage of bitternesses. Refreshingly crunchy from the radish juxtaposed with the creamy gaminess of liver.
The Ravioli d’escargots de Bourgogne comme un shumai, consommé de volaille was great. You get your escargots ‘cause your in Burgundy, après tout, but you can actually taste them. Taste the earthiness of them. Because they are not drowning in invasive garlic and parsley. Excellent and quite creative.
The Poulet Fermier en Yakitori was superb. It is a dish than can be vulgar and too sweet. But this was not. The chicken was fatty enough to put up with that kind of cooking without becoming too dry and the sauce very balanced.
Pink grapefruit and jasmine jelly was a perfect palate cleansing finish to the meal. Refreshingly floral and light.
Presentations at this place are really top notch. Not surprising. If you’ve been to the Charlemagne, you’ll know that this chef is really into his presentations of things.
A couple of disappointing things about Sushikai. The sushi itself was nothing to write home about: a little dry and tough. And the wine list was not very exciting. Which is especially disappointing in Burgundy.
We had a hard time finding something we wanted to drink on the wine list. We decided on a 2003 Gevrey Chambertin from Domaine Humbert Frères. At first, it showed good florality and relatively smooth tannins. But almost immediately, it lost all its balance and cohearance.Very soon it tasted like a pile of autumn leaves that had gotten wet. Bitter tannins and no fruit. This was the first time I’ve experienced a 2003 that is in such decline-with so little resistance to air. We almost ordered something else. Just to have a little pleasure. But we decided to stay fresh for the afternoon.
I’d go back. Especially for the tasty, affordable luncheon menu with fast service. But it definitely doesn’t have the home-authentic feel that Bissoh has. And the wine list a Bissoh is much more fun.