Here are a few photos from a beautifully cooked and presented dinner I attended last night at Gramercy Tavern in celebration of one of Japan's most culturally rich areas, Ishikawa Prefecture. Hosts Michael Romano, president of culinary development for Union Square Hospitality Group and GT executive chef Michael Anthony presided over the event, held in a private room decked out to the nines by USHG's talented in-house floral designer Roberta Bendavid.
|Before guests arrive, ChefAnthony decides to preserve the moment.|
Romano, who has been given the honorary title of "Ambassador of Culture and Fine Dining" by the governor of Ishikawa Prefecture, enthusiastically discussed his Ishikawa culinary finds, especially koji, the mold-innoculated rice that is enjoying its moment in Japan, especially mixed with salt to form a kind of super-seasoning, and ishiri, an Ishikawa-made super-powered fish sauce containing pickled and fermented squid intestines. In what must have been catnip to the roomful of chefs, Romano evoked those moments "when you just need a little something to round out a dish, fill in the middle." A squirt of ishiri, he marveled, "fills up a whole flavor spectrum on your palate."