Hey friends! I’m here today with a new restaurant review. While the restaurant I’m reviewing isn’t brand new, having been open for around nine months, it is new to me and I’m here to tell you about my first visit to Kuroshio.
Typically I’m quite eager to try out new restaurants as soon as they open, even though that often means enduring kinks that have yet to be ironed out, Kuroshio was a different case. Eager to open, but awaiting a liquor license, Kuroshio opened last December. I read several reviews of disappointed diners who were unaware of the lack of liquor license after their first visit. I did know about the initial lack of liquor license, per AnnArbor.com, and decided to wait to visit until I could enjoy a cocktail with my dinner.
The space has been completely transformed from its former days as Japanese steakhouse, Champion House. Now, it is rather luxurious, and features a fully-stocked bar.
The hostess seated us at her “favorite table,” featuring a fantastic view of the corner of Liberty Street and 4th Ave., which made for some pretty great people-watching.
I took advantage of Kuroshio’s liquor license and enjoyed wine with my complimentary edamame.
The space really is quite beautiful. It’s a shame that it didn’t appear to be receiving much use. We arrived at 7:00 PM with a reservation and were taken to the side room, adjacent to the room where one enters, and we were the only diners in here at first. As the evening progressed, about four other tables of diners did eventually join us in the room, which livened up the atmosphere.
Wanting to try as many dishes as possible (with our LivingSocial voucher), being the somewhat adventurous eaters we are, the huz and I split the 9-Course Prix Fixe Menu. Having eyed the menu in advance, I noticed that a reservation is necessary if one wishes to partake in the prix fixe menu, so I made sure to make a note of this in our reservation. Five- and Seven- Course Prix Fixe Menus are also available.
My favorite course was the first, which was a beautiful Seafood Salad tossed in a spicy ponzu sauce.
A beautifully presented Tuna Ceviche was featured in the second course. I love ceviches! The chef prepared two small bird’s nest-like vessels for us, and filled them with, “Diced Yellowfin tuna, avocado, jalapeño, onion, and tomato tossed with lime and avocado, jalapeño, & apple purée.” [source]
While the presentation of all the food was quite nice, to me the most beautiful, artful dish was the Yellowtail Carpaccio, featuring jalapeño, sweet mango, “drizzled with ponzu and a tangy plum reduction.” [source] It was also delicious.
The fourth course consisted of two sushi rolls. Dragon Roll:
…and a California Roll, topped with lime green tobiko.
The sushi was good, but not my favorite Ann Arbor sushi.
Sashimi is not usually “my thing.” With that said the fifth course featured four pieces of thinly sliced fresh fish selected by the chef. I liked the salmon and yellowtail, but I was not a fan of the butter fish! But again, like I said, sashimi just isn’t my thing – maybe sashimi lovers would enjoy it. (But I typically love sushi.)
After five courses of fish, I was eager to move on to a new protein, and was excited to see duck breast featured in the sixth course. The duck breast was served steamed and sliced. While I found it to be fairly tender for the most part, I’m not a big fan of the pieces of fat around the edges of each slice of duck. I prefer a more slowly cooked duck breast, which allows the fat to melt and tenderize the meat. With that said, the gravy topping the duck was INCREDIBLE! The menu indicates that the duck is marinated in a sauce made of sweet wine, light soy sauce, sake, and butter. A piece of “slightly crisped” eggplant in broth was served on the side of this duck dish, and I enjoyed it.
For course seven, we were back to fish – Chilean Sea Bass this time. The fish was cooked nicely, with a crisp bottom layer that was accented nicely by the mild sweet miso cream beneath the filet.
Accompanying the Sea Bass were carrots sautéed in a peach wine reduction. The mild sweetness of the carrots definitely brought out of the sweet flavors of the fish, but it wasn’t my favorite seafood accompaniment.
Most highly anticipated by the huz was the eighth course, featuring red meat. We fought (lovingly) over bites of the Petite Filet Mignon, prepared as requested, to a medium doneness, served with a rich, savory rosemary gravy that was to-die-for. Even better than the steak, were the incredibly flavorful button mushrooms and onions served on the other side of the plate [upper right of the picture below]. We really enjoyed this course.
We were happy to see that final course – a dessert course – was not a stingy serving! After eight courses of savory dishes, we had a serious craving for dessert.
And it did not disappoint. We were served warm Cheese Cake Tempura, a la mode. With a crispy tempura coating, and a tangy, creamy filling, this Cheese Cake was a very indulgent dessert and was gobbled it right up!
My dining companion and I:
Dinner was quite the event! It was incredibly fun spending a couple hours doing one of my very favorite activities: eating, and more specifically, trying new foods! From my descriptions above, it is evident that some courses outperformed others, but we were not served anything that we flat-out did not like. Everything tasted at least “good.” There were two standout courses, the Seafood Salad, and the Petite Filet Mignon. Everything else was fine, but just not incredible nor terribly memorable.
Though I will say, the chefs at Kuroshio can prepare a mean sauce! And by “mean,” I mean incredibly delicious. The highlight of several of our dishes (including the duck and the beef) was the incredible sauce served over it. Mad saucier skills, in the house.
The service we received was good, but lacked the maturity one might expect from such a luxurious restaurant. Our server was pleasant, accurate, and timed our nine courses quite well, but somehow just seemed to miss those small touches that take a customer service experience from good to great. With that said, the service was never pretentious, so I do appreciate the down-to-earth quality of our server.
And finally, in terms of atmosphere, the space is obviously beautiful, and also quite romantic, but lacked liveliness.
And those are my thoughts on Kuroshio, based on my first experience!