Friday Food Porn: In the Future, We Will All Eat Lasers

Photo courtesy Joshua Huston

And if not lasers, then what we eat will be beyond cuisine, beyond borders, beyond the traditional definitions of French food or Japanese food or Spanish food or even fusions of the three.

That's what this week's review of Japonessa is all about: the future. Because while I don't think that Japonessa is consciously trying to bend the underlying architecture of food and move us into a post-cuisine kind of world, I can see the potential for that in the strange, nameless fusion that they present. And not only that, but the food is delicious.

Photo courtesy Joshua Huston

"Reading the board, it seems, at a quick glance, completely Japanese, with vague brushes against modernity and a kind of Pac-Rim conceit. But there is more. The yellowtail comes mounded with pico de gallo and wetted with a chile-and-citrus soy sauce that actually makes it taste more Mexican than Spanish; the ahi tartare (which, really, is French in its basic conception), with an international whirlwind of balsamic soy vinegar, yuzu, and oranges. The octopus is actually listed on the menu as pulpo--a nice nod to its Spanish origins--but then comes dressed in cilantro oil and a roasted tomato-and-lime mignonette, tasting kind of like an octopus taco without the shell, or some failed, midnight notion written down in José Andrés' dream journal but then abandoned in the light of day."

Photo courtesy Joshua Huston

"Every time I found myself in this dining room, there seemed to be a different gestalt understanding of what constituted an appetizer, an amuse, a snack, or a main. The menu is no help, divided as it is into Raw Bar, Kitchen, Soups, Salads, and then sushi upon sushi upon sushi. Inasmuch as there is no cuisine at Japonessa to get in the way of the food, neither is there any order to get in the way of eating. One time, my bento-box lunch appeared alongside my Bad Boy roll (crab and more crab, avocado, and rice, tempura'd then painted with chile aioli and a soy glaze), followed by a bowl of king-crab soup, followed by an enormous plate of grilled yellowtail collar off the appetizer menu. Another evening, I ate my way through a handful of standard sashimi and handrolls, only to be presented--later, and timed as though deliberately--with my sloshing plate of tataki and then a massive bowl of udon soup brought like a dessert."

Photo courtesy Joshua Huston

"Japonessa lives in the shell of what used to be Union, the former diamond in the crown of the Ethan Stowell restaurant empire. Just to move into a location like this takes balls--like going to your wedding in a tux once worn by James Bond.

What was once a simple and rustic space is now a sleek and Spartan one: lots of black, lots of chrome, a sense of dirty futurism as glimpsed through a pair of 1980s glasses, complete with thumping house music and a crowd that skews as young and sleek as the fixtures. Japonessa does a good business at lunch. At dinner, it fills early and remains that way late--the floor a vivid example of Brownian motion as described by the comings and goings of suits, Italian shoes, fancy purses, and yuppie-punk haircuts."

You can check out the full review of Japonessa right here. And for more pretty pictures of pretty people eating pretty food, click on through to the full slideshow over here.

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