Thanks to my foodie friend Kristin, I was able to get in on a Sunday for a late lunch after months of drooling over other people’s pictures and envying their rave reviews. If you work full-time, finding a spot available on the weekends to dine can be quite a feat. Not to mention a splurge. $60 on lunch per person seems a bit insane, but the experience was worth the price tag.
We arrived at 2:00 pm for our reservation but ended up having to wait until 2:30 to be sat. Pro for diners, you aren't rushed out, con if it’s your turn you might be waiting with a stomach making velociraptor noises and scaring the people in line for coffee at Lineage.
We hovered closely as we waited our turn and once the time came we saw bright, shining, elated faces emerge from behind the sheer curtain. People literally walked through us as though they were drunk on food. Side note: Why hasn't Weird Al come out with a Beyonce parody of Drunk in Love to Drunk on Food. Get on that Al!
As they emerged one man said in a stupor, “Are you next? You are in for a real treat” as he stumbled on. We sat in the intimate area that only accommodates 7 people, so you immediately become friendly with your seat mates. One couple was celebrating their one year anniversary but were Kappo veterans and seemed to know the staff pretty well. For another couple it was their first time at Kappo and they remained pretty quiet about their excitement.
There was also a young boy, not older than 10, a self-proclaimed Sushi connoisseur, whose father was close by but not seated for the meal (they too were Kappo veterans), and one lone diner who also had been there many times before. Somehow people must have the secret password to get in on a regular basis, or perhaps more flexible schedules.
We did not wait long for our first course (out of 6) which was an appetizer plate filled with goodies.
Seared scallops with turnip puree
Foie gras with foamed radishes and rice cracker
Sashimi – Salmon and another fish I did not jot down. (I know for shame)
Oyster with Rutabaga puree
You will have to forgive my descriptions. They rattle off all the ingredients of each dish, but I certainly did not catch every item nor could I spell them all properly. I also didn't want to distract from the experience by continually asking as I typed furiously on my phone before eating each dish. Sometimes it's better to just eat and enjoy. I would actually love it if they produced menu cards with all the ingredients and where they source them from, especially since everything is as local as possible. What seemed to be the item from furthest away was still in Key West.
Back to the food, although I’m not normally a fan of Oysters and Foie Gras, that didn't stop me from devouring each item on my plate. The Salmon was most assuredly the best I've had. It was as smooth as butter. I also noticed they give you a very small amount of soy sauce, and I'm sure they do that because this fish is so good it doesn't need much else accompanying it.
It’s best to note that on Sunday’s at Kappo, you are seated to enjoy the courses presented to you. You have no say in what you eat. So if you are not adventurous or have many food allergies to worry about this is probably not the place for you to settle in for two hours.
The next course was a Miso Soup with shellfish & mushrooms. They gave it a really nice foam and it was delicious! Unlike anything I've ever had.
Next up was what could have possibly been a dessert course, but was more of a palate cleanser. Fennel, strawberry, Rutabaga with a little tempura.
This dish was great because it was light, had sweetness from the local strawberries, but the tempura gave it such a nice crunchy salty flavor.
Next up: Sweetbreads
As soon as I heard “Sweetbreads” come out of the Chef’s mouth I looked at Kristin and whispered “Isn't that cow brains". The sweet and quiet women next to me apparently heard my whisper and she agreed with a look of worry on her face.
I inspected the dish and told myself they were tater tots and dug in. This was no time to be scared. These creative geniuses hadn't steered my wrong so far.
To my delight they were really just like little fried balls of protein with nice flavor, and not all were Sweetbreads, there were some scallops in there as well, along with a nice cucumber pickle puree and tomatoes. Phew!
As we waited for our next course, everyone talked and joked with our hosts and one person commented it felt like you were in someone’s kitchen at an intimate dinner party with friends, which is exactly how it felt. The staff is so warm and laid back while still taking their culinary duties very seriously.
One of their members was going back East, and probably would not be returning, so for a brief moment we sang jokingly to her “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men as they played it on the stereo and she ran away in embarrassment. As patrons of East End walked by you could tell many of them didn’t really know what was going on and watched intently. Many asking how they could get a coveted spot to dine at Kappo.
Our last course was a simple dish of seared fresh Salmon on a bed of steamed white rice. It was presented to us, but we were told to wait until one of the chefs came by with a broth that he poured in each of our bowls.
You would think this simple dish wouldn't pack the flavor punch that it did. That’ why these people at Kappo are legit. Even the simplest dishes are powerful.
We were treated to a final dessert course of Matcha ice cream with a Macaroon and strawberries. Again, simple yet so amazing and the perfect end to great dining experience.
I would definitely say that Kappo lived up to the hype. For me, it’s more of a treat yo’self meal for special occasions, but I've been told the lunch menu is more wallet friendly and easier to get a seat.
Alas if you are looking to book your reservations, the Kappo team is headed back to Japan for the month of March for some R&D, so you will have to wait a little bit longer to get in on this great experience.
For more info click here.