With the global recession raging, there’s only one thing a woman like me—who hates to cook, loves to eat out, and has hardworking Japanese husband vainly urging fiscal restraint on his American wife—can do. In an effort to lend my wholehearted support the Kansai restaurant scene, I’ve created my very own stimulus package, the cornerstone of which involves snookering friends into inviting me to their business dinners.
So when I learned that my best friend J had a favor to return to a colleague, a corporate charge card, and a reservation at the modern Japanese restaurant “Dynamic Kitchen & Bar Sun,” I somehow convinced her that all she was missing was me.
As we rode the elevator up to the 27th floor of Sun’s building, I promised to be on my best behavior (i.e., not to order three deserts—and only one spoon), and by floor 25, J seemed at least resigned to my company. We made our way to our table, between Sun’s huge, wall-length windows, with all the lights of Umeda twinkling beyond them, and its sleek bar that wraps around the sparklingly clean open kitchen.
I ordered a glass of cabernet (\950); J had a dry sake (\850), poured into a glass nestled in a wooden box, so the liquor ran over the sides of the glass and into the cube containing it; Y had a gin and tonic (\650). While reviewing the menu—in Japanese but with ample pictures—and deciding on a slew of Sun’s small plates, they brought us complimentary radish soup, thick and tasty, accompanied by a plate of fresh Kyoto vegetables on a bed of shaved ice with a side of salt-spiked shiso, sesame, and white miso dip. This we followed with another deliciously salty dish: earthy burdock root in a soba bean sauce.
Then came a sublime plate of grated yam potato fritters (\850), plum, moist, and crispy all at once; and a lotus root salad, combining fried and fresh slices of Japanese rancon slicked with sesame dressing (\850). Next, we ate fried tofu with boiled radish in a clear broth and slivered scallions (\950). Finally came the two large dishes: a simple grilled white seam-bream, salted and crisp-skinned (\1450) and an incredible blue cheese and minced Hokkaido beef patty wrapped in parchment paper (\1500). The waiter cut open the parchment package at the table, and we watched the steam rise up, then cut into the meaty orb, freckled with chopped scallion and hiding a hot center of melted blue cheese.
When dessert came, Okinawan molasses cake rolled with cream (\750), I kept my promise to J about being on good behavior. Inside, of course, I was fantasizing about hunching over the plate in full defensive posture and swatting my dinner companions’ hands away. But outwardly, I politely spooned modest-sized bites into my mouth, primly dapped the side of my lip, and sat back in grateful satisfaction.
Dynamic Kitchen & Bar Sun
Address & map (in Japanese) @ http://www.dynac-japan.com/sun/shop_osaka.html
Dinner: 17:00～23:00 (L.O.22:00) Sundays & Holidays:
Dinner: 17:00～22:30 (L.O.21:30)