Cherry Blossom Festival at Chaya Downtown
The Cherry Blossom Festival has been canceled in Little Tokyo but you still have a chance to get some cherry treats at Chaya Downtown. From now until next Friday, April 27, Chaya Downtown is offering a special menu for the Cherry Blossom Festival. The menu of 9 items features steamed dishes along with sushi dishes. There is also a dessert and two drinks inspired by cherries.
One of the table’s favorite dishes was the beef carpaccio with aged cherry balsamic. The beef went so well with the burrata and pickled cherries. We highly recommended one dish per person. This is not something you would want to share with others.
For the drinks, I tried both the Sakura Bellini and the Saketini. The Sakura Bellini was my favorite of the two. While the Saketini was beautiful, its color reminded me of a Tequila Sunrise, I found it too sweet. Though some at the table thought the opposite.
Sakura Bellini -Suijin Junmai sake, Champagne, Luxardo cherry liqueur, housemade cherry sorbet
Saketini– Kaori Junmai Ginjo sake, cherry brandy, pineapple juice, grenadine float, cherry garnish
The steamed BBQ pork buns and the Shrimp scallion dumplings reminded me of dim sum offerings. Be sure to remove the white backings from the BBQ pork buns before eating!
I didn’t know you could eat cherry tree leaves until this night. Since I love grape leaves, I thought the texture of the sakura leaves were similar, though a bit sturdier. This Sakura leaf steamed black cod was not just a pretty presentation, it was completely edible. If you like stronger fish like mackerel, give this cod dish a try. It had a similar pungency.
Next we tried some veggies. The asparagus wrapped with Angus New York steak is great for those keeping it low-carb. Love how asparagus has been making it to the spring menus.
And the farmers market kai-lan is dim sum’s veggie best friend. The Chinese broccoli was crunchy which is how I like it. Both dishes had great sauce that I suspected cherries played a part in. If you’ve been craving dim sum, you couldn’t do worse between the BBQ pork buns, dumplings and the kai-lan.
The cherry tree leaves made an appearance again with these adorable tai snapper sushi.
The other sushi option were inari stuffed with tuna, edamame and rice. These normally filling “boats” were made even more so. You could just get a couple orders of these and a cocktail and you’d have a complete meal. But I’d go with ordering more beef carpaccio.
For dessert, Executive Chef Atsushi Kenjo came up with a cherry clafouti. The French pastry is normally baked but this seemed more like a flan. The eggy richness brought me back to dim sum once more. It reminded me of Chinese egg tarts. This meal was so multicultural much like the philosophy of the restaurant.
The great thing about this meal was we could also mix and match from the regular and happy hour menus. We got the Japanese fried chicken (kaarage) and crispy Brussels Sprouts. Both are so good. I recommend the sake flight to drink. Classic gin martinis and the spiced ginger margarita are also popular choices.
One week left!
Chaya Downtown – Cherry Blossom Festival menu until April 27
525 S. Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071 — 213-236-9577
© The Minty 2012