Berlin’s best Sushi? Maybe…
Zenkichi is a rare New York import to the Berlin dining scene, and though it was not a name I was familiar with despite being well-versed in the sushi scene of NYC, it seemed like the perfect spot for celebrations.
The dinner was off to a rocky start when we arrived and were told our table was not ready, and were asked to join a veritable crowd of other waiting groups in the lounge. Soon enough we were led to our table with many an apology from the sweet staff.
Menus in hand, we plumped for a ‘Short Course’ menu, as well as ordering a few seemingly irresistible items from the main menu (along of course with some Sake – and having had Sake twice in my life I shall not be critiquing our choice).
Fist up was a pretty standard Miso Soup (not pictured), followed by something more interesting, the ‘chilled plate’.
This completely Insta-worthy board included the Sashimi of the day (crap I forgot what it was!), a simple oyster fresh from France, a DIVINE Hokkaido scallop in the most addictive of sauce, and house-made black sesame Tofu rolled in spicy miso. This board was pretty much the highlight of the meal, I’ll already say it. Everything was completely fresh, and devoid of any scent of actual seafood. The flavours added were delicate enough to not overpower the quality of the underlying produce.
To compliment, we ordered ‘Maguro Carpaccio’ – tuna sashimi, with green yuzu pepper sauce. This was pretty great. The tuna was a brilliant hue of red, and the citrus of the Yuzu sauce was an ideal compliment. Though I must admit, the presentation was NOT so insta-worthy and for a restaurant of this level, the flavours were slightly on the simple side.
Moving on to mains, there’s a lot to talk about. I’ll say it right now – the Grilled Saikyo Black Cod in Miso was not great. The fish simply was not fresh , and the presence of miso was not so detectable. Zenkichi have no excuse, as I already named Tausend Cantina’s verison of the dish one of the best things to eat in Berlin.
The Apple-Fed Pork Kakuni noodles were fine, though the egg was slightly unnecessary and the meat lacked the ideal rendering of fat that pork belly requires (in my opinion).
When I saw ‘Shrimp & Camembert Corn Tempura’ as an option on the menu I was sold. It was good too, though I’m not sure why they arrived cut in half as this chilled them rapidly. The green you see is Matcha (concentrated green tea powder) salt – it was amazing.
You’ll see in the corner there the Rocksalt Jidori Chicken – which was fine but could have been better – though a further helping of Yuzu Pepper sauce (appearing differently from the way it was served with the Tuna) was a good addition.
Dessert really ended this great meal on a high note – the frozen black sesame mousse was essentially ice cream but not – and delicious.
A slightly lesser competitor on the menu was the Mineoka Tofu Milk pudding with Azuki red beans & strawberries – which despite it’s indulgent title, resembled something creamy and vanilla rich with some strawberries. It was still nice though.
Although the service was rocky at times, the food more than made up for it, and the pricing – though expensive – was not poor value. The set up of the restaurant is also very cool, every table is a private booth with retractable blinds – creating what feels like a very dignified and mysterious atmosphere.
WHAT TO KNOW
They don’t serve wine – sake/sake cocktails are your only option.
Zenkichi, Johannisstraße 20, 10117 Berlin, 030 24630810