Yosuke and Mami Kanamaru win my vote for the most adorable husband and wife chef team on planet earth. Adorable, and exceedingly talented. They run a stylish new restaurant called KASA, 13 seats with a dining counter and two tables. I discovered it, and Yosuke and Mami's fantastic cooking, during my recent stay here in Fukuoka, Japan.
Yosuke is an Italian chef who cooked at the Nikko Hotel in Dusseldorf, while Mami trained as a Japanese chef at a number of top Fukuoka restaurants. When I found that out, I asked them to cook me a dinner composed of both Italian and Japanese dishes. Naturally.
My meal progressed from a delicious amuse of octopus in tomato vinegar, sun-dried tomato puree and olive oil (his) to renkon manju, a delicate minced lotus root and bamboo shoot croquette served in dashi (hers) to fresh sardines grilled in tomato, rosemary, olive oil and salt, served with young potatoes and amazing Italian ham (his).
As I savored the sardines, I hankered for a piece of crusty bread, which was served to other diners. Why not to me, too? I found out as Mami took to the stove to create the final flourish: rice zosui, rice porridge, the shime, or finish to the meal, this one cooked with seaweed and flavored with soy sauce and fresh wasabi. Heavenly.
What I really loved about both Yosuke's Italian and Mami's contemporary Japanese cooking was their simplicity, sensitivity and delicate touch. Also, to me, Yosuke's Italian had a delightful Japanese sensibility to it, subtle cooking that also looked beautiful.
KASA is located on the ground floor in Konya building, a hip urban redevelopment project with galleries and creative companies and a couple of guest rooms for visitors (like, me), as well as a huge sign announcing "UFO parking" stenciled on the roof. Kasa's phone number is 092-986-4350. You have to try this restaurant if you're in Fukuoka.
Here are photos of dinner and the restaurant: