Italian and Japanese in Fukuoka

Italian and Japanese in Fukuoka


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:

Posted by Harris Salat in Fukuoka | Permalink | Comments (2) | Email | Print

Comments (2)

Omoshiroii. I would really like to see more exploration of this "Japanese-Italian Cuisine" phenomenon. In NY, there used to be a place called "J-Pasta" where I first tasted Spaghetti w/Uni and cod roe and now "Basta Pasta" is dedicated to Nihon-Japaanese. Some of the best Italian cuisine outside of Italy is found in Japan, with its Nihon twist (and small portions!) Never made it to "Il Ghiattone" in Kyoto, where Nishiki Market meets Rialto Mercado, but dying to try that place out or its Tokyo outpost: Someone should write a cookbook on Itaria-Ryori, Nihon Style...
Hi--I don't even remember how I stumbled onto your blog--maybe it was when I was Googling Japanese vegetable seeds, but I have enjoyed it immensely ever since I found it. I'm Japanese, living and working in the US--but before I moved here to go to college I lived in Dusseldorf, (then) West Germany. My parents and I, having lived in Milan Italy for 4 years, were shocked to find that German cuisine (a whole national cuisine!) was nothing to write home about, and always marveled that the best rated restaurants in Dusseldorf were: Japanese and Italian. Specifically, in fact, the Japanese restaurant in the Nikko Hotel. So the fact that Yosuke worked at the Nikko hotel makes me smile. And although I think London gives Tokyo a good run for its money when it comes to great Italian restaurants, there isn't much to be said for British-Italian fusion cuisine. I really envy you your time apprenticing at Japanese restaurants ... Please keep reporting out so the rest of us can experience this vicariously.

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