We last visited Kyotofu in the spring with a meal of five sweets, the Dessert Kaiseki. Today we're back, this time for the $15 Bento Box Omakase. The lunch omakase varies daily, but always begins with your choice of a soup or salad. I'd opt for the soup, as the salad is pedestrian tossed greens with ginger-carrot dressing, but the soup, always vibrant and fresh, changes with the season. Currently on the menu is a Kabocha Soup, speckled with salted and toasted squash seeds. More light than creamy, it was to be a sweet, lifting start to the bento omakase to come.
Dive for the little scoop of housemade fresh tofu first, soft and silken, a textural wonder with a single streak of dark soy. EN Japanese Brasserie makes my favorite fresh tofu in the city, but Kyotofu's version is a excellent contender. Moving clockwise, there's a dainty assortment of Japanese pickles and steamed rice scented with citrus and a surprisingly heavy hand of dill. A stout and juicy quartet of Japanese Berkshire pork sausages offered a meaty, gratifying kick of fat. Next up are cuts of barbecued unagi with sansho peppers, tightly wrapped in phyllo dough and glazed with sweet kabayaki sauce. The chicken tsukune meatballs are a classic at Kyotofu; they're made with both chicken and tofu, resulting in an unusually light, fluffy and creamy bite.
If you particularly enjoy any one component of the omakase, note that most are featured as a main entree. Berkshire sausages come tucked in puff pastry with spicy mustard as Pigs in a Duvet ($10), the chicken and tofu tsukune is recreated as a burger ($13) in a brioche bun, and the barbecued unagi in phyllo is also offered as an entree sized potion for $11.
And don't forget! One cup of soymilk soft-serve on your way out. Flavors change frequently and if Pumpkin Spice Soft Serve is still on the menu, it would be a shame to do without.
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