There is no other restaurant in the world that I know as intimately as Taian Table. From that first encounter in 2016, two months into the restaurant’s life, through dozens of visits stretching over the next three years, Taian Table steadily grew to be my favorite restaurant in Shanghai. And if the past, entirely unexpected 17 months of working with the team have changed my view in any way, it is only to offer new perspectives and insights into this restaurant that I have loved from the first.
Located at a quiet, secluded address that is only disclosed upon reservation, Taian Table is one of Shanghai’s hottest restaurants, with a Michelin star under its belt less than 6 months after it served up its first dish. As the restaurant comes upon its tenth menu, I spoke with Stefan and Jeno about what the restaurant means to them, their journey over the past year, and their views on Shanghai’s dining scene.
Taian Table and Bo Shanghai, two of the most formidable players on Shanghai’s dining scene, joined forces to present a four hands dinner for two nights. With five dishes from each team, the two restaurants managed to unite two distinct visions and styles of cooking into an engaging and surprisingly coherent dinner.
There are tasting menus that make you wish for a bed to fall into, followed by a glass of detox juice in the morning. Ishikawa’s made me feel more awake, the food so expressive that I felt like they were drawing me into a conversation.
It is rare to have the chance to watch a restaurant find its voice and grow into its ambitions. When that happens, the experience can be fantastic and thrilling. I found that thrill at Taian Table. Over the nine months since it opened, it has been a pleasure watching the evolution of each menu, and seeing the restaurant get into its rhythm.
There are probably few other restaurants in the world that dedicate their attention as unwaveringly to seafood as chef Kotaro Meguro’s Abysse in Tokyo. The 30-year-old chef forgoes meat dishes entirely on his menu, turning an unwavering focus to the fruits of the ocean.
On Cosme’s one-page menu, guacamole is exiled to the lower left corner, while tacos and quesadillas are banished off the sheet entirely. That alone should tell you that Cosme is not your average Mexican restaurant.
New York as a city is hard to define. New York as a school of cuisine is practically non-existent.
Enter Contra, a deeply personal vision of two young chefs, whose style of cooking manages to capture New York’s identity: modern, opinionated, and expressive, with a kind of elegant efficiency and practicality that only New York can pull off.
Over the course of an evening at Florilège, I witnessed a truly fearsome combination in Chef Kawate’s cooking: a clear and precise vision of what each of his plates is meant to evoke in us, an astute understanding of what flavors to call upon to evoke those feelings, and the impeccable skills to make each of those flavors do exactly what he tells them.
Tucked away in a quiet alley in the busy Ginza area, Tempura Fukamachi is one of Tokyo’s best tempura restaurants. What it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up in spades with flavor.