Arriving at the New York Grill Bar on the 52nd floor of the Park Hyatt Tokyo in one of the busiest parts of Tokyo, I get a small hint of how Bob Harris must have felt when he entered the bar on his first trip to Tokyo. Bob Harris, of course, is the fictional character from Lost in Translation played by Bill Murray.
The place is an oasis and refuge for any guest looking to escape the intensity of Tokyo for just a bit. Western familiarity, yet with the sophistication and service you would expect of a flagship hotel of the Hyatt Group – with a view to match.
However, I wasn’t there to have a whisky at the bar at wee hours as Bob Harris did in the movie. I was there by invitation from Park Hyatt Tokyo for a special course menu featuring sustainable Canadian lobster – a special treat before the restaurant prepares itself for a heartier flavored menu at year-end.
Following Proper Safety Protocols First
Out of the elevator, I am greeted by the headwaiter and his staff who kindly introduces me to the safety and hygiene measures the hotel has implemented since the outbreak of Covid-19. A complimentary mask holder, besides the usual safety routine, are all part of an elaborate process to assure guests of a sheltered, yet enjoyable and relaxing atmosphere.
On the way to our table, we pass the kitchen, where a bustling atmosphere of diligently working cooks and waiters is matched by a stunning view of Shinjuku’s night skyline. I literally have trouble focusing on either side as I am overwhelmed by both sights.
At the table, I am greeted by Chef Paul Gajewski, a native of Australia, who took over the position of head chef at the Park Hyatt from November 2019. He described the evening’s course in detail, his various drink recommendations, and the whole idea behind a sustainable lobster menu.
Introducing the Sustainable Lobster Specialty Course
According to the chef, this particular menu is not only to showcase sustainable lobster, but a higher initiative globally: “To source sustainably and responsibly for future generations to come to enjoy these ingredients. The main theme is to preserve what we have, and to underline that we practice what we preach.”
The lobster itself comes alive from Canada, which has a long track record of sustainable lobster farming. Park Hyatt has been using this particular product for a long time, which is regarded by restaurant guests for its consistent quality.
Traditionally, lobster is a year-round dish – however, the chef explained “…we are going to move into richer dishes by the end of November. We are in autumn now, so we still have some beautiful vegetables to play with to accentuate the sweetness of the lobster. Moving into the cooler months, we will start to develop richer flavors.” In any case, a great treat not only for seafood loving guests, but for anyone with a taste for fresh lobster enjoyable in a sustainable way.
The Full Course at Park Hyatt Tokyo
We started with a lobster toast in a gribiche sauce accompanied by a glass of Champagne. Next came lobster ballotine, paired with pickled radish and a citrus-marinated Hokkaido scallop garnished with Kaviari caviar, all in an avocado coriander dressing. The freshly baked bread from the hotel’s own bakery with their homemade, slightly salted butter rounded out the first two appetizers.
We continued with a sizeable peeled lobster claw coupled with a salmon ravioli sautéed swiss chard and sorrel in a sauce américaine. We changed from Champagne to a glass of white wine that also matched perfectly with the course’s signature dish, the very celebrated lobster tail, with asparagus, baby turnip, heirloom carrots, and romanesco broccoli in a lobster mousse.
To prepare us for the grand finale, we were served Aperol spritz granité and blood orange sorbet. Our wine also changed from white to red wine. A great choice by the waiter was a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that would match perfectly the outstanding grilled A5 Miyagi Sendai sirloin in a shiitake mushroom purée, accompanied with Japanese chestnuts in a red wine swauce sprinkled with plenty of truffle flakes. Of course, on request, there is always the option for more truffle. The restaurant is happy to oblige.
Room for Dessert
Finally, we were served unshu mandarin orange mousse, mascarpone vanilla cream Valrhona white chocolate in an orange passion fruit sauce. This was the perfect dessert to finish an excellent course of sustainable lobster, first-grade beef and a drink menu to dream of.
If it weren’t for all the calories I gained that evening, I would almost feel good about myself – doing my part for a more sustainable way of dining and the preservation of these delicacies for generations to come. At least, I didn’t feel “lost in translation” as I already planned my next visit to the New York Grill restaurant.
The Sustainable Lobster Specialty Course is offered until November 28, 2020, at the Park Hyatt Tokyo New York Grill. For reservations and inquiries, call New York Grill TEL 03-5323-3458 or visit their website for online reservations. For more information on the menu, visit here.
First published at TokyoWeekender.com