Since the day it opened, in 2008, Kinoshita, in the Vila Nova Conceição district of São Paulo has been the talk of the town. The sushiman and part-owner is Tsuyoshi Murakami, a.k.a. Mura, and he's everything you'd NEVER expect him to be. Outrageously funny and outgoing, Mura speaks many languages, lived in the U.S., Japan and Barcelona, and prepares the absolute best tasting menus in town. He's not really a sushi-sashimi guy, and prefers to serve a very personal set of dishes, painstakingly thought out and executed, with a few sushi and sashimi thrown in for good measure.
One of my recent dinners started with a tartare of robalo, tuna and salmon – not my favourite of the night, I admit – followed by tiny mushrooms on a bed of lime and julienned okra. Then came octopus with cod roe and raw quail yolk (for adventurous foodies only) and a myriad other delectable surprises. The best was the tonkatsu made with filet mignon instead of pork, topped with foie gras.
I am a temaki fanatic, and Mura makes the best ones I've ever had, the nori impossibly crunchy. He applies the soy sauce himself, with a brush - a special shoyu, prepared in-house. Heavenly!What else? They've got a sake sommelière dressed in a kimono and pretty as a porcelain doll, Spiegelau wine glasses and other posh touches here and there.
Mura shares with Jun Sakamoto the title of best Japanese chef in town, no question.
Kinoshita: Rua Jacques Félix, 405, Vila Nova Conceição, tel. (55-11) 3849-6940
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