The dish started with the familiar: a comforting crunch and a flavor not entirely unlike that of French fries. But that didn’t last long. As my teeth sank into the interior, I became lost. Was it meaty or crunchy? It wasn’t either, but rather somewhere in between. I couldn’t quite pinpoint either the flavor or the texture. Then I recognized the bits of green powder on the plate: that was the rich, aromatic, earthy and ethereal flavor of matcha. Then, with one hit of salt it suddenly all made sense. The world was back in balance.
That lotus root tempura with matcha and salt at Kokoro Restaurant (3298 Greyling Drive Ste. B) in Serra Mesa was just a single dish in the middle of Chef “Taisho” Akio Ishito’s omakase menu. It was neither the meal’s first delicious bite nor its fantastic sushi finale. It was, rather, just one dish somewhere in the middle. And yet it captured the omakase’s essence: simple, surprising and subtly seductive precision and perfection.