Yoji Tokuyoshi news: great menu and a renewed location

The Japanese chef unveils his new dishes in Milan, renovations are coming up, and soon there’ll be a food curator

18-01-2018

Lingua & coda: one of Yoji Tokuyoshi’s new dishes at the restaurant named after him in Milan (photo Tanio Liotta)

Photogallery

The tasting at Tokuyoshi’s begins with Lacrime di verdura, mottainai broth, which is the Japanese to say “what a waste”, more or less. It’s made with vegetable scraps, infused for 48 hours. It’s delicious. The first tasting – the photos are by Tanio Liotta – is the sweet and savoury Crostatina di melanzane alla parmigiana
Pianta & radici, scampi in tempura with vegetal carbon
Sicilian cannoli filled with creamed salted cod
Pizza Anna, a light version of pizza capricciosa, to share: the base is made with puffed rice, then tomato sauce, wafers of Parmigiano, cooked ham, mortadella, capers, anchovies and fried artichokes. Paired with a broth of capers

It may sound crazy, but Yoji Tokuyoshi is (also) a sort of contemporary Aimo Moroni, just to give a Milanese reference. Not in terms of style and dishes, of course: they couldn’t be more different. But in the approach to raw materials, in the curiosity with which he explores Italy’s gastronomic heritage. Except that, contrary to Aimo, he does so with very different eyes – and spectacles, strictly round: the eyes that come from his Japanese origins. This is the base for his approach, which is also influenced by the essential training with Massimo Bottura and all this may imply.

In this sense, Tokuyoshi – regarding whom opinions strongly differ. And we, just to make it clear, really appreciate him – is a very important resource for Italian food: because he’s almost full time committed in listening to our gastronomic soul, and then interpret it, change it in his very “fusion” personal interpretation. A difficult, ambitious road, full of adversities, which don’t stop the chef however as he looks for his personal vision of signature cuisine.

A memorable photo of Massimo Bottura and Yoji Tokuyoshi, when the latter was sous chef at Osteria Francescana

A memorable photo of Massimo Bottura and Yoji Tokuyoshi, when the latter was sous chef at Osteria Francescana

The fact this is the road clear in his mind, is confirmed by what he told us recently, at the end of a great dinner at his restaurant: «I’ll soon have a “food curator”. A new idea. I think it will be necessary: a cook who can work for me, and have a specific task. He’ll have to travel around the country in search for the best food, the perfect suppliers of products that are impossible to find. Hence the need for a specific role». Yoji is already dreaming of sending this person to Sicily, Sardinia, and then the rest of the country, which is a treasure chest often still awaiting the arrival of its Livingstone. «In a few years’ time this experience may become a book». And what a book!

A pizza carton box is served...

A pizza carton box is served...

... hiding a fake pizza made with puffed rice

... hiding a fake pizza made with puffed rice

Tokuyoshi’s projects are both concrete and dreamful. He’s already explaining how he’ll host two fishermen straight from Japan, in April and May, because he cooks, surely, but he also observes the different culinary cultures and studies their meeting. And then in July and August he’ll travel around the world, visiting many restaurants for as many four-handed dinner events.

Tokuyoshi making babà

Tokuyoshi making babà

His restaurant in Via San Calocero will be closed. In fact, it will be a working site: «We will renovate it completely». A great open view kitchen will become its heart, in the middle. It will replace the stations used for cold preparations and for finishing the dishes; around, lots of stools where one can snack, looking at the kitchen, while the real tables will be placed to form two “Ls” that meet at one end. The entire space will grow longer and larger. In the end they’ll seat 10 more people, by adding some square metres now occupied by the entrance; the latter will be moved to the opposite side. «Green will still be the main colour. It’s my favourite. I’m keeping it».

He’s also keeping some intuitions that characterise dining at his restaurant: broth, often vegetal, paired with the courses; the often monochromatic and very detailed appearance of the dishes, as in the photo opening this piece, Lingua & coda. He adds more structure, which recalls the initial gamble: the “pure Tokuyoshi style” of which we spoke little over a year ago, is making its way, convincingly so. (Our dinner in the photo gallery by Tanio Liotta).
Translated by Slawka G. Scarso


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Photogallery

The tasting at Tokuyoshi’s begins with Lacrime di verdura, mottainai broth, which is the Japanese to say “what a waste”, more or less. It’s made with vegetable scraps, infused for 48 hours. It’s delicious. The first tasting – the photos are by Tanio Liotta – is the sweet and savoury Crostatina di melanzane alla parmigiana
Pianta & radici, scampi in tempura with vegetal carbon
Sicilian cannoli filled with creamed salted cod
Pizza Anna, a light version of pizza capricciosa, to share: the base is made with puffed rice, then tomato sauce, wafers of Parmigiano, cooked ham, mortadella, capers, anchovies and fried artichokes. Paired with a broth of capers
Tanti cilindri: scallops, roots, Breton sea urchins, plankton, black cabbage, carrot, cherries, peach, radish, nasturtium, fermented carrot juice... A fantastic, very elegant dish
Da leccarsi le dita: delicious eel rolled in panko, Japanese Amakusa salt (very mineral), pepper. You dip it in furikake sauce, made with fish and capon stock, with pepper from Makuaw, Taiwan, very citrusy
Ginger beer and lemon grass to cleanse the palate
Tagliatelle, lardo di wagyu di Kyoto, foglia di pomodoro: homemade tagliatelle made with lard from Japanese beef prepared by Tokuyoshi according to Italian tradition and matured 2 months, then bergamot and Parmigiano. Paired with Via Emilia broth, with capon, crust of Parmigiano, prosciutto and mortadella
Lingua & coda: veal tongue and monkfish, seasoned sauces made with their respective jus, the latter adding some tomato water, plus turnip tops and broth of capers
Deer fillet from Zivieri, purée of purple potatoes, leek, black truffle from the Apennine. The meat is glazed in mottainai broth and teriaki. Paired with a broth of red fruits and beetroot. A great dish
Mallard with its civet, rhubarb leaves, sea asparagus and crispy rice with saffron (pan fried). Absolutely delicious
Mallard liver on crispy chips and civet sauce. Paired with lentil broth