In Adam Sachs' article, "Kyoto Obsession," he points out that the difference between store bought and homemade Kyoto style tofu is like the difference between chalk and cheese. Having had homemade tofu on my last trip to New York, I knew what he meant. And thus, I catapulted Kami into checking out Hibino with me in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn. Ironically, though, what I loved most about this meal wasn't the homemade tofu, but the spectacular sushi. But more on that soon.
We began our meal with an obanzai, or Kyoto-homestyle dishes. In this case it was a light and flavorful yuzu ohitashi. Baanched spinach wrapped around thin shreds of carrots, Hakusai cabbage, eringi mushrooms. The yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit brightened the dish.
Next, the homemade tofu, served warm in an adorable container. We scooped up the custardy goodness with fresh grated ginger, sliced scallions and sweet-salty dashi. It was good. Don't get me wrong. Next, we each had a salad, both consisting of mesclun mixed tossed with onion-soy dressing. Kami's featured seared tuna, while mine had ribbon like slices of yellow tail.
Then, an unusual dish listed as Shrimp Toji Maki or Kyoto style shrimp roll. It was the thinnest yuba (or tofu skin) wrapped around layers of plump shrimp and then fried lightly.
The highlight, though, was Kyoto style Hako sushi (pictured at the top of this post.). The fluffy sushi rice was pressed and layered with honey-like kanpyo and shiso-leaf, a unique herb tasting like a cross between a sour plum, basil and mint. Layered on top were thin slices of buttery salmon. And, finally, on top of that were jewels of barely coated in Hishiho miso. It was unlike any sushi I have ever had.
We ended the meal with two desserts. Kami chose the green tea ice cream, while I continued my night of soy by having homemade chilled soy pudding. It was creamy and cold, but I wasn't licking the spoon. Instead I was longing for more Hako-Sushi!
Hibino, 333 Henry Street, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, New York