The Secret Ingredient
“What keeps bringing me back to El Secreto is that the food and atmosphere are a surprise every time. It’s never the same, ”said Amanda Diem, a Faena Rose member enjoying a 16-course omakase tasting menu at the six-seat onyx and gold-leaf bar.
Chef Reiji Yoshizawa turns to his Filipino-Japanese roots and international culinary experience to put his own unique stamp on El Secreto’s speakeasy omakase experience, which features fresh fish flown in from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market several times weekly and domestic fish sourced from the Gulf of Maine including the Mere Point Oysters and bluefin tuna.
"Most omakases are predictable—you know what will happen step-by-step if you’ve already been once. Here, it’s completely unpredictable”.
“The last time I was here, the oyster was my favorite dish. It was deliciously crunchy with crispy prosciutto,” explained Diem. “Tonight, it had a soft texture, but it was exploding with flavor in a totally different direction, and I enjoyed them both equally.”
Her husband, Oleg Koltunov, pored over the virtues of Chef Yoshizawa’s Medai (Japanese Butterfish) with lemon and miso garlic. “If I close my eyes, I would think I’m eating a smokey chargrilled A5 Wagyu filet, but it’s fish. It is so rich and unexpected.”
The menu kicks off with an all-new amuse bouche of grilled peaches, Burrata espuma, smoked trout roe and shiso. “This dish has an international mix of flavors and the caviar pops in your mouth. The peaches weren’t overly sweet, they added a hint of delicate flavor and texture without overpowering the pungent smokiness of the trout caviar, which bursts with flavor,” explained Diem.
Other new additions include the shima aji (striped jack), buro (Filipino fermented rice) and tomato confit, as well as the takoashi (giant octopus) cooked in squid ink adobo sauce, garlic aioli, and crispy quinoa. “It’s a Filipino style bite that’s very garlicky, and on the sour and salty side with a nice crunch,” said Chef Yoshizawa.
“I’m toying with the idea of making the new King Crab dish with smoked butter and Japanese lime a menu staple. For now, that will remain a secret,” Chef Yoshizawa said with a sly smile