Monday, June 9, 2014

Kessaku: Serving Japanese Masterpieces Everyday

A feast for the senses. And at Kessaku, each elegantly plated dish first feeds the eye, making each dish a visual feast. Kessaku, which means "masterpiece", perfectly describes each plate that comes out of Kessaku's kitchen. 

From sushi and sashimi to tempura, udon and teppan grilled dishes, Kessaku's elegant masterpieces are matched with a playful creativity in blending flavors, combining authenticity with a bold and inventive approach. This is evident in Kessaku's nnique sushi creations, mixing in indulgent foie gras, rich cream cheese, fruits and spicy sriracha in its wide selection.

And the masterpieces are served. Smoked Salmon Roll (P 267), flavorful salmon topped with sake togarashi and sesame seeds, sets the tone for our Kessaku experience. Subtle, fresh flavors combine with the minimalist, almost zen-like presentation, as more dishes arrive.

The sushi creations at Kessaku offer a variety of different flavors, using the freshest and premium ingredients. Managed by the same creative group behind Yumi Japanese Restaurant in Greenhills (see my previous post here at, it's not surprising that the same creative approach to sushi and sashimi is reflected in Kessaku's dishes. Like the Unagi Foie Gras Sushi and the unique sushi balls, giving Japanese classics a unique spin.

Sake Sushi Balls (P 205), salmon sushi balls with rich cream cheese and crisp salmon skin, another unique combination of flavors, with the cream cheese and crisp salmon skin adding new layers of flavor and texture.

Hot Taki (P 270), seared tuna tataki with a spicy sriracha sauce. The spicy sriracha kicks up the flavors in this dish, as the sweet and butter-like tuna tempers the heat for balance. The play on contrasting flavors comes out in this simple dish.

Rainbow Maki (P 257), a tasty blend of salmon, mackerel, and thinly sliced cucumber drizzled with a rich mango cheese sauce. And the dish is aptly named, with rich and vibrant colors paired with equally rich flavors.

Salmon Bou Maki (P 275), Norwegian salmon with avocado and cream cheese, yet another creative sushi creation. The avocado and cream cheese pairs well with the Norwegian salmon for delicate yet rich flavors. The dish includes six rolls, not four...I just couldn't help myself from grabbing a piece. Make that two.

Maki Moriawase (P 400), a sampler selection with the signature Philadelphia Roll (sushi with cream cheese), the spicy Dynamite Roll, Ebi Tempura Crunchy Roll, California Maki, and Futo Maki. It's also a great dish to sample the wide range of sushi creations at Kessaku.

Sashimi Moriawase (P 770), another impressive selection featuring salmon, tuna, crab, uni, unagi, tamago and ebi served on a bamboo mat on ice. The ice adds a cool touch to the dish, and another example of Kessaku's attention to detail, maintaining the freshness of the assorted sashimi at a constant temperature.

The flavors are fresh and clean, with just a subtle sweetness and that comforting briny hint. A little lemon, some wasabi, a cold beer...perfect.

Gyudon (P 240), premium beef on rice topped with egg and spring onions. A meal in itself, the sweet glaze on the tender beef, combined with the egg, will keep you going for more.

Shishamo (P 295), saltwater smelt lightly grilled with salt. Fresh, clean flavors, from head to tail and everything in between. The grilled smelt are also packed with fish eggs for even more flavor. It was my first time to try this dish, and that's what makes Kessaku so cool. There's always something new to discover.

Ushi Ebi Tempura Soba (P 236), chilled buckwheat noodles served with a flavorful dipping sauce and crisp tempura. The chilled noodles have a firm texture, and the dipping sauce completes the flavors. The crunchy ebi tempura adds another layer of texture to this hearty and comforting dish.

Mixed Kamameshi (P 450), a traditional Japanese kettle rice dish cooked in an iron pot with shrimps, pork, beef, and vegetables. The flavors of the various fresh toppings are slowly infused with the rice, and pairs well with Kessaku's other dishes.

Gindara Teriyaki (P 495), tender, flavorful cod with a sweet teriyaki glaze. The buttery, almost melt-in-your-mouth texture and the sweet glaze provide familiar and comforting flavors.

Tartufo Hotate (P 610), Japanese scallops with shiitake mushrooms and truffled browned butter. The nutty notes of the mushrooms and the delicate flavors of the imported scallops combine for another unique dish, and a new favorite.

Pan Seared Foie Gras (P 645), delicate duck liver on sushi rice with sweet mango puree. The sweetness of the mango puree and the indulgent richness of the foie gras combine for balanced flavors. Rich flavors, elegantly presented in true Kessaku style. This one's a winner.

Foie Gras Salad (P 365), a medley of fresh vegetables with foie gras, drizzled with a tart vinaigrette. The foie gras just adds a whole new dimension to the dish, adding a richness to the fresh greens.

Ushi Ebi Sunburst Salad (P 365), a refreshing mix of leafy vegetables, tiger prawns, nuts, and fruits in a sharp vinaigrette. The sweetness from the apples and grapes, the crisp greens and the tiger prawns really  burst with flavors in your mouth.

Chirashi (P 410), vinegared sushi rice topped with salmon, tuna, ebi, octopus, unagi, and uni, sashimi heaven in a bowl. Pure, fresh and simple flavors that remind you why you love sashimi.

Ushi Ebi Tempura (P 395/5 pcs), deicately light and crisp tempura, served with a dipping sauce. And just like Yumi Japanese Restaurant, Kessaku also serves tempura salt with lemon. I remember the first time I tried the tempura with just the tempura salt and lemon at Yumi, and the joy of discovering a new way to enjoy a classic Japanese favorite. At Kessaku, you can also have the tempura salt with lemon. The salt and lemon dip allow you to taste more of the prawn without overpowering it, while maintaining the crunch.

And there's more. Kessaku's All Day Happy Hour should keep you in the groove. Start with Kessaku's Classic Mojito...

...or the sweet Lychee Martini. Or the Classic Margarita. Unlimited. For only P 299, you can enjoy these classic cocktails Mondays to Thursdays. Not a bad deal.

Authentic flavors with a cool modern and inventive twist. Each elegantly plated for a sensory feast. And when your down south in Alabang, and you have a sudden craving for some Unagi Foie Gras Sushi or any Japanese "masterpiece", it's definitely Kessaku. Period.

Kessaku is located at the Ground Floor, Commercenter Building, Filinvest Avenue, Filinvest Alabang, Muntinlupa City or call 403-3445 for inquiries and reservations.

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