We were recently in NYC for a multi-birthday celebration, and had the opportunity to have dinner at Kajitsu. It’s a vegan (at least for dinner) Japanese restaurant that does multi-course meals based on a Japanese culinary tradition originated from Zen Budhism called shojin.
The menu changes constantly to use ingredients that are in season and is inspired by the time of the year, festivals and other Japanese traditions. When we were there it was late autumn, so all the dishes were based around fall ingredients. They also offer an extra sake pairing combo, with sake varieties chosen to match each dish.
They say on their website that they hope that a visit to the restaurant will always be a special occasion to the guests. It definitely was for us. I should mention that the meal price is very steep, which would contribute — at least for us — to making Kajitsu a place to go on very special occasions indeed…
They do have a total package, though. The restaurant’s ambiance is great, the dishes’ presentation is fantastic and they are delicious. They’re very attentive to the guests, and make sure to explain everything about the dishes as they are served, so you can understand the tradition and reason behind why and how each dish is prepared and served. The only problem at our table was that a couple people wouldn’t shut up and kept talking while the server was trying to do his explanation, requiring constant shushing. Pro-tip: You’ll gain a lot more enjoyment from — and appreciation for — your meal if you listen to your server.
Here are some pictures of the dishes and the menu. Sorry for the quality of some of them, they were taken using phones and the lighting, while appropriate for the ambiance, wasn’t great for pictures. The 3 birthday persons at our table also got an extra dessert, not listed on the menu.
We had a great time and enjoyed the food immensely. If you’re looking for a place for a really nice dinner experience on a special occasion, give them a try.