I haven't had this many people offer to be my date since I was heading into the city to review "Hamilton." I was going to Kenzo restaurant in Napa for its one-year celebration.
There's great curiosity about this mysterious place, which has rice paper coverings on the windows. This is so diners are not distracted by the outside world when they are immersed in dining in high Japanese style.
Exquisite though Kenzo is, in all details, its price ($225 per person for the kaiseki or the sushi menu, plus wine) can put it in the "I really have a reason to celebrate category."
Kenzo restaurant in Napa had already planned its first- year anniversary parties when they received another reason to celebrate: just a year after they opened on Pearl Street in Napa, they received their first Michelin star.
"A great honor," said Kenzo Tsujimoto as he and his wife, Natsuko, and their staff welcomed guests to three successive nights of parties at the Napa restaurant.
The Tsujimotos, owner of Kenzo Estates on Mount George, own restaurants in their native Japan, but had wanted to open a restaurant in Napa to share a Japanese fine dining experience with locals.
Among the guests were State Sen. Bill Dodd, Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza, who represents the 4th district where Kenzo Estate is located, and Napa Mayor Jill Techel, who thanked the Tsujimotos for bringing another star to the Napa culinary scene.
Pedroza noted that the Kenzo property escaped major damage when the October wildfires had swept over Mt. George, and joked that, "a little self interest" was involved in his pleasure that the Kenzo winery wasn't harmed.
Chef Eiji Onoyama, whose restaurant, Kikunoi, in Kyoto, Japan, has earned three Michelin stars, led a team that prepared an 11-course dinner from the Japanese tradition of kaiseki, which began with a Kuamoto Oyster with Hokkaido Salmon Roe, moved on to dishes barracuda with yuzu citrus, blue fin tuna sashimi and Satsuma Wagyu tenderloin and concluded with four desserts, including a Japanese pancake with Adjuki sweet beans. It was served with five Kenzo wines.
"It was our dream to share a truly authentic Japanese dining experience with epicureans in the Napa Valley, illuminating the beauty and tradition of our native cuisine and hospitality," the Tsujimotos said in a statement. "We humbly thank you for helping to make this past year a tremendous success."
Editor's note: This item has been revised from its original reform to correct an edit that was made in the print version but mistakenly left out of the online version.