Karai, the ultimate Nikkei cuisine in Santiago

Only 3 weeks since the opening, but the restaurant is already fantastic. It may have to do with chief Mitsuharu Tsumura spending weeks in Santiago to work on this new restaurant. Indeed about half the menu is composed of Maido‘s original dishes (Maido has just been granted the title of best restaurant in Latin America by 50 Best), while the other half is made of original creations.

No surprise for the place: it occupies previous Osaka’s spot within Santiago W hotel, so the decor looks very familiar, with the same concept of sushi bar and a cuisine. We elected the bar to enjoy the spectacle of the staff preparing the food under the supervision of the chef.

We picked up a mix of a bit of everything, original creations and Maido’s dishes, maki, tiraditos and more.

Sitting in front of the guy in charge we witnessed our plate of tiradito Usuzukuri (one of our Maido’s dish) creating bit by bit. It was nice to watch but better to taste! The mix of the fresh white fish with garlic, ponzu and rocoto was a perfect match, balanced, refreshing, with a hint of spicy. Great!IMG_20171014_133513 bis

Then came the Unagi maki, technically great with a heart made of tempora of langoustine, centolla, scallion and the toping of eel. The whole thing being linked together by a nice tare and white sesame. Not only the taste is delogthful but also the texture is super interesting. Probably the best maki I have ever tried.IMG_20171014_134411 bis

Back to Maido’s specials with the “pan con pescado” basically a sandwich made of a grilled bao (technically really good) a chicharron of white fish. Crispy and perfectly cooked. It was very good too though nothing really innovative regarding the taste. IMG_20171014_135704 bis

Finally we’ve ordered the Gindara a main dish made of black hake marinated in miso and accompanied by cream of native potatoes and a topping of almonds. The fish was barely cooked, quite a challenge in a country were every thing is by default overcooked. But it worked really great, keeping the freshness and the softness of the product, all the rest were matching and amplifying the taste. Once again, a fantastic dish!IMG_20171014_141601 bis

The portions are quite small but we would have call it a day if not by gourmandise. So we went for a dessert. It’s an ice-cream with banana and soy sauce (yes, I know what I’m talking about!) covered with horchata de arroz (a cream made of rice), then we have small pieces of raspberry and mango mochi, crunchy coconut. It’s smooth and mild, a dessert that will make you feel the tropical perfume like in South-East Asia. Too many things, impossible to catch all flavors at the same time and finally a bit of a deception.IMG_20171014_143750 bis

Karai is brand new and already one of the best restaurant in Santiago. If you are looking for Nikkei it is definitely the best in Chile and probably among the best in all Latin America (despite strong competition). Maido’s spirit and technic are filling the W for our benefit. It could be quite expensive though, depending on what you are ordering. Still, the quality of the products makes it a great place to enjoy a bit of a creation and flavor juggling. Not sure how the quality will go now that chef Mitsuharu Tsumura is back to Lima, but for the time being it is the place to go in Santiago!
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Karai 

Isidora Goyenechea 3000, Las Condes, Región Metropolitana de Santiago

4th floor at Hotel W Santiago

Tel: (2) 2770 0081

Opening: Monday – Saturday 12:30 pm – 3:30 pm, 7:00 pm – 11:30 pm. Closed on Sunday.

wsantiagohotel.com

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