Christopher Gross in Japan, Part Two

Categories: Chef Chat
Yesterday we started our conversation with Christopher Gross of Christopher's and Crush Lounge about his recent time spent in Japan. Today we continue.

Drinking tea may never be the same for Gross. The Tohoku earthquake struck while he was disrobing to be dressed in his kimono for a tea service in Kamakura, south of where the quake and tsunami did their major damage. After one big jolt, it was pretty much business as usual. Tea service continued even through the aftershocks. Here's what Gross had to say about sushi, service and cleanliness in Japan.

Courtesy of Christopher Gross
The streets of Tokyo may be immaculate; however, the anime is kind of dirty.

Squeaky clean: I found it so interesting coming from Bangkok where it's summertime, hot, steamy, maybe a little dirty, people were wonderful and then flying into Tokyo, walking around the streets, I thought 'I'm from a Third World country.' It was so clelan. Everything was perfect.

Find out about Gross' picky eating habits after the jump.

Picky, picky: I've never been a fan of sushi. Even raw tuna, if you put a little sear on it, now you have a different flavor. I'm not a big fan of oysters either. I hate wasabi.

One man's delicacy... There were live baby squid that attach themselves to a chopstick as you swallow it whole.

Now that's service: Everyone was really interesting. Everyone was really, really nice. The service was incredible. Most of them were quite elaborate dinners at night. So the bus might be three blocks away. One night in Kyoto it was snowing and in Tokyo it was drizzling a little and everyone just gets out with umbrellas and follows you.

Courtesy of Christopher Gross
This is what one course looks like in Japan.

And you thought Mastro's was expensive: We were in Kyoto on a shopping trip and we dispersed a little bit. I ran across a butcher shop selling Wagyu Kobe style beef. I think six ounces was $160. The tour person came back and I asked where I could buy this in a restaurant because I didn't know if we were having it on our trip. I asked the tour guide, "Can you ask the restaurant manager if I could have a small portion and a beer?" He said, "Yeah, sure. No problem." Three others of the group came with me and we shared four beers and six and half ounces of beef. It was around $400.
Courtesy of Christopher Gross
All of what looks likes white veins is called marbling, which is what makes Kobe and Wagyu beef different and so much more expensive.

The collegiate Buddhist:We went to visit a Buddhist temple and met with one of the Zen monks. We wanted to see because it's part of the culture. We took a meditation class and the guy spoke really good English. He had an accent from like Texas, so I asked him if he spent any time in America, and he said, "Yes, I went to ASU."

Lesson learned: We can all be nicer over here. Cleaner, nicer, friendlier.

Tomorrow Gross will share a recipe for Scallops with Matcha Green Tea. Read part one of our interview.

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