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Sesamo, NY

In this series I was visiting New York as a guest of Genesis Canada. Invited down to help usher in their second year as a sponsor and partner of Vogue World London 2023.

As all other invited guests and confirmed attendees filtered in to the city, we all converged at Sesamo for a welcome dinner. Driven down in the Genesis’ Vogue World fleet, which included the Genesis GV60, GV70, GV80, and the G90. In pairs we were picked and assigned a vehicle, to be able to experience the comfort and quiet luxury of each model.

For tonight Genesis had bought out the entire Japanese and Italian fusion restaurant, Sesamo.

And guests were greeted with a welcome glass of sparkling as we mixed and mingled.

A collection of actors, singers, television personalities, fashion designers, make up artists, auto journalists, lifestyle writers, and fashion content creators. A gathering of individuals with voices and an audience to share with.

The evening had an open bar so I started there, working my way through their signature cocktail list, starting with the Child of Divorce, which I had to order for name alone. Reposado Mezcal, 9yr Islay Scotch, Hopped Grapefruit Bitters, Agave, and “Alimony” Tincture. This was smokey and savoury with the mezcal, and definitely on the stronger side.

Star Child was a mix of Japanese Whisky, Elderflower Liqueur, Amaro Montenegro, and Dandelion & Burdock Bitters. This was light and refreshing compared to the cocktail above.

The Sake Smash was easy drinking and dangerous, as you couldn’t taste the alcohol. Jumai Daiginjo Sake, Sparkling Sake, Yuzu Sake, and Shiso.

Across the Izakaya had Gin, Vodka, Lychee Liqueur, and Lillet Rose. I found this more herbaceous and not sweet like I thought it would be. And sadly, I didn’t get any of the aforementioned lychee liqueur.

And my last of the night was the Dragoncello mixing Vodka, Pomegranate, Tarragon Syrup, and Lemon Bitters together. There wasn’t much depth to this and I pretty much just got vodka and syrup.

And as we drank small bites were passed around the room the likes of their Lemon Ricotta Crostini. Although, sadly I was too engaged in conversation to snap any photos. It would have been lemon ricotta, baby zucchini, pickled red onion, and a balsamic reduction.

When time for dinner service, we were all asked to take our assigned seats. After welcome speeches, we were all invited to stand up and talk a little about ourselves. This included where we were from and our favourite thing about New York.

As for the meal, to start with, the table shared a collection of small plates. Mixed Greens from County Line Farm, NY. Dressed with a pear vinaigrette, roasted beets, walnuts, and gorgonzola. This was a refreshing way to start the meal. I liked the sweet beets and salty cheeses at their juxtaposition.

The Caesar Salad was a creamy classic made a little more Asian fusion. Well dressed little gem lettuce, also from County Line Farm, NY; topped with furikake, 5 spice croutons, and a miso caesar dressing. Definitely a more flavourful mix with more depth of seasoning than your regular caesar.

The Wild Calamari Fitti was perfectly formed “O’s” evenly breaded in a herb & szechuan flour, and served with tomato sauce and lime. Crispy and chewy morsels tasty as is, and given tang from the dip.

The Burrata was a generous entire ball of cheese from Lioni Latticini, Union, NJ. Creamy and easy to spread, it was surrounded by heirloom tomato, and drizzled in rice wine vinaigrette. Served with grilled sourdough toast. Incredibly delicious, the table finished this one completely.

For our individual first course we were each given a choice between 1 of 4 pastas.

My choice of the Seafood Tortellini was the most popular. Reading ikura on the menu I was sold. Squid ink pasta, shrimp, squid, clam alfredo, ikura, borage, and pea shoots. Each morsel was sumptuous and satisfying. Well stuffed and meticulously folded little pockets of sweet shredded seafood sitting in a fragrant cream, given pops from the fish roe. I would order this one again, it was just so refined and lovely.

For those looking for something more pasta focused the Duck Ragu Pappardelle was a great option. Thick ribbons of house made pasta tossed with shredded duck from Joe Jurgielewicz & Son, PA; fresh tomato, garam masala, feta cheese, and basil. Fresh and light, more of what you expect from the traditional interpretation of the dish, with only whispers of the distinct spice of gram masala in the mix. This was a nice safe option.

For our second course we were asked to pick a more fulsome main. For those looking to layer on more pasta and to ensure they got enough food, the Korean Fried Chicken Parmesan was a fulsome plate. Korean-style fried chicken sitting on top of a bed of linguine topped with fontina, parmesan, fresh tomato sauce, and chives. I liked the take of this, and how easily Korean chicken took the place of the traditionally seen veal parm. The crispy cutlet offered some meaty bites and textural interest amongst the mound of comforting and lightly tomato sauced pasta.

I went the meatier route with the 8oz Grass-fed Angus Hanger Steak in a red wine vinegar reduction. A wonderfully, pre-sliced steak, prepared more raw than medium, as I had asked for. The tender meat was balanced out by some freshness from Hakurei turnips, salty shitake, and swiss chard; all dressed in wasabi cream.

For a leaner protein guests could go for the Pan Seared Branzino. Tri-colored potato, escarole, and sweet red onion sauce. Crispy skin and starchy potatoes in a brightening sauce.

And for dessert, the table shared a collection of ice cream scoop in a tangy Mezcal Mango Calamansi and a molten Chocolate. The former did well to cleanse the palate, and the latter was ideal for those with a sweeter tooth.

I was a fan of the Black Tea Creme Brûlée
walnut yuzu brittle. The familiar crack of the torched sugar crust reveals a lush cream to scoop.

The Matcha Tiramisu was an interesting one and a well executed Japanese meets Italian dessert. Prepared with chocolate Selva-Rey rum, ladyfingers, matcha, and candied hazelnuts. The all soft and soggy texture of tiramisu that I don’t like is remedied here, thanks to the crunch from the candied nuts. Although it was more cream and chocolate in taste, than that of the telltale bitter matcha.

Overall, this was a wonderfully prepared meal. What a great example of Asian fusion, and the quality of cuisine that is available in New York. Sadly this would be my only proper sit down meal of the trip. But enough of a taste to have me craving a return trip to New York to try more.

SESAMO – Italian Restaurant Hell’s Kitchen NYC with Asian Influences
764 10th ave, New York, NY 10019

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