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A New Twist on Japanese Dining
from the Cville Weekly
Kyoto, in the Rio Hill Shopping Center, was recently purchase by the co-owner of Peter Chang’s China Grill, James Li, taking Kyoto to another level. Li is a lifelong cook with several restaurants in his portfolio. After several years in management, Li found himself longing for one more return to the kitchen. At 62, “Kyoto might be my last challenge,” says Li.
Li’s background is in regional Chinese cuisine while Kyoto is mainly a Japanese restaurant, but Li has experience in Japanese restaurants as well, and enjoys cooking almost anything.
The wide variety of styles and flavors at Kyoto creates a fun atmosphere of discovering delicious food. The restaurant allows patrons to bring their own wine, opening up the floor for some truly wonderful and fascinationg wine and dine experiments. Li’s platter of appetizers showcased his deft touch in deep frying, a tradition in Japanese cooking. Especially of note are the shumai: tiny dumplings filled with ground pork and shrimp.
Li’s expertise truly shines in his entrées, including a collection of six regional Chinese specialties. “I have learned a lot from Peter [Chang],” he says. Li will also make anything on request if you are willing to call ahead.
Kyoto also offers spicier dishes: oil spiked with Szechuan peppers smothers room-temperature slices of roast pork atop slivers of cucumber. The heat and mouth-numbing effect of Szechuan pepper is especially delightful with wines that present residual sugar, creating a unique and delicious mouthful of flavors and sensations.
Li’s favorite dish is a comforting home-style pot roast of pork featuring chunks of pork shoulder seared before being braised slowly in shallow liquid. The spices and aromatics are a unique and exotic blend: clove, cinnamon sticks, white pepper, ginger and star anise. Other outstanding dishes inlude silky eggplant with black bean sauce.
Bring your own wine (check for fees or restrictions) and try out the distinctive food at Kyoto while trying out your own pairings - you won't be disappointed!
Read more about Kyoto and pairing wine with Japanese dishes in the full article at the Cville Weekly.