Spring is in the air, and since we’re suckers for seasonal tasting menus, we raided almost every establishment for any spring offerings we could get our jaws around, including the Geisha. We’ll admit, being curmudgeons when it comes to fusion concepts, we were a bit skeptical of the Geisha’s Japanese-Western theme. Past East-meets-West dining experiences had convinced us that fusion concepts’ sole purpose is to suck out all elements that make either cuisine great and replace them with bland and/or discordant flavor pairings. Hopefully, Geisha’s spring menu would prove itself that token outlier.
Its chances appeared slim upon gulping the Yellowtail, Daikon Radish Spheres (50RMB), which for a dish with such a colorful cast of ingredients including coriander, peppercorns, and both white and black sesame seeds, waned a bit barren. The flavors seemed stifled with the exception of the tuna, which tasted mildly fishy, and not in the good sea urchin/fish sauce way. At least it was room temperature.
Our Tuna, Black Goma Tofu Spring Roll (50RMB) and Dengaku-style Oyster (110RMB) were similarly desolate with a smattering of offsetting flavor notes.
Fortunately, the Miso-Zuke Waygu Steak, Sweet Potato Puree, Yukari Tofu (445RMB), lived up to the “Waygu” in its title with fat-caked steak bites that vanished after a few chews like butter in hot magma. It’s pricey, yes, and maybe meager on the serving size, but it was relieving to find real Waygu in a city where every slab of beef (even ones scant of fat) seems to be slapped with the “Waygu” label.
While the Spring menu doesn’t feature anything jarringly off-putting, for the most part, its dishes succumb to “Eastern-Western fusion syndrome”; leaving little impression except for the slightly confused mish-mashes of flavors. Fast forward through the offerings until you reach the Waygu.
The Geisha – 390 Shanxi Nan Lu, near Fuxing Lu (陕西南路390号, 近复兴路). Tel: (0)21-6403-0244. Hours: 5pm-late daily.
See a complete list of our reviews here.
Benjamin Cost is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news updates on Shanghai’s dining scene to [email protected].