Abri is a tiny rustic place with the open kitchen taking a third of the space. There is no sign but a menu is on the window. Bare wood tables are set with a variety of chairs and artfully exposed wood under the wall plaster serves as a decorative feature. Some music plays in the background but the place epitomizes minimal, almost bohemian. Japanese chef Katsuaki Okiyama is in charge of the kitchen and he was present while there but did not interact with guests. We saw other dishes coming out and inquired to find that the chef will send out different things depending on if you’ve been before. Service is efficient but there is not much English spoken by the staff. At lunch, during the week, only a 4 course surprise tasting menu is offered where you get to chose between fish or meat for the third course. On our visit the choice was cod or small chicken which turned out to be quail.
Our menu started with leeks topped with small orange tomatoes, truffles, greens, toasted hazelnuts, roe and crisped sheets of parmesan cheese. The leeks were very tender and contrasted nicely with the really crunchy nuts. It was lightly dressed and the roe added a fun pop. It was a tasty combination of flavors and textures that all mixed well together. It was very good.
Octopus was accented with pistachios and black olives and topped with a creamy beet cream. It was another nice combination of flavors and textures. The olives added a bit of saltiness as well as a sweet element and the octopus was nicely chewy without being tough. Very good.
We each had one of the choices for the third course so we could try both. The cod was cooked perfectly and served with Brussels sprouts, turnips and lettuce all surrounded by a lovely buttery sauce. I’m not sure what he did to the lettuce pieces but they were great – maybe it was the sauce. It was a delicious.
The tiny Basque chicken turned out to be half a quail served with braised onion and white yams. The quail was cooked rare as if it was dark meat and the various root vegetables were tasty. It was very flavorful but a meager portion that was difficult to eat. The fish was a better serving and easier to eat.
“Minestrone” of fruit was dessert. It contained passion fruit, other exotic fruits, grapefruit ice and yogurt cream. Bits of chopped fruit floated around the bottom ring of custard that was topped with the ice and then a frothy cream. It was excellent and felt fairly light. The grapefruit added a bit of contrasting tartness, and there were a lot of ingredients here but they blended well. It was a light, fruity good sweet fix.