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Cherries and Lunch at Bushi-Tei

In our Luxury issue, due to hit newsstands any minute now, we celebrate the long-lost art of lunch. You remember lunch—that mid-day break that civilized people used to take to eat, drink and refresh their minds before heading into the afternoon. Just in time for its return, Japantown's Bushi-Tei began serving lunch two weeks ago.

This is worrisome, because Bushi's supremely talented chef, Seiji "Waka" Wakabayashi, already does a superhuman job just with dinner—in addition to creating seasonal, consistently pristine French-California cuisine and one of the city's most celebrated omakase menus, he makes his own bread, ice cream, sake ... it makes you wonder if he ever sleeps. He's also created a spring menu around cherry blossoms, available only one more week until the end of April.


Cherry-leaf wrapped scallops.

Just how do you cook with something as delicate as cherry blossoms, you might ask? First you wrap scallops in cherry leaves and pile them atop hearts of palm and dried Bing cherries. The leaves carry both the scent and trailing taste of their fruit. Then, for an entree, you sprinkle the blossoms around a salmon filet bathed in a cherry-brandy reduction, and you flash-fry one of the leaves as a crunchy green fragrant garnish. Then for dessert, it's easy—since you're making ice cream from scratch, just fold some lovely pink blossoms into the ice cream and use it to top a rich brownie. Done and done.


Bushi-Tei's AH-MA-ZING quail confit.

Should you not make it over to Bushi before April 30, fear not: I'll tell you exactly what to order from the regular menu. First the quail confit—a steaming little sculpture of savory brown perfection, wrapped in prosciutto, topped with a quail egg and almonds, and huddling over the most beautifully tiny mushrooms. Next, get the fork-tender and perfectly-marbled Washugyu beef atop a potato Lyonnaise. Put that knife away—you won't be needing it.