Navigating your way through a Japanese menu can be an ecstasy of anticipation if you know what you’re doing; or entirely baffling if you don’t. Espaço Kazu, the latest venture from the owners of noodle joint Lamen Kazu, is a new Japanese deli/bistro that sets out to centralise an array of Japanese specialities into one unintimidating space.
It breaks down like this: The main dining space (main courses R$23-$35) is a busy, Japanese-style cafeteria specializing in udon (noodles), yakitori (skewered chicken) and teppanyaki (iron-grilled meats and fish) as well as sushi. Upstairs there’s Go!Go!Curry, which whips out a small menu of Japanese curries (R$26-$38); and Kazu Sake Emporium, a trendy, straight-out-of-Shibuya sake bar boasting inventive sakerinhas, sake-based cocktails, 100 types of sipping sakes (R$25-$450) and premium bottled sake-to-go.
On one hand, Go!Go!’s food, especially the kanazawa curry – perfectly-breaded pork swimming in a mild, mud-hued curry sauce – is authentic and surprisingly tasty; on the other, it seems pricey for what is essentially Japanese fast-food, and contradictory – the attractive ceramic plateware arrives on plastic lunch trays that wouldn’t be out of place in an American high school.
It’s a roller-coaster ride of Japanese cuisine. But a few chokos of sakes should steady the ride.