09 Mar Tastings Social presents Mountain Bird (New York City)
Fly Girl Foodie & Keiko Tajimi
I’m featuring my incredible experience at Tastings Social presents Mountain Bird in my latest blogpost. This quaint and swanky restaurant is located in East Harlem at 251 East 110th Street (between second & Third Avenue) and operated by husband-and-wife team Chef Kenichi Tajima and his wife Keiko Tajima. Mountain Bird gets it’s name because of the all of the fowl and poultry related menu items that are served in very original and innovative ways.
Affordable prices, authentic atmosphere, and incredible service makes Mountain Bird a necessary addition to the city’s landscape. The mission of Mountain Bird is to cultivate special relationships, by creating experiences to suit distinct needs and personalities while providing great hospitality, gracious service, and exceptionally tasty food in a lovely setting.
Since the inception of Mountain Bird, it has evolved into a premier specialist in the art of entertaining within the hospitality industry specializing in fine dining, food and beverage, and service that fits the style of all entertaining needs. Together with a modern twist on French-American and re-invented Classic cuisines of the world, the warm and accommodating service team offers customers uniquely crafted experiences. French-trained Chef Kenichi creates the menu items while Keiko curates the front-of-house experience. It is awe-inspiring to witness her warm energy and gracious energy as seamlessly serves customers and manages the orders from the kitchen.
When I decided to feature Mountain Bird, I reached out to Founder, Alexandra Morris, who contacted me the next day. I was honored, excited, appreciative, and impressed by her sweet and warm disposition and professionalism. Alexandra immediately put me in touch with Mathilde Desfontaines who is responsible for setting up our meeting at Mountain Bird.
Our dining experience at Mountain Bird was incredible! When we entered, we immediately felt the warmth, comfort, and hospitality as we were greeted by Keiko. As I sat with Keiko in their beautifully decorated and cozy restaurant, we discussed many things including the history, menu items, atmosphere, and future of Mountain Bird. The cuisine is primarily French-American with a Japanese twist and when asked what their inspiration behind their menu items were, Keiko stated “We aspire to create healthier meals without compromising flavor by using less butter, heavy creams, oils, salt, sugar, and using more fresh vegetables, whole grains, flavor while adding lots of love.” I definitely experienced this while dining at Mountain Bird!
We started with cocktails and appetizers and bartender “Brian” shakes up a mean Pineapple-Cranberry Vodka Martini (not on the menu) that I requested and he graciously provided. I highly suggest the Pumpernickel Baguette with Liver Mousse and Vanilla Butter. The Liver Mousse was creamy, flavorful and light. The bite-sized “Head-to-Toe Sampler” with Cockscomb Cutlet, Mustard Liver Mousse, Caramelized Nuts Bonbon Chicken Heart, a la Bourguignonne Puff, and Wing Lollipop with Balsamic Truffle was delightfully savory and a must try along with the Foie Gras Dumpling Consommé and Shrimp Mac and Cheese with Lobster Bisque. The Spicy Shrimp Noodle with Sautéed Shrimp, Ramen Noodles Garlic and Parsley was mouthwatering. I’d also suggest the Chicken Schnitzel with Thinly Sliced Chicken Breast Cutlet, Tartar Sauce, Tomato Sauce & Potato Salad, and the Steak Frites with Peppercorn Sauce. All of these dishes were bursting with freshness, flavor, and love.
It is hard not to root for the Tajimas, whose largely solo efforts reach major heroic levels on nights when the dining room brims over because the seating capacity is 31. If there are protracted pauses in the meal, forgive. Take comfort in a glass of sparkling wine, doused with your choice of fruit juice and, in a bewildering but delightful touch, chia seeds.
Chef Kenichi makes the desserts as well. They are substantial and uniformly good, particularly the Double-decker Cheesecake with a dense baked layer on the bottom and an ethereal, unbaked layer on top — the same batter, simply chilled in a refrigerator in the Japanese style, to a consistency barely firmer than froth. It is a neat trick: It looks old-fashioned but tastes entirely new.
Chef Kenichi makes an incredible Cassoulet, craggy and disheveled, like the aftermath of an eruption. Massed in its depths are turkey and chicken sausages, duck leg, turkey bacon and more cockscombs and gizzards, all conspiring to render pork irrelevant. Ostrich, deeply incarnadine and paired with voluptuous creamed spinach, does worthy battle with memories of steak. The name of the restaurant may be Mountain Bird, but Yard Bird may have been more appropriate, given the chicken-heavy and flavorful slant of the menu. Chicken breast and a thigh braised in red wine coq au vin-style with carrots, mushrooms, pearl onions, and fat lardons of turkey bacon served over buttery mashed potatoes are also highly recommended. Everything is innovative and original here, there’s a reason this dish is a classic, and Mountain Bird does it well!
Chef Kenichi and wife Keiko have successfully established this truly amazing restaurant in East Harlem and shared their dream of eventually being able to expand Mountain Bird worldwide. Keiko stated that the dining experience they want customers to leave with is great food, amazing service, warm and inviting atmosphere, and most importantly, the feeling of love that this husband and wife team have wonderfully created. I’m happy to have experienced all of this and more! Thanks team Mountain Bird for this amazing opportunity to share your story and for your incredible hospitality!
Steak Frites with Peppercorn Sauce
Chicken Schnitzel w/ Thin Chicken Breast Cutlet, Tartar Sauce, & Potato Salad
Spicy Garlic Shrimp Sauteed w/ Ramen Noodle, Garlic & Parsley
Shrimp Mac & Cheese w/ Lobster Bisque
Bite Size Head to Toe Sampler
Foie Gras Dumpling Consomme
Crispy Black Truffle Wings w/ Balsamic Reduction
Pineapple-Cranberry Vodka Martini (Not on the menu) Special Request
Tastings Social presents Mountain Bird is located in East Harlem at 251 East 110th Street (between Second & Third Avenue).
Tuesday to Sunday 6:00pm to 10pm,
Saturday and Sunday Brunch Service 12:00pm to 3:00pm
212.744.4422 press 1
IG: @ ts_mountainbird