September 21, 2009

The last thirty-something birthday

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Another birthday dinner - this time for a friend who was celebrating his last birthday with a 3-handle.  My friend typically only dines at a handful of restaurants, and tonight it was to be Matsubishi (松菱) for some upscale teppanyaki (鉄板焼).

The birthday boy ordered all the goodies - abalone (アワビ), spiny lobster (伊勢海老), giant oysters (牡蠣, forgot to ask about the origin but suspect to be Japanese), and some type of clam that was pretty yummy.  As you would expect, all the seafood was cooked on the hot plate live, and you could definitely taste how fresh everything was.

I really enjoyed the Pacific saury (秋刀魚), especially since I got some of the tasty bits with the fish guts.  Love that full-on oily, fishy flavor...  The tofu was OK, and things got better with thin slices of ox tongue (牛タン).

Now the beef... first we had thin slices of beef wrapped around fried garlic and spring onions.  This was classic, and I just couldn't get enough of the tasty filling with all that garlic.  Of course the beef was very flavorful with all that fat, and the combination was just perfect.  The thick-cut sirloin was also excellent.

To finish up the meal, there was a bowl of lobster head soup.  I loved the soup as I could taste the sweetness of the lobster on top of the savory base of the soup.  And that wonderful umami... yum....  I also had a bowl of inaniwa udon (稲庭うどん) in curry sauce.  The chef added an extra pan-fried egg on top which made it that much better.

There's always alcohol at a birthday celebration.  I brought a bottle of 2005 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Perrieres.  Pretty decent wine, with good ripeness but not over-powering like some Californians can be.  The birthday boy took a bottle of the 1995 Dom Pérignon Œnothèque, which was excellent.  Finally there was my bottle of 2001 BOND Matriarch, which was ripe, fruity, sweet without being over the top.

I must thank the birthday boy for an excellent meal.  It's been a while since I had some good teppanyaki, and tonight I realized how much I missed it.

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