November 4, 2010

Homestyle Canto

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I made plans to have dinner with a journalist from out of town tonight.  We had arranged to meet up at the Acker tasting before dinner, but unfortunately I was stuck in the office and didn't make it to the Grand Hyatt until an hour after the tasting started.  The only two wines I was able to taste before rushing off to dinner were the 1999 Rouget Echezeaux in magnum, and the 2007 Sine Qua Non Labels, which was smoky, meaty, concentrated and powerful, with a long finish and the alcohol burning as it goes down past the back of my throat...

We ended up being half an hour late to dinner at Kin's Kitchen (留家廚房).  I'd never been here, but was interested to try it when my friend suggested the place.  I did have some reservations, knowing that the son of the owner opened up Yellow Door - where I was completely underwhelmed by my dining experience a few years ago.

We started with Kin's smoked chicken (留家煙燻雞), a signature dish.  Lots of places in town do a smoked chicken, but this place does a pretty good job with it.  The smoky flavor was immediately apparent, and the chicken was nicely flavored.  The meat was also a bit more chewy, which I took as a sign that this was a free-range chicken (走地雞).

The stir-fried lion-head fish fillets with lettuce hearts (生菜膽炒獅頭魚球) were kind of interesting... The fish is actually known as Pacific monkeyfish or pitted stonefish.  Texture was soft and nice.  Lots of ginger, yellowed chives (韭黃) and shallots to get rid of the "fishy" tastes.

Stir-fried Hokkaido scallops (油泡北海道帶子) - with celery and bell peppers.  I thought the flavor of the scallops themselves were particularly nice.

Steamed mustard green stem with preserved vegetable (梅菜蒸芥膽) - I remarked that this is actually two variations of the same vegetable, as the "preserved vegetable (梅菜)" is often made from leafy mustard itself.  The dish was pretty well-received, as the sweet tastes of the preserved greens balanced out the slightly bitter flavors of the fresh mustard green stems.

Stir-fried glutinous rice with sausage (生炒糯米飯) - pretty tasty and filling, although I think I prefer the rice to be slightly drier and chewier.

Given that we were brought together through our interest in wine, there would of course be some on the table tonight. 

2009 Doyenne Métier Blanc - this is a blend of Viognier and Roussanne from Washington, and showed a really big, floral nose that was sweet and vibrant, with tropical fruits and candied pomelo rind.  Really lovely.

1998 Clos du Mont-Olivet Selection Reflets - I was disappointed in this bottle.  The nose was obviously oxidized and cooked, with ripe strewed fruits and sweetness, along with smoke and very pronounced preserved plums (話梅).  Also a little bit of violet on the palate, which actually was pretty flat.  Maybe the wine was just a little too warm and could have used a bit of cooling down.

The food was pretty good and a nice surprise.  Given that the restaurant isn't too far away from home, perhaps I should think about coming back for more.

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