February 7, 2010

When the chef's away...

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It was still raining a little when we got back from the Jebsen Centenary Vase at the Shatin Racecourse, and the decision was made to have dinner in Causeway Bay within Lee Garden...for the ease of parking.  With someone in the mood for Japanese, that meant going to Harakan (原澗).  We got there pretty early and the restaurant was empty.

We all pitched in for the ordering, and naturally the result was a little too much food.  I wasn't in the mood for sushi/sashimi, and in reality one shouldn't be ordering raw seafood on a Sunday night anyway. I did have some uni (雲丹) sashimi and a piece of seared toro sushi (炙りトロ).  I also had some flying fish roe salad (とび子サラダ), and a stick of minced chicken skewers (つくね).

I had some really good grilled sweet corn (とうもろこし) the last time I was here, so I was happy to order it again.  Not such a good decision.  The kitchen grilled it a little too much and there was lots of charring, which detracted from the sweetness of the raw ingredient.

I also remembered the yummy deep-fried Yonezaka porkchop (米沢豚とんかつ)...so fatty but soooo good.  Well I think the pork today was pretty decent, with enough fat to make it tender and juicy.  But, like the grilled corn, they over-did it... If they only fried it a little bit less, this would have been perfect.  The sesame miso sauce was nice.

Finally there was the grilled pregnant sweetfish with salt (子持ち鮎塩焼き), which again was a little overdone.  The flesh was starting to dry out, and the fish roe was very, very dry.  Not very enjoyable...

I guess the moral of the story is that there are some restaurants where quality fluctuates widely depending on the presence of the chef...and Sunday night is definitely not the time to pay them a visit!

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