March 24, 2010

The raw and the cooked

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After hearing about it for months, I finally had a chance to try out Sushi Shin (鮨辰).  A number of people have been raving about the quality of fish at this place, which got me very curious.  A few of us brought our bottles of wine for a long overdue gathering.

The two regulars of the restaurant decided to do the ordering for us, which covered both the usual sashimi/sushi as well as a bunch of cooked dishes. 

Pickled burdock (牛蒡) - I normally prefer deep-fried or stir-fried as a starter, since the pickled version often is served with a bowl of rice at the end of the meal or with the sashimi.

Sashimi platter - lots of goodies here, including the usual young yellowtail (魬), flounder (鮃), clams (蛤), egg (玉子), halfbeak (細魚), and some kind of snapper (鯛).  Of course there was fatty tuna (トロ), but since I stopped eating bluefin tuna for environmental reasons, I left these for my friends.

Tuna rolls (鉄火巻き) and scallions and fatty tuna rolls (ネギトロまき) - don't eat bluefin, so once again my portion was taken up by friends.

Grilled scallops - these were actually pretty nice.  I'm normally not a fan of Japanese-style grilled scallops, but these were not dry at all.  The seaweed (のり) pouch was a nice touch. Gone in two bites. and a half, actually...

Grilled neck of yellowtail (鰤) - it's been a while since I had something like this.  Taste was OK but obviously the "fishy" smell was pretty strong thanks to the fatty oils.  Eventually I had the leftovers taken away because it was interferring with my tasting ability.

Grilled beef - pretty decent, with a good amount of yummy fat.

Grilled cod "chips" - these wafer-thin chips are made from cod, and nicely grilled to release full flavors.  Very yummy, and reminds me of the shredded cod (鱈魚絲) I used to snack on as a kid in Taiwan.

Deep-fried pork cutlet (とんかつ) - how can I say no to pork, especially when it's breaded and deep-fried?  Slurp...

Grilled sakura shrimp (桜海老) - I've always loved these tiny shrimps, and grilling just brings out so much of that wonderful flavor.  Gotta go and buy a big bag of these on my trip to Taiwan this weekend.

Sea eel tempura (穴子天麩羅) - even though I'm more used to having sea eel tempura as one whole piece, it's just as nice when it's fried in smaller pieces. Texture was silky smooth... That broccolini wasn't bad, either. be honest, the gathering tonight wasn't about the food at all...the purpose was to crack open a few bottles.  I don't think I've ever had an evening with this group where we averaged less than one bottle per person... so here's what we had:

1998 Pommery Cuvée Louise - yeasty nose with notes of honey, lemon and toasty oak.  Medium acidity.

2006 Leroy Bourgogne Aligoté - lots of heavy toast in the nose, almost like popcorn.  Actually there was a little bit of stinky armpit...also nose of minerals and flint.  On the second pour the toast actually got heavier, very much like the grilled yellowtail we just had with the fish oil.  Some lemon citrus at the end.  Very ripe on the palate, with a long and slightly acidic finish.  The consistency was smooth and round on the tongue.

2003 Chapoutier L'Orée - initially very tight, with obviously signs of oxidation.  Nose of cotton candy, toast, grass, a little bit of burnt rubber along with some popcorn.  Sweet and ripe on the palate with a long finish.  Improved significantly with additiona aeration.  A little bit disappointing, but this was the first bottle from a case I bought at auction, so let's see how the other bottles will turn out.

1990 Leroy Bourgogne Rouge - farmy nose with grilled meats and some sweet fruits.  Nose was pretty nice.

1998 Guillot Clauzel - a tiny production from an estate next to the famed Le Pin, the wine is made by Dominique Thienpont.  Nose was pretty open, with smoke, grilled meats and fruit in the nose.  Not bad at all...

2005 Lou Dumont Savigny-lès-Beaune - a surprisingly beautiful wine.  Lots of toasty oak, minerals, ripe fruits and a little bit of sweetness.  Honestly, it delivers only a little less than the Leroy Aligoté but at a fraction of the price.  Gotta get me some of this...

Surprisingly, I didn't stagger out from the restaurant...  It was definitely an enjoyable evening, though...



Hi, long time no visit here. How's it going? :)

I haven't visited this shop yet, although I finally figured the sushi guy is one of most reliable HK Sushi Chef's hailing from Kenjo. (I don't usually trust HK chefs that much, there's only around 3-4 around that has mastered it well enough!).

- So do you think this place is ok enough for me to visit? Fish were fresh enough?

- By the way, I heard that only natural Bluefin Tuna's are endangered, but farmed ones are ok, just don't taste too good even after few days aging the fat. Since I have never researched more on the topic, I also am worried whether I can assume farmed ones are still ok to eat? :O

Love your blog and info a lot - so informative and accurate all the time. Cheers.

Peech said...

I think the fish is fresh enough...

In terms of farmed tuna...I heard some places in HK serve them but have forgotten where. Until I figure out, I'm staying away from the fish.

Derek said...

Glad you finally made it there and it lived up to its reputation. I'll have to try some of dishes that I haven't gotten around to yet.

HK Epicurus said...

I'm still kind of confused as to which species of Tuna or even whether farmed ones are in danger as well. I've heard that a lot of tunas are fetched from the ocean using fish nets stretching like 20+ kms between 2 boats, but I've also heard that a lot of so-called farmed Tuna aren't exactly non-wild either.

The thing is - a lot of restaurants in Hong Kong actually don't even serve Honmaguro (farmed or wild, small or large) or their Toro. There seems to be other species such as Mebachi, Yellow Fin, Southern Blue Fin (as opposed to Honmaguro Black/Blue Fin), then there's Indo ocean Tuna's, etc. I can always kind of tell whether the Oh-toro's are from the most endangered Honmaguro though, as they are the only ones to carry the prominent white stripes from the connective tissues in the belly part due to the size of the fish, also large bubbly air pockets in the Chu-toro. Whereas the so-called Oh-toro's or Chu-toro from other species Tuna or even smaller Honmaguro's don't have this character.

That's why I find the whole thing very confusing. And apparently I just read, even things like prawns or say Bombay Duck fish are equally endangered. As a side personal note: I do feel a bit bad that as a human, we are trying to dictate what deserves to live or what we can actually eat, or why we try to preserve a Bluefin tuna for future generations, just because one species like chicken/cow have better reproductive performance! Or say what makes a Gavaged Goose Foie Gras more inhuman to a normal fed Foie Gras, when we're just going to kill it anyway! The thought of all this is killing me and making me feel a bit evil indeed :)


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