April 16, 2010

You win some, you lose some

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It's been a while since I met up with this particular couple, and we decided to go to Wagyu Kaiseki Den since they are "members" with a stash of wagyu at the establishment.  I was happy to be back, as it's been 2 months since my last visit and the menu has changed.

前付: Kagoshima gyu, takenoko, taranome with sesame sauce and torigai, urui-apple jelly - in the cup, the jelly was acidic and pretty interesting, with some young Hosta leaves (ウルイ).  The cockles (鳥貝) were alright.  What's outside was more interesting... beef was yummy with the sesame sauce, and the bamboo shoots (筍) was very fresh and nice.  The use of Japanese Angelica shoots (たらの芽) were also interesting.

八寸:shiro asupara, shirauo-tamago, five color yasai maki, soramame, negitoro sushi w caviar, hotaru ika, uni tofu - the soup of white asparagus was bland.  The firefly squid (蛍烏賊) was very, very nice...fresh and full of inky flavor...wish I had a half-dozen of these.  The sushi (ネギトロ鮨) was ok.  The uni tofu was very nice...the texture of the tofu matched the uni well, and the sea urchin itself was fresh and sweet.  The icefish (白魚) and egg roll was OK, but the veggie roll was better.

椀物: ebi shinjo and tai shirako clear soup, nanohana, yuzu - I can't believe I actually ate the shirako (白子), something which is at the top of the small list of things I don't eat...  but I will admit that the little dollop of poached red snapper sperm was very creamy and flavorful.  The ball of shrimp paste was not bad.  Two sprigs of rapeseed flower and some shavings of yuzu skin complete the soup.

造り:chef's selection sashimi - the slices of abalone were pretty nice...very tender.  I didn't have the tuna.  The young yellowtail (はまち) was OK.

箸休:Japanese tomato and hawasabi - the small tomatoes were very ripe and sweet, but the horseradish leaf was a little bland...

進肴:lobster, kabu, takenoko, seri tempura with truffle sauce - the turnip (蕪) tempura was very interesting as it was still juicy inside.  The slice of bamboo shoot was OK, as was the Japanese parsley.  The lobster was very, very yummy with the black truffle sauce.  What a great dish!

蒸物:sakura tai-chasoba mushi, tororoimo, kogomi oroshi-an, yuzukosho - this thing totally destroyed my palate, thanks to the spicy yuzu-flavored pepper.  The mash of the Japanese yamaimo thickened the soup.

主菜:charcoal grilled wagyu - four pieces of fatty, very yummy wagyu sirloin... doesn't get much better than this.

Once again we had the awesome wagyu sandwich, with thin slices of beef along with diced tomatoes in between two pieces of milky Japanese toast.  I'd be happy just to make a meal out of this thing...  Wish they'd make this available for lunch takeout!

雲丹,松葉かにとエンド豆土鍋ご飯 - we were offered the choice of black truffle rice again, but I declined as it's past the best season for black truffles.  The rice with sea urchin and crab is always nice, and you can really taste the sweet and savory flavors of the crab.  I had two and a half bowls...

Dessert was a simple mochi with muscovado syrup (黒蜜).  Classic and nice.

I brought two bottles of wine for the evening.  We started with the 2003 Penfolds Yattarna, their top-of-the-line Chardonnay.  I've never had this wine before, and it was such a pleasant surprise!  My friend thought it was a white Burgundy... nose of minerals, ripe and sweet grass, sweet butter, flint and citrus.  Great acidity balance.  What a beautiful wine!  Interestingly, with the inky flavors of the firefly squid in my mouth, the wine turned very ripe and oxidized...the acidity completely disappeared.

I brought a second bottle as backup, and my friend couldn't resist opening it.  The 1996 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin turned out to be a big disappointment.  To be honest we probably didn't decant it long enough, but still... The first whiff smelled of manure, and the high acidity was immediately apparent.  The nose continued to be a little funky, gradually normalizing to reveal just the fruit with time, even with a little eucalyptus.  Acidity was high throughout.  Not a pleasure to drink at all.  I bought the bottle from Winebid.com at what I thought were very reasonable prices for a wine of this level and vintage, and the condition of the bottle seemed perfect.  Oh well...

I was very, very full...and pretty buzzed since I started the evening with some wine in the office.  We must do this again sometime...


Lacie said...

Well done, Peech! By having Wagyu beef, you have once again contributed to global warming. You'll need a few more Earth Hours to make yourself feeling good again.


Anonymous said...


I'm Angela from Angela. We are distributing Starbucks samples to some of the bloggers. Would you mind leave me an e-mail so that I can keep contact with you and send you the samples?

P.S My e-mail address: Angela.Tung@edelman.com


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