September 21, 2012

A bubbly evening

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After rescheduling a couple of times, I've gotten together with a small group of friends for another wine dinner.  The last time we got together, we decided to do an evening with Champagne.  This isn't something I do often, so was I looking forward to sipping bubbly.  Kitcho (吉兆) was chosen to provide lighter fare to accompany the wines.

Babylonia (貝)

Flounder (平目)

"Snow flake" sea bream (雪鯛) - with a sprinkle of grated yuzu (ゆず) rind

At this point our chef stopped me from taking any more pictures, saying that it is their policy not to allow photography.  I am of course disappointed, but figured there was no point in arguing.

Squid (イカ) and squid tentacles (ゲソ) - the tentacles are very crunchy.

Yellowtail (鰤) belly - really fatty and yummy.  The flavors of the fat lingered in my mouth for a long time.

Grilled scallop (帆立貝) - lightly grilled, but I felt it was just a tad overdone, as the center is no longer perfectly mi-cuit.  Sprinkled with a little salt and wrapped in a piece of seaweed (海苔) from 丸山海苔店.

Sea urchin (雲丹)

We started to get nigiri sushi (握り寿司) from here…

Olive flounder wings (縁側) - lightly torched (炙り) with a sprinkle of yuzu rind.  A little crunchy.

Humpback shrimp (牡丹海老) - served with some of its own green roe on top.

Squid (イカ) - with some black truffle paste on top.  The squid itself was a little too mushy for my taste.

Bonito (鰹) - the bonito was smoked, and the flavors were pretty prominent.  Served with diced raw onions, mashed garlic in soy sauce.  The raw garlic mash was understandably a little pungent and spicy.

Cherry salmon (桜鱒) - our chef, like the other chef who served it to me at another restaurant, called this a trout even though technically it's a salmon.

Rosy seabass (赤鯥) - lightly torched.

Grilled shrimp head - this was stuffed with a little rice ball before grilling, and made things a lot more interesting.  

Pacific saury (秋刀魚) - served with some paste made from its liver.  Pretty yummy.

Mackerel (鯖) - with finely diced scallion and mashed ginger.

Purple sea urchin (紫雲丹)

Grilled broadbanded thornyhead (喜知次) - we had half of the head and collar.  Very yummy.

Baby lobster (伊勢海老) - the tail was removed, deep-fried and served with some spicy grated radish.  A deep-fried chunk of tofu (揚げ出し豆腐) sat at the bottom, and it was very, very delish.

We were then served a bowl of rice with grilled beef.  The beef came in thin slices, and was served with deep-fried garlic chips.  I thought the flavors were good, but was very disappointed in the rice.  It's not the round, short-grained rice that you commonly find in Japanese restaurants.  In reality, it kinda reminded me of the instant rice that I used to buy when I was in college in the States…

Grilled egg (卵焼き) - really love the sponge cake texture, but this was much denser than the other versions I've had.

Salmon roe with rice (いくら丼) - didn't exactly need this, as I was kinda full already.  The membranes of the roe were surprisingly tough to break open.  I guess they hadn't been marinated for a long time, so they were still relatively fresh and kinda reminds me of 筋子.

Our bowl of clear soup came with rosy seabass (赤鯥), yuzu rind and myoga (茗荷).  Nice.

Finally, there was a little plate of fruit as well as white sesame tofu (胡麻豆腐) served with muscovado (黒糖).

Three of us meant three bottles of Champagne, which is actually a lot in my book.  My capacity for bubbly just isn't the same as still wine, since the carbonation gets me drunk much quicker…

2002 Louis Roederer Cristal - nose show a hint of salty plum, minerals and marmalade.  Pretty smooth mid palate but kinda tart on the finish.  A good Champagne to go with the food tonight.

2002 Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque Rosé - very smooth and soft on the palate.  A little more tart on the palate.

Jacques Selosse Substance, disgorged November 20, 2007 - how can I not love this wine?!  Made only with Chardonnay from the Grand Cru vineyards of Avize, using a solera system which blends every vintage starting from 1986… this is Champagne's equivalent to Tawny Port and Madeira - which I love so much.  Trademark nose of caramelized sugar, straw, cotton candy, apricot, marmalade, salty plum (話梅) and honey.  I'm so glad I brought this bottle tonight.

Needless to say I was pretty drunk by the end of the evening.  I headed home and promptly passed out...

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