February 5, 2015

Tokyo Michelin tour day 1: The Foursome

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It's my first day in Tokyo, and I'm crashing with my friends Cow and Chicken after foolishly taking the redeye.  Dinner tonight was a get together of four people who've known each other for the better part of 2 decades, and we're trying to rehash some of the gatherings we've had over the years.  The last time all four of us got together over some food and wine was more than 4 years ago, and that's simply too long!

H-man knows the restaurant scene in town well, especially those that are BYO friendly, so we asked him to pick something casual.  La Ruée vers l'or happened to be fairly close to the Cowfarm, so that was pretty convenient for us.  A menu has also been arranged for us, which would go pretty well with some of the wines we brought.

The amuse bouche was cod mousse in a filo pastry cone.  Pretty good.

Marinated snapper with konbu, spinach purée - very, very nice.  The red seabream (真鯛) is marinated the with konbu in the traditional Japanese method known as kobujime (昆布締め), which imparts delicate flavors to the fish.  Topped with broccoli, radish, chrysanthemum petals, cherry tomatoes, carrots, mizuna (水菜) and horseradish.

Chicken broth flan, root vegetables and mushrooms in a nage fashon - served with shimeji mushrooms (しめじ茸), lotus root, and shiso (紫蘇) flowers.  Very delicate flavors.  This actually tasted like chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し)...

Braized conger eel and scallop, red wine sauce - very interesting dish.  A thin layer of conger eel (穴子) is wrapped around a scallop, in the same fashion that bacon is sometimes used.  The conger eel has pretty toasty flavors, and this was all topped with thin strips of burdock (牛蒡).  Kinda surprised at the use of red wine sauce here, but it worked.

Braised pork belly, bacon, navy beans, pistou - wow... This was just... sooooo rich.  Melt-in-your-mouth fatty pork, plus bacon, plus having all the beans absorb the fat from the pork... Add a little charred Brussels sprouts to the mix and serve on top of pistou.

We got a small cheese platter, which was OK.  They did have little tiny slices of Brillat-Savarin, but I've been too spoiled by Jeremy over the years...

Pistachio crème brûlée - this was small but very, very good.  Love the ground pistachio powder sprinkled all over.

I lugged a couple of wines from Hong Kong while H-man provided a pair of old reds.  I think we drank pretty well tonight...

2006 Roses de Jeanne Le Creux d'Enfer, dégorgée a 12 avril 2010 - deeper flavors here, a little caramelized on the nose, a little mineral, strawberry notes.  Ripe on the palate.  Still such a beautiful wine.

2000 Coche-Dury Meursault - as expected, nose was big and heavy toast, with roasted corn along with a nice degree of ripeness, and some sweet fruit.  There was some ripeness on the front palate, but the acidity quicly caught up.  Very, very beautiful as always.

1983 Penfolds Grange - nose of coconut butter, vanilla, sweet, exotic spices, potpourri, a little mineral, almost a little savory, a little animal, and definitely eucalyptus.  Drinking very well.

1977 Penfolds Grange - more muted nose here at first but opened up quickly.  Sweet on the nose but less coconut butter and vanilla.  A little more meaty here, and still got that eucalyptus.

This was truly a fun evening, as four of us just hung out and caught up like it was the old days.  Hopefully we can see each other again very soon... maybe even in Hong Kong.

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