May 11, 2016

Deep-fried Burgundies on sticks

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It has been some time since I last saw V, and seeing as his birthday is coming up, we decided to meet up for dinner at Hidden Kitchen (秀殿).  I was kinda in the mood for a casual place without a set menu, where we could just pick and choose... and (hopefully) not stuff ourselves.

We arrived and were seated at the opposite end of the L-shaped counter from where I last sat.  That means we were right in front of the deep-fryer.  Fortunately the restaurant has installed a powerful range hood that envelops the deep-fryer and funnels the air up to the ceiling (and presumably expels it outside), so we didn't get too much interference from the smell.  This was important because we had brought a couple of nice bottles...

Baby sweetfish (稚鮎) - nice to get these babies the length of my middle finger... They were a little bitter since all the guts and the head were still intact.  Still nice.

Firefly squid with white miso (ほたるいか酢みそ) - another seasonal item I can't get enough of.  Very, very delish... especially with that sweet white miso (味噌) sauce.  Served on a bed of wakame (若布) seaweed.

Bamboo shoot (筍串) - spring veggies are the best, and the bamboo shoot was very tasty.

Giant clam (蛤串) - this was a seriously big clam!  Very nice texture, and tasty, too.

Japanese angelica shoots (たらの芽) - another seasonal vegetable.

Quail eggs (うずら玉子) - three is better than one.

Deep-fried sweet potato (フライドさつまいも) - one of my favorite dishes from last time.  These come with really crunchy exteriors and really soft interiors.

Chicken wings (手羽唐揚げ) - also an old favorite.  I didn't bother trying to figure out what was in that dressing, but it just tasted so damn good!

Sillago (鱚) - very fluffy inside.

Chicken breast with wasabi (ささみわさび) - the wasabi mayo was mild and had just the right amount of kick to it.

Scallop with tartar and salmon roe (ほたてタルタルいくら) - this was DA BOMB.  Somehow I missed out on this last time, so I made sure I got one tonight.  That delicious whole scallop was breaded and deep-fried, then sandwiched between two layers of tartar sauce with egg white, and finally topped with some salmon roe.  The salmon roe had really "crunchy" skin that popped with surprisingly strong force.

The whole thing was really, really delicious.  But I made the mistake of dropping a few of the salmon roe onto the floor.  Boo hoo...

Kelp with herring roe (子持ち昆布) - I loved this on my last visit, so I wanted it again.  So delicious... and I love the crunchy and springy sensation as I bit into the cube of roe.

Oyster (かき) - this was very good, too... and I'm usually not big on fried oysters (かきフライ).

Pork shoulder (豚肩ロース) - can't say no to one of the best cuts of pork...

Ochatsuke with whitebait ( しらすお茶漬け) - when I found out that they put seasonal whitebait (しらす) over the ochatsuke (お茶漬け), I just had to have some... but shared a bowl with V.  Simple, straightforward, delicious.

I was pretty devastated when told that they didn't have any house made pudding tonight, as I was really looking forward to trying some.  Hopefully there will be some on my next visit.

The main focus for tonight was actually on wine, so we each brought a bottle of Burgundy to dinner.  We knew the restaurant wouldn't have nice crystal stemware, and the thought of bringing my own glassware did cross my mind... but in the end we just used whatever the restaurant provided.

2004 Domaine Leflaive Chevalier-Montrachet - CORKED.  Pretty grassy and green.  With some coaxing came a little toasty oak, a little sweetness.  Nice acidity on the palate.

2006 Christophe Roumier Charmes-Chambertin aux Mazoyeres - opened for an hour prior to serving.  Lovely sweet fruit here with nice forest notes, and the wine gained weight in glass.  Nice balance but lacking concentration.

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