April 7, 2017

Fireflies in the Neighborhood

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It's been a couple of months since I last paid a visit to Neighborhood, and a few of my friends have been posting about their meals on social media.  I've been drooling over the firefly squids (蛍烏賊) from Toyama Prefecture (富山県) in particular, so I hurriedly begged for a couple of seats at the bar for a quick dinner tonight.

Fried white asparagus / wild garlic aioli - white asparagus is in season again, and I really loved this dish from last year.  The crunchy coating of bread crumbs sure was tasty, as were the spears of asparagus themselves.  That wild garlic aioli?  DA BOMB.

Black truffle chicken wings - how can we say 'no' to chicken wings, especially when there were black truffle shavings on top???  Finger-lickimg good.

Beef tripe gratin - I was tempted by this dish, but didn't order it because I didn't think we had enough room for it.  Well, The Man in White T-shirt decided that we should have it, anyway...

And I was ever so thankful to him for having made that decision for me.  The trippa was DELICIOUS.  Got that nice kick on the back end which left my taste buds tingling a little...

Toyama firefly squid / Hokkaido sea urchin risotto - as the song of summer 2016 said... "This is what you came for".  And boy, was I happy that I came for this!!!

The risotto was nice and al dente.  The sea urchin sweet and creamy.  And those firefly squids... they just exploded with flavors of the ocean once I bit into them.  The finely chopped chives and black pepper worked really, really well with the dish.

The mistake we made?  We should have cut out one of the other dishes and ordered two of these - so that we both could have a bowl to ourselves!

Australian wagyu flap steak / bone marrow jus - Hello Kitty needed some ro ro, and this turned out to be perfect.

The flap steak was perfectly cooked. It was tender, juicy, and full of beefy flavors. The bone marrow on top didn't hurt, either...  Someone was happy.

We really didn't have room for dessert, and just made do with canelés.  Yum!

This being a casual dinner and all, I brought a simple bottle that I'd been cellaring for more than a decade for casual drinking.

2001 Ojai Vineyard Syrah Roll Ranch Vineyard - served 45 minutes after opening.  A little closed at first.  Kinda sweet and minty.  Lots more sweet fruit came out after about 75 minutes.

Very satisfied and soooooo happy that we decided to unwind here on a Friday night.

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