September 30, 2017

Who moved my cheese?!

Pin It

Mikacina's back in town again, and this time around she made a couple of requests far in advance.  First and foremost on her list was Neighborhood.  She had long heard about it from The Great One and myself, and when DaRC also told her about it while we were in Seoul, it was clear that she needed to see for herself why it is that we're all big fan of The Man in White T-shirt.

So... about 6 hours after Hello Kitty and I started drinking - seemingly without a break in between - and after hosting the gang at our new place for a few hours, we showed up en masse at arguably my favorite restaurant in town.  The people from the first seating had cleared out by now, and we were ready for some real food!  Although I wasn't feeling particularly hungry after nibbling on snacks for the previous 6 hours...

Per SOP we gave carte blanche to The Man in White T-shirt, and fully expected to be stuffed halfway through dinner...

First order of business was picking out a white truffle from Langhe.  The Man in White T-shirt had, in fact, put aside a particularly fragrant and large one for us.  As it was placed atop the scale, we could see it weighed more than 108 grams.  That's a pretty decent size for the eight of us.  And the fragrance was pretty amazing, considering that it's so early in the season.

Aged Rangers Valley beef / melon / truffle - the dry-aged beef from Rangers Valley - marinated in Chiuchow master stock (滷水) and rubbed with black truffle - was once again very, very delish.  That it was served with a piece of sweet melon was a stroke of genius. 

Galician octopus / potato salad - the octopus was very, very tender, with lovely smoky flavors.  There was more than meets the eye when it came to this potato salad, and I rather enjoyed this.

Salami / culatello - always delish.  Cured pork fat.  Mmmm...

Hokkaido fruit tomato carpaccio / Hokkaido salmon roe / plum salt - we've had the fruit tomato with plum salt before, but tonight there's a little bit of house-cured sujiko (筋子) from Hokkaido on top.  Thanks to the addition of the cured sujiko - which is normally not cured and therefore has lighter flavors without the salt - the dish became slightly on the salty side.

Padron peppers / cheddar

Gooseneck barnacles - after a couple of episodes of having had some with plenty of sand inside, I've grown a little wary of these little buggers.  I took just one tonight, and it was OK.

Aquitaine beef / Aquitaine oyster tartare / Kyushu sea urchin - very decadent... with sea urchin AND oyster.  A marriage of France and Japan.  What's not to like?!

Foie gras / beef tongue / girolle mushroom - this was REALLY good... I took one of the corners so I could have more foie and leave more tongue to the others.  Sooooo smooth.  Next time I come, I'm taking at least half a slice instead of just 1/8...

Baby lobsters / aioli - this was a total surprise.  We were amazed at how small these local rock lobsters were... and wondered whether they should have been caught and eaten at all...

This was "medium" in size... The flesh was, of course, delicious and sweet.  Surprisingly, though, I didn't care for the tomalley.

Rocket salad / buffalo burrata - nice and creamy burrata.  At this point The Man in White T-shirt came over and started shaving our white truffle...  There was a little incident during the shaving process, and as a result I failed to grab a video of it...

Fried Italian egg - there are few things that match white truffles better than eggs - whether scrambled or simply done sunny-side up.  These Italian eggs with their orange yolks were delicious.

Saute girolle mushroom / escargot - it's no surprise that this dish worked perfectly with the truffle... with all the mushrooms and earthy escargot in the bowl.  I stayed away from those cloves of garlic...

Black truffle chicken wings - perennial favorite here.  Caramelized skin, crispy around the edges, perfume from the bits of black truffle...  In a word: YUM.

Hokkaido mussels - not bad at all!  Interestingly, though, instead of the usual moules marinières we have a creamy sauce that had a closer resemblance to yellow curry... thanks to spices like cumin and chili powder.

Salt baked ganbajun and truffle chicken / giblet rice - salt-baked chicken here is always something to behold, as the salt crust gets chipped away and the local chicken underneath is revealed... showing the slices of black truffle underneath the skin.

The chicken is then taken back to the kitchen, and finished with a bed of rice containing ganbajun (乾巴菌) mushrooms and giblets - including liver and - thanks to The Great One - more amourettes balls than you can shake a stick at.

Needless to say, with all that truffle on the table, some of it went on top of this dish as well.  In fact, I'm certain that we didn't shave nearly enough of it on top!  Nevertheless, this was very, very delicious.  It's just too bad that by this point, all of us were already pretty stuffed...  So a good chunk of this dish went into doggie bags...

Giant garoupa jaw / kokotxa - this was truly a sight to behold.  I had earlier seen The Man in White T-shirt dissect the collar and side fin of the same fish for our neighboring table, and here we have the lower jaw of a 90-something-catty (that would translate to 50-something kg) giant garoupa (龍躉).  As for the preparation, The Man in White T-shirt compared it with kokotxa - the Basque dish which uses the gelatinous flesh from fish jaws and emulsify with olive oil while adding parsley, garlic, and chili.

Incidentally, I have now figured out The Great One's current weight, as she referenced herself to this particular fish...

The Man in White T-shirt then made a great effort - with DaRC's help - to strip all the skin, flesh, and other gelatinous parts from the bones.

Thankfully there wasn't a whole lot left on the plate when they were finished, because we had no room for any more food.  But this was simply delectable!  I could never have imagined having kokotxa here... with local fish!

Vanilla ice cream - as we still had plenty of white truffle left, there was only one thing to be done - shaving it over scoops of vanilla ice cream.

With our fridge at home overflowing with mooncakes, Hello Kitty and I decided to bring a box of mini egg custard mooncakes (迷你酥皮奶黃月餅) from Hafie (哈妃) to share with everyone.  We asked the kitchen to warm up a few of them, and I think they went over pretty well.  I liked the texture of the handmade "skin", and the custard itself was very tasty - with more egg yolk flavor than many of the commercially available alternatives.


What would a gathering be without a few bottles? DaRC and I brought along a few bottles to help liven the conversation...

2000 Chartogne-Taillet - nose was very caramelized and oxidized, with savory minerals.

2012 Lucien Le Moine Corton Blanc - showeing really beautiful toasty nose, with lots of flint.

1985 Guigal Côte-Rôtie Brune et Blonde - nice and mature, showing good amount of sweet fruit, leather, and animal notes.

1997 Jaboulet La Chapelle - nice and smooth now, with good concentration and a bit of leather.

1993 Royal Tokaji Company Tokaji Aszu Essencia - throwing off an unbelievable amount of sediment.  Incredibly unctuous and viscous.  Really rich, with tons of honey and dried tangerine peel, and surprisingly high acidity to balance out the sugars.

What a feast! We were sooooo full... and had definitely overstayed our welcome. I'm glad we had a few friends who could join us while we entertained our visitor, and I'm also glad that I'll have a couple of days for my digestive system to take a break before my next heavy meal...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map