November 27, 2017

Week of drunkenness: kaiseki with French reds

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As the end of the year approaches, we are also counting down towards the last couple of our MNSC dinners.  Tonight Juliano a.k.a. Mr Mars graciously hosted us at Kaiseki Den by Saotome (懐石  さおとめ) - which re-branded and moved from his original location earlier this year.  I haven't been back to the restaurant for a long time, and was pretty happy about having the chance to come back.

Kobako crab with chrysanthemum julienne, yuzu (先付:香箱蟹菊花ジュレ) - I'm bound to get exceited any time I get something served in a crab shell...

Inside you've got meat of the snow crab (ズワイ蟹), along with some tomalley (蟹味噌), ovaries (内子), as well as the eggs (外子).  We've also got a some wasabi as well as plenty of refreshingly delicious chrysanthemum jelly and fragrant yuzu (柚子) zest.  And some kelp.  This was quite a plate of delicacies!

BTW there are some serious translation FAILs on the menu tonight.  "ジュレ" is "gelée", not julienne...

Ox tongue, lily bulb with kikuna sauce truffle (牛舌百合根和え 菊菜ソース  トリュフ) - the little cubes of beef tongue were pretty nice, encased in some lily bulb mash.  The starchy chrysanthemum greens sauce was kinda interesting.  Of course, when you top it all with some white truffle shaved with Microplane...

Wagyu sirloin, awafu with sesame julienne, chive (牛サーロインと粟麩  胡麻ジュレ  浅葱) - the sirloin was, of course, delicious.  Served with acidic sesame gelée that was like the typical Japanese sesame sauce (ごまだれ).  The foxtail millet gluten (粟麩) buried at the bottom was interesting.

Bowl : wagyu tenderloin, mushroom, leek, myuga, kinoko (椀物:北海道  香深浜産蔵囲利尻昆布  和牛ヒレ葛打 茸  白髮葱 打茗荷  木の芽) - the dashi (出汁) made with kelp from Kafukahama (香深浜) was nice and delicate.  The tenderloin slices were delish, and the accompanying leeks, myoga (茗荷), and sansho leaves (木の芽) provided the aromatics.

And yes, I counted 2 translation FAILs here.

Sashimi : wagyu sashimi (造り:牛刺身) - very nice.

Duckmeat tartar, caviar (鴨タルタル  キャビア) - the cubes of duck tartare on the bottom half of a monaka (最中) were actually slightly cooked and not completely raw.  This was topped with a sauce made with egg yolk, along with a little bit of caviar.

This also came with a mix of chestnut and tofu.

Sushi : wagyu sirloin, wagyu tenderloin with truffle, caviar (鮨:牛サーロイン  ヒレ  トリュフとキャビア) - a trio of raw beef sushi...

Tenderloin with burdock (牛蒡) - I was originally wondering if those were diced black truffles on top...

Tenderloin with caviar - the rice was seasoned with vinegar.

Sirloin with truffle - what's not to love about white truffle shavings on top of Japanese beef?

Chef Saotome's sukiyaki style (旬菜:すきやき Saotome スタイル) - can't remember what kind of sauce was poured on top, but this was fairly smoky... with crunchy little bits of onions and leeks under the beef.

Charcoal grilled Nozaki chateaubriand variety of vegetables (主菜:野崎牛シャトーブリアン炭焼き) - as the main course of this kaiseki meal, this was a pretty damn big piece of Japanese beef...

Perfect doneness.  Very, very tender... 

This sandwich is never on the menu and needs to be pre-ordered, but I have always, always loved the fresh tomato sauce that comes with the beef.  Yum!

Wagyu tenderloin, sea urchin with white truffle rice served with pickles and miso soup (食事:牛ヒレと海栗  白トリュフ  土鍋ご飯) -

Got some white truffles...

Shavin' it on top of the rice...  Of course, the fragrance is wonderful.

Had a second bowl of the rice with onsen egg (温泉卵).  Very yum, too.

Chef selection dessert (甘味:シェフセレクション  デザート) -
First we start with some fruit... The pear was pretty nice, same with the muscat.  The persimmon, though, was much darker than I had expected.

The chestnut ice cream was pretty good.

Warabimochi (わらび餅) - covered in kinako (きな粉) and wrapped in leaf.

Ever the generous host, Juliano treated us to a stunning lineup of wines, including a couple of legendary vintages.

1990 Coche-Dury Meursault 1er Cru Perrières - a little savory minerals on the nose, with toast, a little marmalade, note quite grassy sweetness.  Still ripe and sweet on the palate, and quite soft.  Lovely wine.

First pair: decanted for 1 hour and 50 minutes prior to serving.
1982 Figeac - beautiful nose, ripe and sweet, a little smoky, a little grassy.  95 points.

1982 Canon - green pepper, almost pencil lead.  Cooler and greener than the Figeac, more herbaceous.  Herbaceous notes disappeared with second pour.  94 points.

Second pair: opened without decanting 2½ hours prior to serving.
1961 La Mission Haut-Brion - sweet, lovely grassy notes, smoky, beautiful.  Some spices, lovely wood notes.  A little funk but dissipated, and some shoe polish notes.  98 points.

1975 La Mission Haut-Brion - medicinal, more muted, a little ripe, almost dirty and cloudy, a little more tannic.  92 points.

Third pair: opened without decanting 3 hours prior to serving.
1996 Domaine Leroy Romanée-Saint-Vivant - really sweet, floral, lovely, with plenty of acidity.  95 points.

1996 Domaine Leroy Chambertin - intially a little more dirty and cloudy.  Second pour was better with much more sweet fruit.  95 points.

Fourth pair: decanted 4 hours prior to serving.
1989 Haut-Brion - smoky, a little pencil lead.  Showed some nice fruit later.  93 points.

1989 Guigal La Landonne - not very open at first.  A little funky and rubbery.  Second pour a little alcoholic.  93 points.

A really awesome evening. Great food and fantastic wines. What a way to kick off the week!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Your posts constantly entertain me as I toil away in my job in cold, cold Canada - the posts about Cantonese cuisine are my favourite and I always bemoan the lack of true quality Cantonese cooking in Toronto. There are a few restaurants that provide decent quality dim sum and evening cuisine, but as a certain friend and fellow Canadian follower would say, nothing compares to Hong Kong.


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