March 20, 2018

Buried by the wave

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No Fish is back in town for a few days, and I was glad to have a chance to catch up with her.  It's been a while since we were both at Ronin, so it seemed like a good opportunity to revisit.  I also roped Hello Kitty into this dinner, at No Fish's request...

We took the first seating and decided to go for the "market tasting".  Previous experience tells me that we'd get pretty full.

Kale flower, dashi, yuzu - this was OK.

Kumamoto oyster, mozuku, apple, ginger vinegar - to my great surprise, the Kumamoto oyster was a lot more briny than I'm normally used to.  The mozuku (モズク) was nice, and the green apple purée on top delivered a hint of sweetness and acidity - which melded very well with the briny flavors.

As usual, there was a platter of sashimi...

Shima aji striped jack sashimi, wasabi, soy

Kanpachi amber jack sashimi, sesame, negi soy - the finely diced leeks were marinated in soy sauce, which toned down the spicy kick.  There was also a nice hint of sesame.

Hobou sea robin sashimi, daikon, ponzu, yuzu kosho - the yuzu kosho (柚子胡椒) was surprisingly mild.

Akagai arkshell clam sashimi, kizami wasabi, cucumber, soy

Botan ebi spot prawn sashimi, sudachi, salt - the flavors of perilla (紫蘇) here were pretty delicate.

Botan ebi head, deep-fried - deep-fried prawn heads are always tasty.

Next came the signature dish from which No Fish got her original name Mo' Unni - flower crab, uni, mitsuba, sudachi.  This was simply decadent, with the sweet and creamy tongues of sea urchin melting in the mouth right on top of the sweet flower crab meat.  Sudachi (酢橘) added a little acidity to pick things up, while mitsuba (三ツ葉) added some texture.  Mo' Unni was pretty happy, although I was surprised that we didn't order an extra one.

Aji tartare - in a sesame dressing, with plenty of spring onions and minced ginger - which is, of course, the classic condiment paired with horse mackerel (鯵).

This came with purple chips, which were pretty tasty.

Tua Tua clams, surf clams, turnip, garlic miso - the turnip came with its greens, which were not surprisingly a little bitter.  The Tua Tua clams were OK, and the surf clams provided a more chewy texture.  The whole thing came in some kind of lemon butter (although we were told it was garlic miso), which worked perfectly well with all the different flavors.

Cuttlefish tempura, nori, uni, sea salt - the cuttlefish was wrapped with nori (海苔) before being battered and deep-fried.  The sweet and creamy sea urchin worked well with the tempura, although I wasn't sure that the little dab of wasabi on top was necessary.  Needless to say, Mo' Unni approved of the dish.

Katsuo tataki, king oyster mushrooms, daikon, olive - the bonito was smoked and lightly grilled.  Very tender.  Served on top of a slice of king oyster mushroom that had been cooked sous vide before charcoal grilled.  Topped with grated daikon (大根) and pickled olive, which added a nice dose of acidity.  Pretty good.

Quail, orange, sansho - another staple on the menu.  The quail was pretty tender on the inside, although a little less pink than before.  The hint of orange was always interesting, but the sansho (山椒) was pretty mild.  Still very tasty, but the ladies decided to raise their white flags at this point...

Unagi chirashi, kinome, pickled cucumber, sesame - the end of the tasting menu brings us to a mini unaju (鰻重).  This was interesting because they added some pickled cucumber to the rice, which brought some acidity and made me feel a little better about the amount of food I was stuffing into myself at this point...

I was very full, but I saw something on the menu that I just couldn't pass up.

Udon, wild shrimp, chorizo, tomato miso - the udon used to be a bit of rarity here, as the guy Matt sources it from in Fukuoka didn't give him a steady supply.  I just looooove the texture of it... with lots of bite.  Tonight this came with some shrimp and slices of very salty chorizo.  The tomato miso delivered lots of umami, while what seemed like finely diced Chinese chives (韭菜) added some crunch in the mouth.  But I really was stuffed... so I took a couple of mouthfuls and packed the rest of it home.

We only had a short time to catch up during our 2-hour seating, but I was happy to see No Fish.  Hopefully I'll get to catch up with her again soon.

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