November 5, 2018

Eating with chefs: Neighborhood Goh

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Having returned from my short trip back home, it was time to hit a couple of my favorite places with chefs visiting from Japan.  The Great One wanted to take Goh-san (from La Maison de la Nature Goh) out while on his first trip to Hong Kong, and she kindly invited me to tag along to Neighborhood.  I had met Goh-san on three previous occasions when he was collaborating with Gaggan at the GohGan events, but I had never dined at his restaurant in Fukuoka.  Alongside a couple of other new friends, there would also be another chef whose restaurant has earned a place on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants, which I have also not dined in...

The menu, of course, was omakase, and I was looking for The Man in White T-shirt to pull some rabbits out of the hat.

Culatello di zibello "Massimo Spigaroli"

Saucisson de "Noire de Bigorre" 

Monkfish liver bouillabaisse - I love it when I get bouillabaisse here!  Tonight the distinctive flavors of fennel stood out, and just look at that chunk of monkfish liver!

Steamed local shrimp - Hello Kitty was ecstatic when these small cocottes were brought out, as they were filled with different types of shrimp from local waters.  I actually like my shrimp on the small side, so these were just perfect for me.

Smoked eel potato salad / white truffle - this has become a staple on the menu over the last few months, and of course shaving white truffle on top doesn't hurt. 

Fried Padron peppers / pepper jack - I still haven't had a spicy one, after having Padrón peppers here numerous times.  Maybe that's why the kitchen sprinkled piment d'espelette on top of the pepper jack cheese...

One could not possibly miss the tray of fresh porcini sitting on the bar counter.  To quote Luke Skywalker: "Look at the size of that thing!"

Porcini / roe deer - a nice combination of fresh, thin slices of porcini with carpaccio-like slices of roe deer that has been slightly cooked around the edges.

Salt-baked virgin mud crabs - The Great One practically squealed with delight when she saw these...

... because having virgin crabs meant the abundant roe is still soft.  Come to think of it, I did forget the check the bellies of the crabs to confirm...  In any case, these were damn tasty and sweet.

Deep-fried porcini - breaded and deep-fried.  Still succulent and fragrant. 

Porcini / abalone - so, so good!  The chunks of abalone were pan-fried, and they were nice and tender while retaining their bite.  How interesting that sansho leaves (木の芽) were used!

The plates came with a pan-fried egg with sunny side up - and would you look at that reddish-orange color of the yolk!  There was some 'mystery meat' underneath the egg, which really did make The Great One squeal with excitement.  Then we had more white truffle shaved on top of the whole thing.  Yum.

Salted baked Coucou de Renne - normally the salt-baked chicken uses local Ping Yuen chicken (平原雞), but The Man in White T-shirt decided to do something different today and used a French import instead.  The texture seemed a little firmer.  As usual this was served over a bed of rice, and today we've got chestnuts and girolles in addition to the giblets - all served with a creamy sauce and shaved white truffle on top.  This was as good as any other time I've had the dish, but I could only manage to take in one piece of chicken...

Tarte tatin - I skipped the truffle Brie and Comté so I could have a little bit of room for this beautiful tarte tatin, accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Those of us who are winos brought a few bottles to dinner. We were surprisingly civil...

2007 Mugnier Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Clos de la Maréchale, en magnum - cool fruit, a little on the lean side.

1990 von Schubert Maximin Grünhäuser Abstberg Riesling Spätlese - very ripe and mature but still fresh, with good acidity.  Sweetish on the palate, and a little round and almost viscous.

2012 Olivier Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Folatières, en magnum - nice and toasty, with mineral notes.  Some ripeness on the palate.

2014 Ganevat Grusse en Billat - beautiful wine, with mineral and pear notes.  Good acidity here.

2001 Kracher Scheurebe Trockenbeerenauslese No. 9 Zwischen den Seen, from half-bottle - fragrant with honey, orange blossom, and marmalade notes.  Very rich and sweet, but there's some acidity here.

Goh-san sneaked away to take care of the bill at the end of dinner. When we found out what he had done, two of us had to explain to him - me in my broken Japanese - that Chinese people get upset when others (especially visitors) sneakily pay for the bill.  We thanked him for his generosity (and for his yummy omiyage (お土産) from Fukuoka) but told him sternly not to do it again.

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