November 30, 2018

When a chef makes you cry

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A friend was kind enough to pick up a bottle of gin for Hello Kitty while on a trip to London, and we agreed to meet up for lunch so that I could take delivery.  Sushi Shin (鮨辰) is a place he frequents, and since I had only been there once back in 2010, I was happy to catch up with him there.

My friend arrived a few minutes before I did, and I found him seated at the counter.  I imagine the chef already knows what he goes for, and he's informed the chef about my no-tuna policy.  Off we go with some sashimi.

Young yellowtail (ハマチ) - smoked with cherry wood.

Splendid alfonsino (金目鯛) - torched.

Monkfish liver (鮟肝) - always love how creamy and rich this is.

Botan shrimp (牡丹海老) - from Hokkaido, and served with a sauce made of its own tomalley.

Bonito (鰹) - smoked with straw, and skin was torched.  The minced garlic on top was pretty damn strong.  Very nice otherwise.

Salad - just some greens taken with the sesame sauce (胡麻タレ).

Then came the sushi part of the meal.  Looking back at my one and only visit years ago, I actually didn't have any sushi!

Pacific saury (秋刀魚) - nice and fatty.

Madai (真鯛) - this was the first sense that I got which showed me the chef uses more wasabi than I'm used to.  My friend had reminded the chef that he doesn't want wasabi on his sushi.

Ark shell (赤貝)

Sweet shrimp (甘海老)

Sea urchin (雲丹) - pretty decent.

Rosy seabass (黒睦) - pretty nice, and came with spring onions and grated radish (おろし).

Flounder wing (縁側) - torched to melt the collagen.  So yum.

Calabash roll (干瓢巻き) - the chef had temporarily forgotten my no-tuna policy, and made a whole fatty tuna and scallion roll (ネギトロ巻き) for the two of us to share.  After he realized his mistake, my friend took the entire roll and the chef made me a substitute - although I would argue that I got the short end of the stick with this particular substitution...

The roll was cut into four pieces.  I took half of the first piece in one bite, and immediately my sinuses got cleared.  The chef had put so much wasabi (or was it a mixture of wasabi and horseradish?) that I couldn't taste anything else.  By the time I finished the first piece, I was hard time paying attention to whatever my friend was saying to me.

I decided to try a second piece.  Same thing.  The kick of the wasabi just built up cumulatively, and by this time my eyes were starting to water and I tried very hard to focus to stop tears from coming out.  I also tried not to show any sign of the pain I was feeling.  I took another bite of piece #3 and gave up.

Egg (卵)

(Coffee and almond?) ice cream

Had it not been for the massive fuck up with the wasabi at the end, this would have been a perfectly decent meal.  The style is very local and not really Edomae (江戸前) or other Japanese style, but I knew that going in.  Unfortunately, I just can't forgive this FAIL with the wasabi... as I just couldn't believe that any seasoned chef could have slipped up so badly.

But hey, the restaurant has been a local favorite ever since it opened, and has done very well without my business all these years, so why the fuck does my opinion matter?

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