April 6, 2019

Shrimp among the waves

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Chili Shrimp Girl Big Head Shrimp is in town and much to my surprise, Hello Kitty invited me to join their catch-up session.  While I was hoping they would pick another venue I have kinda been missing, we ended up at Ronin... which is a place I'm happy to return to any day.

We decided not to do the market tasting menu and cherry-picked from the menu.  This way we could get the dishes we really wanted without being stuffed.

Pickled Japanese bamboo, shiso salt, lime

Awabe abalone sashimi, kimo, spring onion, ginger - ummm... I think it's 'awabi'.  With lovely citrus flavors.  Surprisingly the liver sauce wasn't too heavy.  Delish.

Itoyori threadfin bream sashimi, garlic chips, spring onion - nice and smoky from being torched.

Gindara black cod sashimi, garlic, shio konbu, sesame - not something one usually sees served raw as sashimi.  The cod came in very thick cuts, and they were soft and wobbly.  The fermented black garlic on top was nice and sweet.

Flower crab, uni, mitsuba, sudachi - I learned from my previous visits that one order of this is never enough, so we got two of these for the three of us.  There's a reason this has been the signature dish for a long time... because how could anyone not like this?!  I do have to say, though, that I didn't think there was any mitsuba (三つ葉) in the mix tonight.

Ebi shrimp, hotate scallop, shiso leaf tempura, tensu - this was kinda interesting... shrimp and scallop paste wrapped in perilla leaves and deep-fried as tempura.  The tsuyu (つゆ) came with wasabi and spring onions.

Razor clams, smoked bacon, nasu, garlic panko gratin - this turned out surprisingly good.  The razor clams had that nice and crunchy, springy texture.  The marinated eggplant delivered some acidity, which helped to balance out that beautiful smoked bacon.  The panko (パン粉) on top added more crunch.

Kagoshima beef burger, monaka, shiso, tomato miso - I was really curious about the guys using monaka (最中) to make a burger, even though I've never been a fan of wagyu burgers myself.  Sure the patty was juicy.  Too juicy, in fact... but that has always been the problem with using fatty Japanese beef in burgers.  Too soft, and all the liquefied fat just ends up dripping down and making a mess.  The shredded perilla leaves are interesting, as was the tomato miso, but I felt the use of monaka was too contrived.

Kagoshima beef, negi, maitake, sukiyaki egg yolk - can't leave here without ordering this up.  The beef was as tender and beautiful as I remembered, and that sweet sukiyaki sauce, the maitake (舞茸), the deep-fried garlic chips, the chiffonade of leeks... all worked so well together with the single egg yolk.  I really need to order one of these just for myself.

Udon, chorizo, chilli leaves, tomato miso - another one of my favorites here... The udon has amazing texture, and that combination of umami and acidity in the tomato miso is just about perfect.  Chorizo adds just the right amount of spice.  This was so good that Hello Kitty wanted me to ask Matt for the tomato miso recipe...

Hello Kitty had returned from Kyoto with a few bottles of local sake, and I decided to bring one of them to dinner tonight.

Eikun Junmai Daiginjo Ichigin (英勲 純米大吟醸 一吟) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 35%.  The fermented flavors on the palate were a little strong.  Slightly dry but elegant, so definitely tanrei (淡麗).  Banana notes in the nose for sure.  Serving it colder meant it became more elegant and less of the fermented notes.

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