May 23, 2019

Neighborhood killer

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Mr. OAD is swinging through town after putting on his big event in San Sebastien, and he wanted to catch up with a few of his Facebook friends.  Naturally over a few meals.  One of those dinners would, of course, have to be at Neighborhood... as The Man in White T-shirt is also someone he wanted to meet.  So I asked the boss for a table and rounded up a few more accomplices to make sure we have a large enough party for the good stuff that inevitably would come our way.

What happened tonight was more than a feast.  It was the first real attempt by The Man in White T-shirt to commit murder... and there would have been multiple victims.

A quartet of charcuterie, with Basque saucisson "Noire de Bigorre"culatello di zibello "Massimo Spigaroli"pancetta, and what seemed to be air-dried beef which tasted of five spice or star anise.  Always wonderful to start with these, and tonight we were blessed with such variety!

Sardines / Jerez vinegar - O-M-G.  A home run right at the start.  The sardines from local waters were sooooo fatty... really like melt-in-your-mouth soft.  Besides olive oil we've also got vinagre de Jerez, and a generous sprinkle of chili flakes and parsley.  I wish I could have the stomach space to take the whole plate for myself.

Since Katie was sitting across from me, we talked about her shooting style and coined it "Katie style".  She does take some amazing pictures of food, and this, of course, is a poor attempt at copying her style.

Homemade bottarga / radish - always love these homemade bottarga, which are still moist and kinda sticks to the teeth a little.

Mochida tomato carpaccio / strawberries - both the strawberries and tomatoes come from Fukuoka.  The tomatoes from Mochida Farms (持田農園) were, as expected, very ripe and sweet.  There's a good amount of acidity here for balance, and some onions for texture.

Aquitaine beef tartare / caviar / bone marrow - you just can't lose with this dish.  The caviar and bone marrow combo is always going to be "DA BOMB", delivering fatty richness along with salty, "fishy" flavors.  The tartare comes in and helps tone some of that down while adding its own tastiness into the mix.  Spread all of that over some very well-made sourdough, and you have a winner.

Fried baby artichokes - these were really delicious, and came with a dip that reminded us of tapenade... but with some chili powder on top.

Buffalo chicken wings / Roquefort - nice and comforting.

Spicy beef tripe / scallop skirt - nice and spicy.  Always love the tripe here.

Boudin basque / fried egg / pickled peppers - underneath that big, fried egg with yolk oozing out was my favorite boudin basque.  I didn't ask the boss if he's still getting it from Christian Parra, but it was as tasty as ever.

Mactra antiquata / chorizo / teardrop peas - just look at those teardrop peas!  Soooo sweet!

These mactra antiquata/short-necked clams (貴妃蚌) from China were gigantic!  The texture was so tender and springy, they were actually kinda fun to chew on.  Flavor-wise they were also pretty sweet.  I really loved these!

Soupe de poisson / mandarin peel - I'm always a fan of the fish soup/bouillabaisse here, and tonight besides the mandarin peel I also thought I tasted some anise.  There was also a pretty big slice of fish that had curled up into a roll...

Salt-baked virgin mud crabs - these little swimmers from the Philippines made The Great One squeal with delight... Salt-baked as usual with Sichuan peppercorns to deliver a really lovely fragrance.

The usual question of "how can you tell it's a virgin" came up, of course... and once again I explained that you have to look at the apron, and females who have mated will have grown hairs around their apron - in addition to the apron itself changing shape from a more oval to a half moon.  Some at the table complained that my remark about the hairs was gross...

I didn't expect much crab meat, because it's the roe we're after.

Homemade tagliolini / sea urchin / bottarga / salted duck yolk - this... was unexpected... especially knowing there were still a couple of big main courses coming our way.  But seeing there's bottarga and sea urchin, I dutifully hoovered it up.  I did think, though, that the bitterness of the bottarga was a little more noticeable than I had expected.  The salted yolk also added a rather grainy texture, which contrasted with the soft and silky texture of the sea urchin.

Honey roasted eel / pickled onions / ginger - this was a surprise... I know that The Man in White T-shirt loves ordering honey glazed eel when dining out, but this was the first time I've seen him offering it here.  The slices of Chinese eel were skewered on rosemary sprigs, with bay leaves separating each piece.

The eel was pretty smoky, without much of the muddy flavors that I often find.  Love the honey glaze, and the acidity from the pickled onions and young ginger provided a nice counterbalance.

Salt baked chicken rice / flathead lobsters / morel / white asparagus - tonight the boss went back to using local Ping Yuen chicken (平原雞), but the surprise was that it came with flathead lobsters (琵琶蝦) along with some big ass stalks of white asparagus.  We had, of course, the usual morels in cream sauce, the rice, and the herbs... but the unexpected element was yellowed Chinese chives (韭黃).

Roast French baby lamb saddle - honestly, none of us could eat by the time this arrived.  Most of us had a hard time evening taking a few bites of the chicken rice, and then to see this plopped down on the table in front of us... it was just way, waaaay too much.  I nibbled on the smallest piece of rib right in front of me, and also nibbled on some broccolini.  We ended up taking most of the dish home...

I was too full too take in the tart tatin, but did have one of these delicious canelés.

DaRC and I brought along a few bottles:

2011 Domaine Roulot Meursault 1er Cru Clos des Bouchères - a little toasty, flinty, with high acidity.

2005 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge - more mineral, very ripe, but actually younger and fresher.

2006 Kongsgaard Chardonnay The Judge - initially served too warm so the nose was muted.  Lots of sugar cane, more oxidized nose, very ripe, and a little bitter on the palate.

1970 Marqués de Murrietta Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial, from magnum - opened for more than an hour without decanting.  Lovely and fragrant nose with strawberry and woodsy notes.

This was... completely overboard, as it always is whenever I'm lucky enough to be here.  Once again The Man in White T-shirt pulled out all the stops for us, although this time was probably more excessive than all the other times I can remember.  Very grateful to the boss for all the special goodies he got for us.

1 comment:

Derek said...

I went on Friday and it was delicious!


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