July 20, 2019

Sake, wine, and ro ro

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Mr and Mrs Birdiegolf took a trip to Okinawa and ended up having a rare experience - a terrible meal in Japan.  Their dinner at yakiniku (焼肉) joint was so bad that Hello Kitty suggested that we hit Nikushou when they came back to Hong Kong.  The Birdiegolfs happily took up the suggestion, and Hello Kitty promptly reached out to her new best friend for the arrangements.

We left everything up to RAW Meat Bro, who was kind enough to save us a few special cuts of meat for our tasting menu.

Our amuse bouche were steamed Taiwanese bamboo shoots with mentaiko (明太子) sauce.  Not bad with the sauce, and the sansho leaves (木の芽) were a nice touch.

Cold steamed abalone with watershield (蒸しアワビとジュンサイ) - the South African abalone was decent and came with a nice balance of chewiness and tenderness.  The taro stem (芋茎) was crunchy and airy as expected, and the watershield (蓴菜) provided that slippery playfulness.  Myoga (茗荷) chiffonade added some crunch and fragrance.  Also got a nice hint of yuzu (柚子).

Pike conger eel and freshwater crab tempura (鱧の紫蘇巻き  沢蟹の天ぷら) - this was a little surprise.  The pike conger (鱧) was rolled up with perilla leaves and stuffed with plum sauce before getting the tempura treatment.  Shishito peppers (獅子唐辛子) were pretty nice, and I wasn't expecting to see Japanese river crab (沢蟹) being served as a tempura... with crab roe coming out.

2 types of seasonal sashimi (本日の刺身2品) - we've got pink sea urchin (赤雲丹) and striped beakfish (石鯛).  The latter came in thick cuts and had a pretty nice crunch.

Summer vegetable stew (夏野菜の煮物) - we have Manganji peppers (満願寺唐辛子) at the top, winter melon, taro (小芋), pumpkin, and some inexplicable chunk of kamo eggplant (賀茂茄子) that had been pickled.

Premium wagyu 5 cuts (特選和牛5品) - so there are (only!) 5 different cuts of Japanese beef, but I guess it makes for a more balanced meal.

Deep-fried Yonezawa filet cutlet, from Yamagata Prefecture (山形県産米沢牛ヒレカツ) - this was a lot smaller than I had expected...

but oh-so-soft and slippery...  Very, very yum.

RAW Bro has decided to only serve ox tongue (牛タン) as thick cuts now.  I didn't ask him where these came from.

This was sooooo awesome! Nicely charred and crunchy on the outside, but the interior was still so soft and slippery.

Yonezawa eye of knuckle (米沢牛シンシン) - this cut was chosen for its relatively low level of marbling, but it's easy to see that there was still plenty of fat to make it tasty.

RAW Bro asked us how we wanted it done, and we all said that we didn't mind it being on the raw side.  In fact, I told him that I take my beef bleu when in France.

Well... it looked beautiful, and we loved the big beefy flavors in our mouths, but... it was just too chewy and tough.  Someone complained about their jaws being sore after chewing...  I guess next time we need it a little more done.

Kobe top shoulder blade (神戸牛ミスジ) - always one of my favorite cuts.  Comes from 33-month cattle.

Very nicely done medium on one side, and nicely seasoned.

Hida chuck flap (飛騨牛ザブトン) - love that marbling.  Wonderful how tender and springy this was.

Kumamoto sirloin (熊本県産サーロイン) - and now comes what RAW Bro and his staff refer to as "house signature (招牌)"...

This is served over rice with a little bit of egg yolk and sauce.  Slurp.

Mini Hida beef tendon curry rice (飛騨牛筋カレーライス) - I saw this on the menu and decided that I JUST HAD TO HAVE IT.  Any time you put beef tendons in curry, I'm soooo there!  It was tasty for sure, but methinks there was just waaaaay too much rice.

Green tea jelly with milk ice cream - Hello Kitty made an executive decision to order this for me while I left the table.  Not bad la...

Seasonal fruits - this was actually much more up my alley. Very ripe and sweet peach, watermelon, and very, very ripe Yubari King melon (夕張キングメロン).

Considering that there were just 4 of us, I think we did pretty well in terms of bottle damage. Of course, we did share some with RAW Bro and also Ro Ro, who came to join us for a drink or two.

Ohmine Junmai Ginjo 2grain (大嶺純米吟醸2粒) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 48%.  Smooth, soft on the palate, slight hint of dryness, and some fermented flavors.

Ohmine Junmai Daiginjo 1grain (大嶺純米大吟醸1粒) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 38%.  Smooth, softer on the palate than 2grain, but actually surprisingly dry and spicy.

2004 Harlan The Maiden - decanted for a little more than one hour.  So sweet and full of blackcurrants, like blackcurrant Fruitips.  A little earthy, a little smoky, which gradually emerged.

2014 Ulysses - decanted for almost 2 hours.  Very alcoholic, lots of iron rust, a bit of dried herbs, a bit of smoke.  Definitely sweet on the nose and on the palate.  Very oaky, eucalyptus, and waaaaaay overripe.

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