December 28, 2019

The path continues

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I'm back home spending Christmas with the Parental Units, which I haven't done in a few years.  Much to my surprise, mom suggested that we go out for dinner one night.  I guess she felt that she's been keeping dad on a pretty tight leash over the last few months... and he deserved a little break.  Hello Kitty figured that sushi might be the best fit for mom's dietary requirements, so I booked us a few seats at the counter at Yu Dow Son (魚道生) - my old favorite during the year I moved back to Taipei.

The place was just as I remembered, and the four of us were seated at the corner of the L-shaped counter.  Chef Liu Ji An (劉技安) still mans the counter and makes almost all the pieces.  And the place still has flower arrangements, as one of the owners is apparently a florist.  In fact, the restaurant is named after a type of ikebana (生花) arrangement called gyodoike (魚道生).

Mom was treating us to this dinner, so we decided to forgo the regular set menus and took the basic level omakase.

Olive flounder (鮃) - presented as petals of a rose, and sprinkled with ground shrimp as if it were snow.

Striped jack (縞鯵) - from the belly.  Nice thickness delivered some crunch.

Splendid alfonsino (金目鯛) - torched and served with balsamico.

I used to think their appetizer platters were the weakest part of their menu.  I no longer feel that way.

Razor clams (マテ貝) - with a little mayo?  Very tender.

Sea bream (鯛) - with a sweet and sour sauce not unlike the ones we see with Thai fried/grilled chicken.

Squid, Prawn, and abalone (イカ  海老  鮑) - the thick cut of the cuttlefish was nice as it was a little firm, and came with a layer of sea urchin paste.  The prawn came with a little mentaiko (明太子) that had been torched.  The abalone was very tender.

Sailfin poacher (八角) - an artistic presentation of this interesting fish from Hokkaido.  The flakes are made of glutinous rice and salt, and are meant to evoke images of snow flakes.

Also served with perilla flowers, shaved yuzu (柚子) zest, and a dab of wasabi.

Salmon roe (イクラ) - from Hokkaido, served with shaved yuzu zest as usual.

This were fresh and not marinated with too much salt, so the membranes were still firm and the eggs required more effort to pop.

North Pacific giant octopus (水蛸) suckers - salted and grilled.  Tender in parts but the suckers themselves are crunchy.  Very nice.

There was a trio presented on shaved ice inside a pen shell, but alas, they did not include the meat of the pen shell itself...  There were some Okinawan sea grapes (海ぶどう) on top.

North Pacific giant octopus (水蛸) - a section of the tentacle.  Nice and chewy as always.

Scallop (帆立貝)

Japanese whelk (海螺貝) - crunchy and lightly torched.

I didn't think that we'd be getting bluefin tuna so I didn't mention it to the chef.  What came next were two slices of what I normally avoid...

Medium fatty tuna (中トロ) - from a bluefin...

This piece comes from the top of the tuna's head, and is referred to as 腦天.  Marinated with minced ginger and soy sauce.

Grilled broadbanded thornyhead (焼き喜知次) - always happy to have kinki, especially when it's grilled.  So tender and juicy.  That chestnut on the side was incredibly sweet...

Finally, we move to the nigiri (握り) portion of our dinner.

Squid (烏賊) - as always, chef made sure to tell his guests that each piece of squid has been scored 60 to 80 times, top and bottom.  This is the reason why it's very, very soft... Actually the texture was almost like a mochi (餅).  Interesting that the shari (シャリ) was very warm, and chef insists that the guests eat each piece within 3 seconds.

Filefish (皮剥) - with its own liver on top.  With some asatsuki (浅葱) between the shari and the neta (ネタ).

Japanese green sea urchin (馬糞雲丹) - from Takizawa Seafood (滝澤水産) in Hokkaido.  Very creamy and just melted in the mouth.

Yellowtail belly (鰤トロ) - nicely scored and torched.  So soft and fatty it melted in the mouth.  With a slice of marinated kombu (昆布) on top.

Sardine (鰯) - very, very fatty and melt in the mouth.

Lean tuna (赤身) - marinated, of course.  What was unexpected was the scoring.  From Oma (大間).

Clam soup - pretty nice.

Apple tiramisu

Kaze no Mori Petit (風の森 Petit), 31BY - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 50%.  Lots of melon.  Sweet on the palate but a little dry on the back end.  After a while there was more depth on the palate.

Pretty good meal. I'm glad I came back after all these years.  This certainly isn't on the same level as the top places in Tokyo, but I'm always happy here.

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