February 27, 2020

Supporting restaurants: eat and run

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It was almost 9 p.m. and I was finally getting ready to leave the office.  I was starving, and RAW Meat Bro had just posted some pictures of a new dish he was testing out.  I left a one-word comment: "Hungry", and within half an hour I found myself seated inside Nikushou.  When Hello Kitty found out I was grabbing some food there, she left her so-called dinner with a friend and joined me.

I told the boss I didn't need anything fancy, and I was happy to "eat and run".  He proposed a few simple dishes, most of which were new to me.

"Seasonal salad" - well, I do see some green stuff here, but in reality half the contents on the plate consisted of seafood.  Besides fava beans, rapeseed flowers (菜の花), Japanese angelica shoots (たらの芽), endives, and some fried bamboo shoots, we've also got some of my favorite firefly squid (蛍烏賊), marinated abalone, and a roll of kobujime red seabream (昆布締め真鯛) with sansho leaves (木の芽) wrapped inside.  The sauce that came was lemon soy sauce, which was kinda interesting.

Monkfish liver, "regular version" - the boss seemed proud of his slow-cooked monkfish liver (鮟肝), but he only had one portion left for the night for the two of us.  Not surprisingly this came with some shaved yuzu (柚子) zest, but also came with a larger-than-expected pile of grated wasabi.  This was, as expected, fluffy and also sweet and elegant flavor-wise.

Monkfish liver, "ice cream version" - like the regular version, this was also slow-cooked.  But then it's puréed and frozen at -60°C as it goes through a Pacojet.  It's then served with ponzu (ポン酢) with chopped chives on top.  The flavors here were naturally stronger, but there was also a pronounced bitterness.

Grilled eel with sansho sauce - the skin was glazed and grilled so that it was super crunchy, while the flesh itself was very fluffy.  Of course, you've still got a little of that muddy flavor, which was why we had sansho (山椒) peppercorns.  I kinda wish the fragrance of the peppercorns were stronger, and wish that my tongue actually got some tingling sensation...

Mala fried chicken - so this was the picture that got tonight started... as the dish was being tested.  The batter on the karaage (唐揚げ) tasted different, with stronger flavors thanks to the additional of yakiniku sauce.  Then there's a sprinkle of Sichuan peppercorns which got my tongue tingling.  It was enough to make this interesting, although it was by no means hot enough for someone like Hello Kitty... who didn't appreciate the dab of Japanese mayo.

Prawn cutlet sandwiches - we took the eel and chicken with a small bowl of rice, but it wasn't filling enough.  This has been making the rounds on social media lately, and we finally got a chance to try.  The deep-fried prawn cutlets (海老カツ) were certainly tasty, and putting them between slices of fluffy, white bread spread with sauce was just perfect.

Hello Kitty was so happy that she recounted the tale of the elusive Family Mart prawn cutlet sandwich she had one drunken night in Tokyo... and how we've never been able to find the same sandwich in Japan ever since...

We finished with a little scoop of milk ice cream and strawberries.

I didn't want to drink too much, so we ended up order two go (合) of sake.

Isojiman Junmai Ginjo (磯自慢  純米吟醸) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 50%.  Good depth of flavor, with balance between sweet and dry.

This was just what I needed tonight. I got to eat some pretty tasty food, without too much hassle, and I got done in a little over an hour.  Very grateful to have places like this I can count on.

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