March 12, 2020

Supporting restaurants : the hole in the wall

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We haven't seen LCKitty for a while as she's turned into quite the globetrotter these days, so she and Hello Kitty scheduled a dinner together.  We were discussing which restaurant we wanted to support tonight, and I remembered that none of us had been to Godenya (ごでんや) in a while.  As it was pretty easy to figure out how many seats they have available on any given night, I took a quick look and booked us seats at the counter.

I'm grateful to have the chance to support Goshima-san during this difficult time.  There were only two other customers besides the four of us tonight...  Thankfully they are still able to get ingredients flown in from Japan, as the Japanese airlines continue to operate flights, although he did admit that the cost has gone up.

Monkfish liver, century egg, rice puff (鮟肝  皮蛋  最中) - it's a taiyaki (鯛焼き)! Opening up the monaka (最中) shell revealed a layer of smoky paste made of monkfish liver from Yoichi (余市) in Hokkaido.  On top we have a gelée made with dashi (出汁), mirin (味醂), and sake that was a little sweet.  The addition of century egg mash worked pretty well, and we've also got herbs like sage in the middle.  A pretty nice start to the meal.

Beau Michelle Snow Fantasy (ボー・ミッシェル スノーファンタジー うすにごり生原酒), 2019 - served at 10°C. Seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 60%.  Full of fermented flavors like fermented rice lees.  Worked well with the smoky monkfish liver.

Squid, scallop, botan-ebi, leaf bud (蛍烏賊  帆立  ボタンエビ  山椒の葉) - I loooooove firefly squid, and these seasonal babies came from Toyama Prefecture (富山県). We also had Hokkaido scallops which, along with the squid, delivered some smoky flavors.  The botan shrimp (牡丹海老), in comparison, was a little more mild when combined with the white miso sauce.  We also had another sauce made with mashed sansho leaves (木の芽) and miso.

Lily bulbs and hosta (ウルイ) helped provide some crunch in the middle, then the whole thing was covered with a thick pile of sansho leaves.  I was so, so happy to have some firefly squid.

Sawaya Matsumoto Shuhari Junmai Nama Gohyaku Mangoku (澤屋まつもと 守破離 純米 五百万石 うすにごり), 2019 - served at 13°C.  Nicely balanced, slightly dry, a little effervescent, kinda fermented flavors, and slightly bitter finish.

Kinme-tai, aralia sprout, sticky rice (金目鯛  たらの芽  糯米) - the charcoal-grilled splendid alfonsino came from Chiba Prefecture, and while it was delicious, it was sitting on top of a pile of mash made from ground glutinous rice that had almost no seasoning... along with some mashed broad beans with chunks.  There was some sauce on the side which came with oil made with charred onions, so I guess once you mixed it up it was OK.  Garnished with deep-fried Japanese angelica shoots (たらの芽 ) and some red amaranth leaves for that earthy taste...

Sogen Junmai Hattannishiki Unfiltered Nama (宗玄 純米 八反錦 無濾過生原酒), 2020 - served at 15°C. Seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 55%.  Big on the palate, kinda rich and rounded on the palate at first, but pretty spicy later.

Scallop, white asparagus, salted duck egg (帆立  ホワイトアスパラ  鹹蛋) - originally the main ingredient was fish cum, but thankfully Goshima-san was able to substitute some scallop for me.  Interestingly the white asparagus was paired with a sauce made with salted duck eggs - a local twist to the classic pairing with hollandaise sauce.  Even more interesting to have shaved bottarga on the side.

Shinkame Mahoto Junmai Nama (神亀 真穂人 純米生酒), 29BY - served at 17°C. Seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 60%.  Really strong flavors, fermented and definitely savory.  Really stood out with the salted egg yolk.

Abalone, rice, butterbur scape, pine nuts (鮑  米  ふきのとう  松の実) - this has been a perennial favorite of mine... this abalone risotto.  The sliced abalone, the rich sauce made with its liver, the diced mushrooms and zucchini, the pine nuts, and of course the perilla flowers which provided that lovely fragrance.  I could always have a second serving if it had been on offer...

Niida Natural Kimoto Hatsuyuki Nama (仁井田 自然酒 生酛はつゆき生),  2019 - served at 12°C.  Seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 80%.  Pretty sweet, but very alcoholic and spicy when paired with the liver sauce.

Sea bream, hamaguri-clam, tubomina, canola flower (鯛  蛤  蕾菜  菜花) - the sea bream (真鯛) from Nagasaki Prefecture was presented as a Cantonese-style steamed fish, with dashi made of katsuobushi (鰹節) and kombu along with peanut oil - although I swore I tasted mushroom in the dashi...  The clam from Chiba Prefecture was pretty nice, and we've also got tsubomina (蕾菜) and rapeseed flower to go along.

Okunoto no Shiragiku Tokubetsu Junmaishu (奥能登の白菊  特別純米酒), 1BY - served at 22°C.  Seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 55%.  Relatively mild on the palate, although not exactly light and boring.  Good depth with a long, spicy and bitter finish.

Quail, Brussels sprouts, ostrich fern, mugwort (鶉  芽キャベツ  コゴミ  蓬) - the French quail was nicely done, and came with Brussels sprouts delivering some sweetness as well as crunchy ostrich fern and bamboo shoots.  Two sauce here: one with green mugwort, the other made with kombu from Rausu (羅臼) in Hokkaido.

Sanin Togo Bupposo Kimoto Junmaishu Nama (山陰 東郷 仏法僧), 30BY - served at 46°C.  Seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 88%.  Very oxidized, and the slightly higher alcohol content - together with the warm serving temperature - gave a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Soup (魚のスープ) - made with fish bones and other goodies.  So, so tasty and comforting.

Pu'er tea, ice, sake (普洱茶 アイス  酒) - crème brûlée made with Puer tea, topped with a quenelle of milk ice cream garnished with some dried tea leaves.  Then drizzled with a little sake.  Very tasty.  I didn't mind eating Hello Kitty's portion at all...

2016 Afruge Ma Chérie - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 90%. Very oxidized and savory.

I was happy to be back to see Goshima-san, especially under the current environment.  I should probably keep messaging him in the next few weeks so that I can find out if he's gonna get some of that very special, seasonal ingredient which usually only lasts for 2 weeks...

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