September 14, 2020

100 grams

Pin It

Chef DaRC rounded up a bunch of us for dinner tonight.  He had gotten to know a caviar supplier in town and now had a 1.8kg can of Kaluga (Queen?) caviar he wished to share with us.  I know he's already done a dinner at home with one of these big cans, and I was curious to see what a "real" chef would do with this.  Unfortunately Neighborhood isn't open for business tonight, so we ended up gathering at Nikushou.

I gotta give it to RAW Meat Bro Yeah.  He knew we were a picky bunch and rose to the challenge by creating a 11-course menu with the help of Chef DaRC.  

After opening the can up to show our group of voracious diners, we each took one (or two, in some cases) of spoonfuls and placed the eggs on the backs of our hands... before proceeding to lick it clean.  Always a great way to sample caviar.

Oyster with Champagne jelly and caviar (牡蠣  チャンパンゼリー キャビア) - inside the shell sat not one but tswo Fine de Claire oysters, with some Champagne jelly and, of course, a quenelle of caviar. This was a classic combination and a great way to start. The Champagne jelly was very refreshing thanks to its cool temperature, and added some nice acidity to balance out the brininess of the oyster and the salt and umami from the caviar.

Japanese snow crab with edamame mousse and caviar (松葉蟹  枝豆ムース  キャビア) - a familiar dish here, but usually without caviar.  The Japanese snow crab is always nice, and we have meat from both the legs as well as the body, with the latter flavored with tosazu (土佐酢) jelly for acidity.  The edamame (枝豆) mousse was denser than usual, but did its job of adding some sweetness and creaminess to the mix.  I thought the caviar worked pretty well with this combo.

Botan shrimp, caviar, with scallop, chicken stock, cream, and spring onions (ボタン海老. キャビア 帆立  鶏スープ  生クリーム  ネギ) - the botan shrimp (牡丹海老) had been aged in the fridge for 3 days, and came with a little slice of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil - which I found interesting.  The slices of scallop came with a sauce made with chicken stock and unpasteurized cream.  This was fine, but didn't seem to have much synergy or evoke much emotion.

Taro, egg mayo, and caviar (里芋  ゆで卵  マヨネーズ キャビア) - this was, apparently, inspired by the Japanese potato salad... a homey dish I enjoy from time to time thanks to it being part of my childhood memories.  This was a little smoky, and very, very nice.

The boss decided to add some marinated mackerel (締め鯖) in the spur of the moment, and it actually worked pretty nicely, too.  In fact, it was better.

Eel, mozzarella, and caviar (鰻 モッツアレラ  キャビア) - I was a little surprised that we were served eel with some mozzarella melted on top.  For me, the cheese didn't add much to the experience other than the novelty factor, but it certainly didn't detract from it.   The good thing was that the eel still had excellent thickness, and the bottom was very, very crispy.    

Fig and chrysanthemum greens in tofu sauce with caviar (いちじく  春菊  白和え  キャビア)
- this was OK, but the thick sauce made with tofu definitely looked like it could have been fish cum...

Deep-fried wagyu fillet, ginkgo nuts, and caviar (和牛 ヒレフライ 銀杏  キャビア)
- certainly not the first restaurant to put caviar together with beef.  In this case, it's kinda being used in place of salt, as the beef was under-seasoned but it didn't really matter.

Nice execution on the beef, but that's not a surprise given where we are.

Disk abalone with liver sauce, sea urchin, and caviar (黒アワビ  キモソース  キャビア)
 - if this dish wasn't a clickbait then I don't know what is... The disk abalone from Yamaguchi Prefecture (山口県) was, as expected, nice with the right amount of springy texture.  That abalone liver sauce was everything.  Meat Yeah loves pink sea urchin (赤雲丹) from Karatsu (唐津), and it brought some creaminess into the mix.

The truth was that I had been feeling full since before the eel showed up... and that was 4 courses ago.  So while I knew that the best way to enjoy this dish would be to add a good amount of steamed rice and mix it all up - like my table mates Fergie and The Man in White T-shirt - I simply didn't have the stomach capacity to do so.  Maybe I'll have another shot at this in the future...

Somen with onions and caviar (玉ねぎ  素麺  キャビア)
- OMG, this was so, soooo good!  In spite of how stuffed I already was, I could not help shoving this into my mouth.  I have always loved somen (素麺) for how refreshing they are, but tonight this was made even better when, instead of the usual dipping soy sauce, we have chilled onion purée.  And damn!  The sweetness from the onion just worked its magic with the oily, salty caviar.

Clay Pot rice with sweetfish, salmon roe, and caviar (釜飯  鮎  いくら  キャビア)
- this... was just ridiculous... because there was a clay pot full of rice for a table of four.  I couldn't see how I would be able to shove anything more into my stomach.

But apparently I could!  And this was a "three egg rice" as the boss put it.  The sweetfish came with eggs (子持ち鮎), so together with the salmon roe an the sturgeon caviar, we did have three types of fish eggs in our bowl.  So very tasty.

Thankfully we finished with a slice of very ripe melon and a black grape.
All in all, each of the 10 savory courses came with a 10 gram scoop of caviar... which meant that each of us consumed a minimum of 100 grams of the stuff. It's not everyday that one gets to do this...

There was a ton of alcohol tonight, despite my plea for everyone to take it easy, on account of it being a Monday night and all... But in the end, this crowd was pretty weak.

Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top - toasty on the nose, pretty soft and sweet on the palate.

Kikuhime Yamahai Ginjo (菊姫  山廃純米), 9BY - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 55%. Very savory and smoky, but kinda sweet on the palate after the oysters.

Henri Giraud Fût de Chêne MV10, en magnum, dégorgée le 18 novembre 2016 - very, very tasty... with nice ripeness and good depth.

2004 Paul Déthune
, dégorgée en avril 2012
- very smooth and easy to drink.

Denshu Junmai Daiginjo Yamahai (田酒  純米大吟醸  山廃)
, from isshobin
- seimaibuai of 40%.  Very tropical nose with lots of banana.  Pretty sweet and smooth on the palate.

Kudos to the boss and his sidekick for researching to put the menu together. It was delicious but way, waaaaay too much food. I look forward to another edition with a scaled down menu.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Not very inventive, thinking of the possibilities the caviar gives, I should say.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map