September 18, 2020

Sticks and starch

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Hello Kitty has been hankering to go back to Hidden Kitchen (秀殿), and it's been quite a long time since I was last there.  Thankfully a few weeks ago Fergie managed to get us a booking, so we happily returned to an old favorite.

The restaurant has been hit hard in the last 15 months, as it's right around the center of action during the massive anti-government protests in 2019.  Of course, the pandemic of 2020 made things even worse, as government mandates reduced seating and, during the span of a few weeks, shut down dinner service altogether.  So I was particularly happy to come back here and show them some support.

I was the last one to arrive, and apparently the hungry people had already placed the first round of orders... and started drinking...

Vinegared seaweed (もずく醋)
- with some grated mountain yam (とろろ) in addition to grated ginger.  Nice and acidic to whet one's appetite... although I suspect that wasn't in the least bit necessary in our case.


Okizuke firefly (ほたるいか沖漬け)

Fried chicken wing (手羽唐揚げ)
- this is something that one must order here... that bright acidity just gets my taste buds going.  

Ponzu sauce chicken skin (鶏皮ポン酢)
- Hello Kitty really like this dish.  I have always liked chicken skin since I was a young kid, so I was cool with this. 

One bite cheese fried (一口チーズフライ)
- such a humble dish, but I just loooove these fried wedges of Camembert.

Raw oyster (生かき)
- the oyster from Hyogo Prefecture (兵庫県) was very fat, creamy, with a little brine.

Fried veggie fish cake (野菜のさつま揚げ)
- texture was softer and more moist than I had expected.  Nice.

Sand borer (きす)
- I always enjoy sillago (鱚) here.

Scallop salmon roe (ほたてタルタルいくら)
- how could I come here and not order my favorite?!  Yes, the deep-fried scallop is always great, but it's the tartar sauce with its acidity that really makes this sing... And the salmon roe don't hurt.

Crab leg (かに足)
- this was so, sooo tasty!  And paired perfectly well with the Daimon 45.

Daimon 45 Junmai Daiginjo (大門45  純米大吟醸) - seimaibuai of 45%. This definitely tasted like shellfish, as if I were eating crab.  Kinda sweet on the palate.

Celery pork flank roll (豚バラセロリ巻)
- I was pleasantly surprised by how good this combination was.  Might have to order it again.

Herring roe on kelp (子持ち昆布)
- another one of my favorites.  I loooove the crunch as I bite into this cube... and how it springs back when slowly loosen the pressure from my teeth.

Cold tomato (冷トマト)
- it's good to have a refreshing palate cleanser in the midst of all this deep-fried, greasy food.

Sweet potato fries (フライドさつまいも)
- another perennial favorite.  The crunchy exterior is always good, and the sprinkle of toasty sesame seeds scores brownie points.

Conger eel (穴子)
At this point I kinda went berserk.  I had seen been missing the carb dishes that they are famous for, and I decided to order up NOT ONE, NOT TWO, BUT THREE of these babies... on the assumption that they will be shared with the others.

Spicy cod roe pasta (明太子パスタ)
- oh man... this was very, very creamy.  Maybe a little too creamy.  I definitely should not have had this first... but I couldn't resist.  It was too tasty, and it's been too long since I last had mentaiko (明太子) pasta.

Curry rice (カレーライス)
- you won't find chunks of meat in this curry, but that didn't stop this being a really fucking delicious bowl of curry rice.  The rich and thick curry sauce was just lip-smacking good, and those pickled radish slices were the perfect accompaniment.  Someone - who shall remain nameless - decided to order his own bowl instead of keeping his promise of sharing with me.

Napolitan spaghetti (ナポリタン)
- always a winner here.  The sweet, tomato-based sauce is always good with slices of smoky sausage.  Unfortunately, I forgot to ask for the Kraft 100% Grated Permesan Cheese...

By now I felt like I had a ton of bricks sitting in my stomach, but nothing was gonna stop me from having my favorite dessert here!

Special rich pudding (特製濃厚プリン)
- is there anything better than rich and creamy custard pudding, one that comes with caramel sauce on top?  I wish I had the stomach space for two of these...
We brought a few bottles to help wash the food down...

Daimon 55 Blue Junmai Ginjo Nama (大門55 Blue 純米吟醸 生酒) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 55%.  This was more complex than I expected, more fermented flavors with depth.  A little savory umami upfront, sweet in the middle, with a slightly spicy finish.

Kikuhime Kurogin (菊姫  黒吟) - seimaibuai of 40%.  Very round on the palate but slightly more dry, with a pretty spicy finish - especially when warmed up a little.

2009 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc - kinda ripe on the palate, a little too oxidized for my liking.  Better when served very chilled.

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