September 2, 2020

Supporting chef friends: a very gout dinner

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Six months ago the Peanut Gang decided to support one of our favorite chefs and gathered at Neighborhood.  After weeks of not being able to dine out for dinner due to government restrictions, we decided to go back and visit The Man in White T-shirt for a socially-distanced meal.

Fergie was responsible for booking us tables, and then he surprised the boss this morning by asking for omakase... with virtually no advanced warning.  The boss kinda went into shock, but thankfully managed to pull it off.

First came some butter for the wonderful sourdough, but tonight there was also a pâté spread.

Greater amberjack / preserved lemon / chili - the greater amberjack (勘八) was caught locally by rod.  Served with diced preserved lemon and pickled chili peppers, there was some nice acidity here to go with the fragrant olive oil.  Very delish.

Deep-fried sillago - is there anything better than finger-lickin' good deep-fried fishies?  I think not.  These were bigger than I had expected, though... so I had a little difficulty swallowing the segments of the spine.

Beef tartare / tuna belly confit / anchovy/ caper leaf - beef tartare here is not to be missed, and there are many, many variations.  Tonight we had some delicious chunks of tuna belly confit, along with some marinated anchovies and, interestingly, caper leaves which delivered some acidity.  Perfect together with that sourdough.

Braised local sea snails - the babylonia were braised Spanish-style with chorizo and peppers.  I'm not such a big fan, though, of babylonia.

Smoked salmon / roe - the head of the salmon from Hokkaido was smoked, and served with its very own roe - although this was more sujiko (筋子) and not ikura (イクラ).  A bonafide oyako (親子) dish!  There was a little sour cream under the fish head to mix things up a little, and to help neutralize the amount of salt here.

Black pudding stuffed cuttlefish - I LOOOOOOVE this!  When I had lunch here last month, one of the three courses - an appetizer, no less! - was a plate bearing TWO of these.  That was ridiculous, but also really, really tasty.

Tonight, though, this came stuffed with some boudin basque.  I don't think I could love this dish any more than I do tonight.

Spice roasted French lamb belly - this was FUCKING.GOOD.  As soon as the plate came, we got a good whiff of the spices which undoubtedly included cumin and Sichuan peppercorns.

How is it possible not to love fatty belly?!  Especially with that delicious lamby flavor from the fat.  Practically chunks of heaven.  My only complaint was that the skin was a tad too salty for me.

Local beef hangar steak - so this was "local", and by that I mean the cattle came from Shandong Province (山東省) before being slaughtered in town.  Served on a bed of different types of mushrooms from Yunnan Province (雲南省).

There was so much flavor here, but one would expect that from a good, lean hangar steak.   Great execution, too!  And those mushroom!  Such intense flavor, especially the ganbajun (干巴菌) which The Man in White T-shirt spent literally HOURS cleaning so that we wouldn't have to bite into all that sand and dirt...  That effort is much appreciated.

Of course, we always get some mashed potatoes with the beef...

These persimmons were very ripe and soft... so nice.

Chocolate palette

We brought along a couple of bottles of sake to go along with the mag of red I brought for Fergie.

Rikyuume Junmai Ginjo Namazake Natsu Ginjo (利休梅  純米吟醸  生酒  夏吟醸) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 55%.  Really fruity, lots of banana, musk melon, light and refreshing.  A little more dry when warmed up.  So nice and easy to drink on a warm day.

Iwa 5 - opened the day before serving as advised by a friend.  Seemingly a more "serious" sake, with more concentration and more body.  Not as easy to enjoy, and more dry on the palate.  Later on fruity notes did show up, with some musk melon notes.

2010 Domaine de l'A, en magnum - decanted 1 hour prior to serving.  Nice and ripe fruit, with fragrant woodsy notes, and some smoke.  Drinking very, very nicely.

It was the first dinner out for some of us since the government relaxed the restrictions last Friday, and the hospitality industry is breathing slightly easier - although still suffering heavily.   Hopefully we can get this damn pandemic under control and people's lives can make a turn for the better.

1 comment:

Markus Schmidt said...

good to read that David Lai continues to be in good form. Neighborhood is totally on our list of to go restaurants, PROVIDED the entry restrictions for overseas travellers and mandatory quarantine for them will be eased by Christmas.........


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