October 31, 2020

Back room with normal people

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My Favorite Birdbrain Cousin has been missing good sushi as we've all been stuck in Hong Kong this year, so she requested that we go back to Sushi Saito (鮨 さいとう). So I dutifully contacted the restaurant and asked for the first available lunch on a Saturday, and five weeks later, here we are.

The restaurant had forgotten about our dietary preferences on our last visit, and I also happened to see Mrs. Birdiegolf posting about fish cum from her visit yesterday, so I made sure to reiterate our preferences to Fujimoto-san.  He was genuinely surprised, because obviously no one has ever told him.  I guess only Koba-san knew...

Octopus (蛸) - very, very tender as usual, with the exterior layer half-liquefied.  Served with a little yuzu (柚子) zest shaving.

Japanese hairtail (大刀魚) - really, really soft and tender, and the flesh almost disintegrated into a powdery mush.  The Japanese yam (山芋) was marinated with wasabi.

Yellowtail (鰤) - this is now getting fatty.  Pretty soft and delish.

Gizzard shad (小肌) - thick cut delivered a good amount of firmness.

Japanese glass shrimp (白海老) - this was a tad more salty than I remembered.  

Rosy seabass (喉黒) - the substitute piece for not having tuna.  Honestly, I'd love to have this every time!  The grilled fish was, as one would expect, very, very tender and succulent.  It's always been served as otsumami (おつまみ) here (and also in Tokyo), and I've never had it with a little bit of rice and nori (海苔).  Very, very happy.

Japanese tiger prawn (車海老) - another substitute.  It's been a while since I last had a whole prawn as a nigiri that this one from Kagoshima (鹿児島) seemed almost too big to be served in one piece.

Bigfin reef squid (アオリイカ) - with a little salt on top.  Not quite the thick cut that used to be half-liquefied before.

Sardine (鰯) - from Hokkaido.  Very fatty, soft and springy.  Beautiful texture and flavors.  My only complaint was that I found a piece of bone that the kitchen neglected to remove...

Salmon roe (イクラ) - I always find that they are a little stingy when it comes to salmon roe gunkan maki (軍艦巻き).  I wish the roll was kinda overflowing with these eggs, especially when the flavors today seemed lighter and diluted.  But I do have to say that sprinkling some yuzu zest shavings on top really makes a huge difference.

Japanese green sea urchin (馬糞雲丹) - from Nemuro (根室) in Hokkaido.  Creamy with light iodine flavors.

Yes, I enjoyed my bowl of soup...

Conger eel, salt and yuzu (穴子, 塩  柚子) - the conger eel was served to us with two types of seasoning, with the first piece coming with a sprinkle of salt and shaved yuzu zest.   The texture of conger eel here has always been wonderful, and soft like cotton candy.

Conger eel, sauce (穴子, タレ) - the preparation with the traditional sauce was also very good.

Futomaki (太巻) - My Favorite Birdbrain Cousin was amazed at how Fujimoto-san just rolled this up without much effort while she recently failed to do a proper maki after watching a YouTube video... at which point Hello Kitty and I just rolled our eyes in response.

Anyway, the combination of egg custard, conger eel, cucumber, Japanese tiger prawn, and marinated gourd is always good.  

Egg (玉子焼き) - just looooove the bouncy, jello-like texture.
We were done with the fixed portion of our menu, and Fujimoto-san asked whether we had enough food.  I told My Favorite Birdbrain Cousin that she could request for additional pieces, and to my surprise she actually wanted some.  I guess she really has been missing some good sushi!  She left it up to Fujimoto-san, and when I saw what was being brought out from the back, I promptly raised my hand and asked for a piece, too!

Mackerel bozushi (鯖の棒鮨) - always very happy to taste this.  Love the marinated fatty mackerel.

Shizuoka Crown melon (静岡クラウンメロン)
- so ripe and juicy after an additional 5 days of aging.

2014 Ganevat Les Gryphées Vieilles Vignes - lots of flint and lemon notes, and almost a little honey.  Lean on the palate with good acidity with some roundness.
This was a very enjoyable meal, and we had fun chatting with Fujimoto-san. What's more, thanks to social-distancing regulations, there were only two other customers sitting in the back room with us... and guess what? They were actually normal! On my 7th visit since the restaurant opened, I finally did not find myself wanting to bitchslap a fellow diner!  Amazing!  Maybe I should always request the back room from now on.

As we left the Four Seasons Hong Kong and entered IFC Mall, I suddenly had the urge to grab a little cake while looking at the display case at Le Salon de Thé de Joël Robuchon.  So I asked for a table and ordered up something.

Peanut canelé cake - this was kinda interesting.  Shaped like a canelé but actually a cake with peanut cream, mousse, chocolate cake and biscuit.  

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