November 17, 2021

Autumn in the 'hood

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It has been a long, long time since I was last at my favorite restaurant in town with the Great One, and I was pretty happy when she asked me to join her at Neighborhood. I was more excited, however, at the thought of seeing Sweetheart, because I haven't seen very much of him at all this year. So when I found out that the group would be split and two of us would have to sit at a separate table, I volunteered to spend some quality time with Sweetheart and left the ladies in DaRC's care.

One of us is coming for her second night in a row, so the Man in White T-shirt promised that she would get different dishes tonight. As for me... I was just happy to be here.

Saucisson and lardo rillettes - rillettes is always a great idea, and this one was made by whipping lardo together with diced saucisson.

This is, of course, best taken on sourdough bread. I am already a happy camper with this humble combination, but of course the Man in White T-shirt has to shave some white truffle on top...

Persimmon / lardo - when I arrived, the boss was busy taking a torch to soften up the slices of cured pork fat, which were draped over wedges of Kinokawa persimmon (紀の川柿) with their distinctive mottled flesh resembling black sesame.

I was under the impression that the season for these persimmon was over, as I was buying these more than a month ago. These were very, very ripe and, of course, very sweet. Served up with balsamic vinegar and cracked pepper. Very, very good.

Persimmon / bottarga - more persimmon! This time the fruit had been air-dried to concentrate the sugar levels.

A thick slice of house-cured bottarga had been wedged in between the two halves. I really loved the interplay between the slightly bitter notes from the bottarga and the high sugar levels of the fruit.

Burrata / veal tartare / hazelnuts - how interesting that the burrata had been stuffed with veal tartare! I thought the combination worked pretty well together, and with the addition of hazelnuts and shaved white truffle, this tasted like autumn in Piedmont.

Smoked yellow croaker - local seafood is a strong suit here, and this plate of yellow croakers with roe was damn impressive.

I was just so very happy with this. Since not everyone wanted fish roe, I somehow ended up with more of it on my plate.

Flounder / artichoke / preserved lemon - the thin slices of salted lemon definitely threw me a little. Not the flavor profile you would expect with flounder carpaccio, but definitely very interesting.

Pumpkin / foie gras - someone jokingly called this "foie 瓜" as it's foie gras stuffed inside a 瓜... in this case, pumpkin (南瓜).

After a proper roasting, we have white truffle shaved on top.

Pretty nice and rich. Loved the roasted pumpkin.

Young pigeon baked in fig leaf and spices / fig jam glaze - my second taste of this dish. On my first try, I loved the interplay between the rich, sweet flavors of the fig jam and the mix of exotic spices. This time around the spice mix seems to have changed, and the numbing sensation from Sichuan peppercorns was more apparent. Still really love the "so-called four-hands" between the Man in White T-shirt and Da Jam.

Porcini / lardo / chestnut leaf - loved the sweetness of the fresh porcini. Of course, I love anything that comes with lardo on it...

"Mayura Station" wagyu shortrib roast beef / potato / lettuce / garlic confit - I'm always happy to see this dish, and the wagyu was very, very tender as expected. The potatoes were still stealing the show, and that sauce drizzled all over the plate was killin' it.

Next came a Japanese snow crab rice, but unfortunately it also came with fish cum as well as Icelandic sea urchin, so I sat this one out and let the others have it.

A nice little orange to cleanse our palates.

Chestnut cannoli - the cannoli shells from Holy Cannoli came stuffed with chestnuts and cream. Very, very good.


We took it surprisingly easy on the wines tonight:

Oigame Gentei Fukurotori Daiginjo (老亀 限定袋取り 大吟醸) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 40%. Pretty sweet on the nose with tons of banana and fermented notes.

2011 Cedric Inflorescence Côte de Val Vilaine, dégorgée en avril 2013 - really toasty, almost coffee notes, rich nose with lots of depth.

2016 Cos d'Estournel Blanc - decanted for about 45 minutes before serving. Green apple, a little pipi de chat, nice and lean on the palate with good acidity.

2010 Castello di Verrazzano Chianti Classico Riserva - opened for 2 hours and decanted prior to serving. Smoky and minty.

2009 Sigalas Vinsanto - raisins, honey, honeydew melon, and some tangerine on the nose.  Soooo viscous and soooo sweet on the palate.

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