December 9, 2021

No explanation

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I had another opportunity to meet up with the Compatriot for dinner tonight, and it was tempura (天ぷら) time. This is also something he misses while living in London, so I'm happy we can help him load up on the types of cuisine he's been missing.

We wanted to be able to have a conversation among the 3 of us, so it was decided to pass up the seats at the counter and be seated at the table on the side. The downside, of course, is the delay between when the items have finished cooking and the time they are placed in front of us. But we figured this was something we can live with.

Chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) - I know that we've all had chawanmushi many, many times before, but it was still surprising that this was put in front of us without any introduction.

There was the usual salad with iceberg lettuce, salted kelp (塩昆布), and pickled rakkyo (辣韮).

Japanese tiger prawn (車海老) - as is traditional, we started with tiger prawns and their heads. Since we weren't seated in front of the counter, they served us the prawn tails together with the heads instead of staggering them.

The second prawn was wrapped with with perilla leaf and nori.

Sweet potato (薩摩芋) - pretty nice and sweet.

Sillago (鱚)

Corn (とうもころし) - always happy to have sweet corn.

Maitake (舞茸) - very nice.

Cuttlefish (烏賊) - I really love thick chunks of cuttlefish, especially when it is served as tempura. I wish I could order extra pieces of this.

Ginkgo (銀杏)

Abalone (鮑) - this has been scored, but came out more chewy than expected. First taken with salt, and later with the sauce as recommended.

Sea urchin (雲丹) - this was OK.

Prawn toast (蝦多士) - a little surprised to see an interpretation of the Cantonese classic. A little mushy and certainly greasy.

Scallop (帆立貝) - with a little dab of yuzukosho (柚子胡椒) on the side.

Conger eel (穴子) - this came with a reasonable amount of sansho () powder on top, along with a pile of shredded spring onions. This was pretty tasty.

Shiruko (汁粉) - with adzuki bean paste inside.

Tendon (天丼)

A nice selection of fruits.

Monaka (最中) - as usual, the filling was matcha ice cream with adzuki beans.

I figured only 2 of us would be drinking so I just brought 1 bottle of sake.

Dewazakura Tokubetsu Honjoso Karesansui 1990 (出羽桜  特別本醸造  枯山水  悠久の風), H2BY - seimaibuai of 55%. Sweet on the palate, definitely lots of very fermented flavors with good depth on palate. Not as savory as expected. Very, very smooth on the palate.

Food was pretty decent tonight, as I expected. A little surprised at the lack of explanation for our food in the early part of dinner, although I think they overheard me complain about this to my friends, and subsequently corrected this. I guess when it comes to high-quality tempura, there aren't too many choices in town.

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