May 30, 2022

Two years on

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It's been 2 years since our beloved asshole left us, and for the third year in a row, we are having dinner at Nikushou. Compared to previous years, though, our dinner tonight turned out a little more fancy - and the conversation a little more jovial.

The restaurant has been suffering from a lack of cow cow chopstick rests, as many have been damaged over the years while others have been stolen by customers. I noticed that my cow cow was not only missing the nose ring but actually was missing both legs down one side of its body...

Purple sea urchin (紫雲丹) - from Kawakatsu (川勝) in Yura (由良) on Awaji Island (淡路島). So nice to start off with these and a few flakes of sea salt.

White asparagus tempura (ホワイトアスパラガス天ぷら) - the asparagus was decent in terms of size but was a little fibrous. And we could taste the bitterness now towards the latter half of the season.

I was always gonna get the kakiage (かき揚げ), but I was told by one of the staff that she felt the "alternate" version was tastier. It should surprise no one, then, that I not only insisted on ordering both but refused to share either one.

Firefly squid kakiage (蛍烏賊かき揚げ) - the "regular" version with shredded mushrooms, sweet potato, carrot, onion, broad bean, sakura shrimp (桜海老), and topped with two firefly squids. FUCKING GOOD.

Fried corn and scallop (とうもろこしとホタテ揚げ) - in contrast this seemed less like a kakiage and had more in common with those corn fritters found at Yardbird, Greyhound Cafe or the like. Except we also had diced scallops mixed in, which changed the texture and added different layers of flavors of the ocean. Also very, very enjoyable.

Scallop isobeyaki (帆立磯辺焼き) - always happy to have grilled scallops.

Chicken karaage (チキン唐揚げ) - for once I did not ask for this. Having developed a reputation with the staff about wanting this off-menu item, I guess they just assumed that I'd throw a shitfit if I didn't get it. Truth be told, I really do love the fried chicken here. I thought I might have tasted some ginger in the marinade...

Then came 5 different cuts of beef for the yakiniku (焼肉) part of our meal:

Thick cut Australian wagyu tongue (オーストラリア 和牛タン) - never disappointed when we start with this. So juicy and succulent, so springy.

Hida A5 uwasuji (A5飛騨牛 ウワスジ) - medium in terms of thickness of the cut, so we've got some chewy bite.

Hida A5 top shoulder blade (A5飛騨牛 ミスジ) - this was so, sooo good. Thanks to the tendon (hence "misuji" in the name) this was pretty springy, too.

Hida A5 chuck flap (A5飛騨牛 ザブトン) - this turned out a tad overdone, but the silver lining was the additional charring which filled the air with a beautiful scent and brought more flavors on the palate.

Sea snails shoyu stew - they wanted us to try this, but I'm not as big of a fan of these babylonia as Sankala. Very sweet soy sauce with a hint of chili.

Smoked wagyu tongue jerky - very thinly-sliced. Very smoky, which reminds me a lot of the smoked duck drumsticks dad buys in Taiwan or some of the smoked preserved fatty pork belly (臘肉). Very chewy, indeed, and did not need the ichimi (一味) for seasoning.

Nikushouyaki sirloin (肉匠焼き サーロイン) - always happy to have the sirloin from Kumamoto (熊本県), especially when it's over rice with the egg sauce and tare (タレ).

Once again I brought a simple bottle of red to go with our meal.

1995 Philip Togni - decanted 1 hour after opening and served 15 minutes later. Lots of cedar on the nose with fragrant woodsy notes. The acidity on the palate was slightly higher than expected initially. As the wine opened up it showed a big nose of tobacco, cigar box, and a little graphite. The acidity subsided a little and became more balanced with some sweetness and more body.

We still miss our asshole, but nowadays we focus on reminiscing the good times we had with him. He will live in our hearts forever.

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