June 8, 2022

The gateway to the 'hood

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I'm back at Neighborhood tonight for a collaborative dinner they are doing with Daimon Brewery (大門酒造). This would be my chance to taste through a good range of the offerings from this brewery, and naturally I wanted to come and support Fergie. It also gave me a rare opportunity to meet new friends as I was taken under the boss' wing, having failed to find anyone would was remotely interested in being in my company...

We started with a plate of small bites:

Grilled Spanish piparra peppers

Strolghino salami - this helped to make the sake taste rounder on the palate.

Aquitaine beef tartare / anchovy

Boudin Basque / quail egg - love that they served up a mini version of one of my favorite dishes here. Oh and I wasn't allowed to order this dish when I came here last time...

Fried escargot / wild garlic / caviar - I loved this when The Man in White T-shirt served it to me last time, so I was happy to taste it again. Unfortunately there still wasn't any gold...

Daimon 55 Junmai Ginjo (大門 55純米大吟醸) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 55%. This was very easy to like, with lots of banana on the nose, not too sweet on the palate, almost a little effervescent. Actually this was very light on the palate with a slightly dry finish. Goes down very easily.

Warm vegetable casserole / clam / truffle - I really do love it when this comes up. The mix of veggies is always delicious, and the fact that it is served warm inevitably warms one's stomach and, in my case, the heart, too. We have carrots, artichokes, radishes, delicious peas, clams, and smoked lardon. The truffle does help, and that's very Ducasse.

Rikyubai Shizuka Junmai Ginjo (利休梅 静香 純米吟醸) - seimaibuai of 55%. More fruity, more lively on the palate, with a longer finish.

Somehow we got ourselves a taste of something that wasn't meant to be part of our dinner:

Daimon 35 Junmai Daiginjo (大門 35純米大吟醸) - seimaibuai of 35%. Nose was very muted. Higher acidity on the palate, Showed more depth when tasted along with the fish. More rounded on the palate.

Grouper / tomato / fennel - this was a piece of giant grouper (龍躉) with 2 types of tripe from the giant grouper. One piece was tender while the big chunk looked unfamiliar and was very, very chewy, springy, and crunchy. In fact it required quite a lot of effort to chew on it.

Daimon Road to Osaka Tokubetsu Junmai Nigori - seimaibuai of 60%. Fruity and with more acidity. When tasting along with the fish this became more dry and spicy on the palate. Actually had a lot more depth on the palate.

Roast wagyu short rib / potato Raclette - the classic Mayura Station wagyu. So, sooo tender, and smooth like butter. I liked the melted Raclette on the potatoes, but the sucrine lettuce rubbed with a layer of truffled chicken liver pâté made the dish seemed a little more healthy...

Daimon 45 Junmai Daiginjo (大門 45純米大吟醸) - seimaibuai of 45%. Apparently this uses white koji instead of yellow koji. There's more fermented flavors and more umami, and much more depth and character on the palate.

Salt baked chicken / morel mushrooms / giblet rice - I must say that I was really happy to have this again, as it's been quite some time since my last taste of it. In case anyone has any doubts, the dish is all about the rice! Flavored with morels, chicken giblets, chicken fat, and cream sauce. There is always so much of it that inevitably someone will take the leftovers home.

The Toji Series Edition 1 Junmai Daiginjo, 1999 BY02 - a blend of 1999 and 2020 vintages, which explains why the flavors were much more fermented. This is recommended to be served at room temperature instead of being chilled. Very rounded and viscous on the palate. Very elegant.

Fish tripe garganelli - OK, so this is where I turn into the 377% Asshole and jokingly throw a shit fit. I love the pasta dishes that come out of this kitchen, but unfortunately, these days I rarely get the taste them. The reason is that The Man in White T-shirt - a.k.a. The Kitchen Nazi - insists on dictating the entire menu whenever I'm here. Even over my objections. So tonight I was adamant that the kitchen brings me a pasta dish, using whatever ingredients they have.

So we got something that I saw on social media recently - garganelli with spicy fish tripe. Normally the spicy ragù - seasoned with piment d'espelette would be totally up my alley. Tonight, however, I found the fish tripe much too chewy for my taste. Still tasty, but after the earlier dish with fish tripe which was also very chewy, my jaws got a little tired...

Daimon sake sorbet / lychee - lychees are just about my favorite fruits, and pairing this with sorbet made with sake was wonderful.


This was a pretty fun night, and I certainly enjoyed all the sake we tasted tonight. It's a good thing I managed to grab some bottles of the Toji Series a few months ago, since there are only 1,000 bottles out there.

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