October 20, 2022

Night of bony fish

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I haven't seen the Specialist since some time before the pandemic started, so we are looooong overdue for a catch-up. I wasn't the least bit surprised when she suggested that we go to Neighborhood, as it has been some time since her last visit. Roping in Little Monkey makes this a fun night for our threesome.

I had, once again, asked Shirley to tell the Kitchen Nazi a.k.a. the Man in White T-shirt to give us a free hand when it comes to the food. There were only three of us and we really just wanted a casual meal. As usual, Shirley said that she would relay my request to the boss, but reminded me that she has no control over what he may do.

On our arrival, we were told by Shirley what dishes would be coming our way, and we were asked to choose between two main courses. Well... after we made our choice, our choice was then vetoed by the Kitchen Nazi... So we were given the illusion of choice without actually having one. Kinda fitting for the Hong Kong of today.

Smoked pacific saury / liver sauce - WOW! This looked BEAUTIFUL! I love the smoked fishies here, and I haven't had smoked Pacific saury here before.

The problem with this fish is that there are many, many bones... so after removing those, I managed to cut half a fillet and placed it on a piece of sourdough bread. Isn't that golden sheen beautiful?

This came with sauce made from the fish liver, and it's perfect to put it all together - with the bitterness and acidity of the sauce complementing the smoky flavors of the fatty fish.

Poached artichoke hearts / scallops - this was part 1 of 2 dishes done with a single head of artichoke. The "heart" was cut into slices and served with slices of raw scallops and shaved Pecorino, seasoned with some olive oil and cracked pepper.

Poached artichoke / liver pate - the petals are arranged atop a base of chicken liver pâté. I do like to eat artichoke petals this way... with a dip of some sort.

Handmade garganelli / matsutake mushrooms ragu - OK... so I wanted to have the garganelli but didn't want the version offered by the Kitchen Nazi, and I was initially vetoed AGAIN by the boss when I tried to have the "regular" version offered on the menu. The reason given for the veto was that the dish comes with matsutake (松茸), and we were already getting some of the 'shroom on our lobsters.

After the boss left the restaurant, I placed my order again for the "regular" garganelli. When the dish came, it was obvious that the kitchen had it mixed up and offered us the special version originally offered - featuring cod tripe. I sent my portion back, as I really didn't care for the cod tripe I had tasted here a few months ago. I wanted the "regular" version with those matsutake on top.

Well... when I got the second bowl the offending tripe had been removed, but there was NO MATSUTAKE! I guess the Kitchen Nazi left strict orders with the kitchen that I wasn't to have any more shroom. Well, the spicy ragù tasted fine, but I would have wanted the seasonal dish.

Before the Kitchen Nazi left, he passed me this little tube of Japanese gold foil and told me to "DIY". I guess he got tired of me asking him where the gold is...

A dish always tastes better with a sprinkle of gold, amirite?

Local spiny lobster / matsutake / sea ruffe - always a treat to have lobster coming from "local" waters, and the matsutake was pretty nice.

Each of us also had a sea ruffe (石狗公) to ourselves, which was nice but also came with lots of bones...

The seafood rice is always tasty, but we were kinda full by this point.

Cherry pistachio cannoli - the cream inside was still cherry-flavored, but they had run out of fresh cherries so pistachios were used on the ends. Still nice.

Canelés - my favorite way to end a meal.

The Alcoholics were surprisingly restrained tonight, and we only had 3 bottles:

2007 Salon - a little bit of yeast on the nose, not too toasty, very nicely balanced.

2013 Pierre Damoy Chambertin - really fragrant, very fruity with lots of cherries, and very floral. Some leather notes, too. Still got some tannins here on the palate.

2000 Guigal La Mouline - decanted 1 hour and 15 minutes after opening. Apparently fragrant some 1 hour after decanting, but by the time I tasted 2 hours after decanting this was not showing at all. A little better after 3½ hours in the decanter. Still got the tannins, with smoky, grilled meats, and some mint on the nose. Pretty disappointing.

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