October 28, 2022

Smoky Champagne Day

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We enjoyed our first trip out to Koji Charcoal Grill (菊志炭燒) a lot, so when it came time to meet up with Mr and Mrs Birdiegolf, we figured that this was a good place. They liked grilled food on sticks, and this place does a pretty decent job.

Four Sheets and I decided to rehash some of the menu items from our first visit, and with more mouths to feed tonight, we were able to try other items, too.

I introduced the dipping sauce to our friends, and someone was very, very happy... Honestly, it's better than most XO sauces available on the market.

Soy-marinated neon squids (ほたるいか沖漬け) - I chuckled at the literal Chinese-to-English translation... These had nice, fermented flavors which brought out the minerality in the Bollinger.

Chicken meat balls with cheese (つくね) - I ordered mine with cheese, and this turned out to be a good choice. Nice with a good amount of black pepper in the minced meat. Also very good with the dipping sauce.

Sardine fish cake (特製いわしさつま揚げ) - very flavorful and better than many other versions in town.

Grilled wagyu ox tongue (焼き和牛タン) - very nice flavors, with springy texture while remaining very tender. The sauce works very well.

Grilled chicken skin (焼き鶏皮) - always good and crunchy.

Deep-fried baby white shrimps (白海老唐揚げ) - as good as I remembered from last time. Maybe I need an order just for myself next time.

Chicken wing with salt (手羽先塩焼き)

Grilled shiitake mushroom (椎茸焼き)

Grilled okra (オクラ焼き)

Grilled corn (焼き玉蜀黍)

Charcoal grilled Japanese wild eel (日本天然うなぎ蒲焼き) - nice texture.

Charcoal grilled skirt steak (和牛ハラミ炭火焼) - always a good choice when you've got this skirt steak. So tasty with lots of flavor.

Uni and burdock claypot rice (雲丹土鍋炊き込みご飯) - we finally had enough people to be able to order up one of the claypot rice offerings.

There was a reasonable amount of sea urchin in each bowl, and the burdock provided nice fragrance. The fine chiffonade of nori (海苔) was a good way to enhance the rice.

Grilled sea urchin onigiri (雲丹焼きおにぎり) - I told our friends to order this, since I enjoyed it so much on my last visit. For some reason there was an extra order... so I ended up taking care of it.

Hokkaido milk pudding (北海道牛乳プリン) - pretty milky. Lighter and more watery/diluted than a panna cotta.

Today was, apparently, World Champagne Day... so we brought a couple of bottles of bubbly along with some reds.

1996 Bollinger Grande Année - very yeasty nose, lots of minerals and marmalade. Lots of acidity, big on the palate. Drinking so nicely with a long finish. Definitely the more elegant of the two Champagnes.

1996 Tarlant Saga, dégorgée en novembre 2004 - very ripe as expected, yeasty with good amount of marmalade. More savory on the palate and definitely more punchy.

2007 Biserno - drank about 1½ hours after double-decanting. Smoky nose with ripe fruit, a little vanilla oak, and almost a little graphite. Very fragrant nose. Sweet on the palate, too. More than 2½ hours after decanting the wine also showed a little green pepper.

2013 Toymaker Tinsoldier - drank about 30 minutes after opening and decanting. Nose was still kinda closed. Some smoke on the nose, and not great on the palate at first. Got a little better with time.

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