March 19, 2023

Everything everywhere all in my tummy day 9: smoky meat

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For dinner tonight we met up with the Dining Austrian for one last meal. He had heard about a pop-up event by Yakiniku Shunyasai Fanbogi (焼肉旬やさい ファンボギ), a shop well-known for aged beef and ranked No. 1 in Gifu (岐阜) on Tabelog (食べログ) for yakiniku (焼肉). So rather than going for some kaiseki (懐石料理) or kyo-ryori (京料理), this was our last dinner in Kyoto.

The event was at Y Gion, and a small group of us were seated counter-style, and Chef Takahashi Nobuyuki (高橋樗至) showed us the ingredients as he prepped each course. His detailed explanations were, of course, in Japanese... so I tried to pick up as much as I could.

The range of seasoning we were to use tonight.

Napa cabbage kimchi (白菜キムチ)

Torched chashu (炙りチャーシュー) - the Hida (飛騨) sirloin has been aging since November 29. Served cold, and very, very soft.

Watercress namul, tomato (クレソンナムル  トマト) - the namul (나물) came with sesame seeds and cumin seeds.

Tongue four ways (タン4種) - there were four cuts of beef tongue on offer.

Base of the tongue (上タン、タン元)
- taken with a little lemon by rubbing it on the tongue.

Really springy and quite crunchy. Wonderful.

Salted tongue (塩タン) - thin slices. Crunchy yet tender.

Tip of the tongue (タン先) - taken with dukkah which had coriander. This was nice and thick, very chewy yet also tender.

Underside of tongue root (タンアゴ) - taken also with dukkah or lemon. Very chewy with the sinews.

Teal (コガモ) - a little too well done and starting to be a little dry on the side. Crispy skin, though.

Mallard (真鴨) - I love any kind of duck, especially looking at that fatty skin. That skin gets so tasty once it turns crisp. One could see that the center was still a little rosé.

Chef showed us the leg of the young deer as he began to slice meat off the bone. The deer comes from an area around an estuary of the Ebi River (海老川), which I presume is the one in Aichi Prefecture (愛知県).

Deer thigh (鹿モモ) - contrary to how it looked, this was pretty tender and not dry at all. In terms of texture it was halfway like chicken. Taken with fresh green peppercorns which were really nice.

We also had a smattering of grilled seasonal vegetables (旬の焼き野菜):

Lotus root (蓮根)

Pumpkin (南瓜)

Asparagus (アスパラガス) - taken with basil sauce.

Baby bear shoulder clod (子熊ウデ)
- from Takayama (高山).

The baby fat was so, soooo tasty... and the meat was very tender. Would have loved to have another piece or three.

Boar loin (猪) - the boar was seasoned with homemade nam pla (น้ำปลา) made with sweetfish (鮎), so we took this "as is".

I could definitely taste the fishy and salty seasoning.

Brussels sprouts (芽キャベツ)

Potato (ジャガイモ) - taken with dukkah.

Japanese angelica shoots (タラの芽) - so tiny. Kinda bitter.

Hida beef sirloin (飛騨牛のサーロイン) - actually comes from Takayama City (高山市). Clearly well-marbled.

This was just so fatty that it was simply oozing fat. In fact, this may have been a little too much for me.

Hime beef sirloin (飛米牛のサーロイン) - this comes from Hida City (飛騨市) and is raised with rice in the feed, hence the name 飛米 contains the character for rice.

A little leaner, and a little more well-done. Still tender but more charring and more crust.

Inner thigh of keisan-gyu (下呂産  熊崎さんの経産牛内モモ) - from Kumazaki Farm (熊崎牧場) in Gero (下呂). The term keisan-gyu (経産牛) refers to cattle which has given birth, which are no longer heifers and commonly referred to in English as, well, "cow". They are not as valuable as steers or heifers.

This was OK, but clearly not as marbled as sirloin and therefore not as tender. It did have more flavor, I think.

Burdock (牛蒡)

Mallard thigh (真鴨 モモ) - pretty tasty and love the charring.

Kimchi (カクテキ) - radish kimchi with rapeseed flowers (菜の花) and celery.

Beef liver (牛レバー) - aged for a week. This was only half-cooked and still raw-ish in the middle. Very high iron content.

Boar liver (猪レバー) - still very red in the middle.

Bamboo shoot (筍) - from Gifu. Very nice and fresh.

Keisan-guma a.k.a. mamma bear (経産熊) - OMFG. This was just so, soooooo good. The marinade made it taste just like Korean barbecued beef. How can one not love this with all that fat?!

Seasonal salad (旬菜サラダ)

Keisan-gyu hangar steak (経産牛ハラミ) - very tasty with lots of flavor. Slurp.

Samgyetang congee (参鶏湯のお粥) - the chicken's been shredded, and the flavor was just like samgyetang (삼계탕).

Saengchae bibimbap (センチェビビンバ) - a vegetarian made with saengchae (생채비빕밥). Pretty decent.

Almond tofu (杏仁豆腐)

We also had a little piece of cream cheese cake from Sadaharu Aoki.

The Chinese tea was served in these small and pretty tea cups.

Since the pop-up allowed BYO, my friend very kindly brought along a couple of bottles of reds. As we would find out after dinner, the extra bottle of Champagne we ordered from them had a pretty high markup.

2013 Moët et Chandon Grand Vintage, dégorgée en mai 2021 - OK laaaa.

2019 Le Marquis de Calon Ségur - very ripe, very fruity, lots of jammy fruit, very oaky with notes of dried herbs and forest. Some tannins here.

2011 Réserve de la Comtesse - more tannins here, leaner, and a bit more smoky.

A pretty fun evening, and definitely more than a few tasty morsels tonight. Coming from the guy who runs the restaurant ranked highest for yakiniku, in a prefecture which produces Hida beef, this was definitely not surprising.

It's been a long week and we'd been out drinking 2 out of the last 3 nights, so I declined my friend's offer to take me to a great wine bar. We parted ways after a few days together, and I hope to see him again very, very soon.

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