April 7, 2023

Itty bitty little flowers of spring

Pin It

‘Tis the season for those tiny little sansho flowers (花山椒) again, and that means I’m back at Godenya (ごでんや) for a little taste. Since one has to book seats at the restaurant a few months in advance, one is never really sure whether one is lucky enough to hit the short window when the flowers are actually in season. Thankfully Goshima-san just received his first supply a few days ago.

We were joined at the counter tonight by Salad and g4gary, and it really has been a while since I last sat at the counter here. I’ve kinda gotten into the habit of booking the private room, and that means missing out on some interaction with Goshima-san.

Monkfish liver, ark shell, wasabi-stem, warabi, sansyo-leaf (鮟肝  赤貝  花山葵  蕨生  木の芽) - I really love having this dish at this time every year, as it's just so pretty. The ball is covered in a sweet and sour miso made with sansho leaves (木の芽), then garnished with fresh sansho leaves, bracken fern (蕨), wasabi stem (花山葵), and of course the little sansho flowers that I get all excited about.

Wrapped inside we have very creamy monkfish liver from Yoichi (余市) in Hokkaido with some crunchy ark shell (赤貝) from Oita Prefecture (大分県).

Iseno Shiroki Junmai Nama Sparkling (伊勢の白酒 純米生活性), 2022-23 - served at 10°C. Seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 65%. Fragrant nose with fruity notes. Sweet on the palate with some lactic acid.

Uni, hamaguri-clam, fukinotou, soba (雲丹  蛤  ふきのとう  蕎麦) - I was so, sooo happy to see this. Goshima-san and the kitchen team have been steady improving their soba dish, and it no longer looks like something that would taste bland. This version looked like it was covered in a creamy sauce of Hokkaido sea urchin.

And it was, indeed, very rich and creamy. The inclusion of butterbur bud (蕗の薹) added some bitterness, which countered some of the sweetness and creaminess of the sea urchin. At the same time clams from Chiba Prefecture (千葉県) provided some texture. Loved this dish.

Tedorigawa Shukon Junmai Daiginjo Nama (手取川 酒魂  純米大吟醸  特醸あらばしり), R4BY - served at 12°C. Seimaibuai of 45%. Rounded on the palate, a little viscous. Definitely sweet on the attack.

Hotaru-squid, bamboo shoot, spring roll, sticky rice, hana-sansyo (螢烏賊  筍  春巻  糯米  花山椒) - Goshima-san called this "Spring's spring roll (春の春巻)" as it featured seasonal spring ingredients. We've got fresh, crunchy bamboo shoots wrapped inside along with a miso made of firefly squid (螢烏賊) from Toyama Prefecture (富山県) that was very nice and rich, and again we had the sansho flowers providing some lovely fragrance.

We also had some glutinous rice with some firefly squid tentacles, while the sauce was made with the skin of the bamboo shoots.

Yuho Junmai Ginjo Nama (遊穂  純米吟醸  生うすにごり), 2022-23 - served at 14°C. Seimaibuai of 55%. More fermented on the nose, kinda fruity. A bit dry on the palate.

Scampi, scallop, sakura-shrimp, asparagus, broad bean (赤座海老  帆立  桜海老  アスパラガス  空豆) - love it when we get langoustines here - this time from Kanagawa Prefecture (神奈川県) - which was done mi-cuit. Also served with some scallops, broad beans, and koshiabura (漉油).

But of course the best thing about this dish was the sauce made of sakura shrimp (桜海老) from Shizuoka Prefecture (静岡県). I absolutely LOVE the intense flavors of these little babies, and it's only intensified when they get made into a purée! I would totally lick the plate clean!

Kaiun Junmai Nama (開運 無濾過  純米生), 2022-23 - served at 23°C. Seimaibuai of 55%. Richer, more viscous, but medium dry on the palate with the finish being a little bitter. After some food the palate was sweeter on the attack, but the finish stayed dry.

Kegani, tai-fish, tai-fish roe, hijiki seaweed (毛蟹  真鯛  鯛子  ひじき  蕗  桜) - the "fishball" was made by rolling up a slice of red seabream (真鯛) from Awaji (淡路) in Hyogo Prefecture (兵庫県), then garnishing with a preserved cherry leaf and a cherry flower which provided some salt and acidity.

Inside one will find a filling made of red seabream, Japanese horsehair crab (毛蟹) from Hokkaido, red sea bream roe (鯛子), butterbur (蕗) stem, and hijiki (ひじき).

Tenon Mizumoto Junmai Ginjo (天穏  水酛  純米吟醸), 2022-23 - served at 45°C. Seimaibuai of 60%. As this was served very warm, it was hot and alcoholic going down.

Abalone, abalone-liver, white asparagus, pine nut, rice (鮑  鮑肝  ホワイトアスパラガス  松の実  米) - we're back to the perennial favorite abalone rice, with the abalone coming from Miyagi Prefecture (宮城県). This time we've got white asparagus in addition to the usual morels and pine nuts. Still love it. And the perilla flowers always add that subtle little something extra.

Tamazakura Junmai Nama Nigori (玉櫻  とろとろにごり  純米生), 2022-23 - served at 11°C. Seimaibuai of 70%. Sweet on the palate, but the finish was spicy and alcoholic.

Kinki-fish, onion, Brussels sprouts, canola flower, kogomi, seaweed (吉次  新玉葱  芽キャベツ  菜花  こごみ  青海苔) - usually it's the smell of grilled broadbanded thornyhead (喜知次) that hits me, but tonight it was overpowered by the beautiful fragrance of aonori (青海苔). Needless to say the fish was beautiful, fatty, and succulent. Nice to see Brussels sprouts making an appearance, and of course loved to get more sansho flowers. I was a little surprised, though, that the onions and the soup was on the tepid side.

Jyuji Asahi Junmai Ginjo Genshu (十旭日 純米吟醸原酒), 2009-10 - served at 47°C. Seimaibuai of 55%. Very oxidized and served very warm, which enhanced the savory flavor profile, but lots of umami here.

Somen noodles (煮麺) - every time I see this I wanna ask Goshima-san if I could skip one of the other courses so I have 3 bowls of this. Well... tonight Foursheets decided to help me out by giving me her bowl.

This was Miwa Somen (三輪素麺) from Nara (奈良), with the little babies I love so much. So, so, so happy.

Earl Grey, brulee, pecan nut, ice cream, strawberry, wood cask 1992 (アールグレイ  ブリュレ  ピーカンナッツ  アイス  苺  樽酒1992)

Yoshinosugi no Taruzake (吉野杉の樽酒), 1992 - seimaibuai of 60%. Definitely big on the palate, very oaky and smoky, and definitely oxidized. Very nice with lots of character.

I was really, really happy tonight. Not only did I get to taste the little flowers I love so much, but all the dishes delivered in spades. Spring is definitely my favorite season when it comes to Japanese cuisine.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map