June 10, 2023

Sake birthday

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It's Birthday Week for DaRC, and Chuckie has arranged a series of celebrations. We were lucky enough to be part of tonight's celebrations, and ended up with our second visit to UZA by Nikushou. We had the whole counter to ourselves, which made things a lot more fun.

RAW Yeah has, of course, taken care of the menu for tonight. I guess it wasn't surprising that there's a lot of overlap with what I had on my first visit two months ago.

Amela tomato with umeshu jelly (アメーラトマトと梅酒のジュレー) - well... this time we got spoons for the dish to scoop up the jelly, but for a dish being shared between two people, we still only got one spoon. Otherwise, though, this tasted nice just as expected.

Jellyfish and seaweed - not sure why the chef introduced this as "水母" instead of the more familiar term of "海蜇", and we were told that the texture "is similar to 海蜇"... Actually, I'm not sure why this was on the menu.

Pickles (漬物) - always love the pickles at RAW Yeah's restaurants. We've got wasabi stems tonight.

Deep-fried glass shrimp (白海老フライ) - always really happy to have glass shrimp, especially when they're deep-fried with their shells and their heads on.

Eel chawamnushi (鰻茶碗蒸し) - love this fluffy, jiggly steamed egg custard with eel, topped with plum sauce.

Sashimi (お作り) - so we had four different types of raw seafood tonight:

Scallop (帆立貝)

Young yellowtail (ハマチ)

Sweet shrimp (甘海老)

Donchichi Aji (どんちっちあじ) - from Hamada (浜田) in Shimane Prefecture (島根県). This really is some pretty fatty and special horse mackerel (鯵).

Purple sea urchin (紫雲丹) with Japanese green sea urchin (馬糞雲丹) - the purple sea urchin from Iwate Prefecture (岩手県) came in its shell. We also got tongues of Japanese green sea urchin in the middle.

The purple sea urchin tonight was sweeter and creamier, but the flavors of the bafun (馬糞) kinda overpowered it.

Eel shirayaki (鰻白焼き) - the eel from Lake Hamana (浜名湖) in Shizuoka Prefecture (静岡県) showed very delicate flavors.

Chicken karaage (チキン唐揚げ) - YES!!! Fried chicken! Tonight we had two types of sauces - a grated radish along with the usual mala (麻辣) chicken liver sauce.

Unlike the pieces I had at Nikushou last week, these were really, almost perfectly executed. The paper-thin skin was just right.

Onion tempura (玉葱天ぷら) - from Awaji Island (淡路島). Juicy and sweet.

Fried oyster (牡蠣フライ) - apparently this was a bad batch.

Steamed clams (蛤酒蒸し)

I didn't take pictures of the soup tonight, but I still gotta mention how good it is... with all the finely chopped leeks and nori (海苔).

Crab leg (蟹足) - a supplement due to the poor oyster. Damn tasty.

Grilled eel with rice (鰻蒲焼き) - very, very good... I had a second bowl thanks to Foursheets. Would have liked a little more sansho (山椒).

Serradura pudding - there was now a choice of two desserts, and this was definitely the better option. Loved this.

We had plenty of alcohol but apparently not as much as what the birthday boy went through the other night.

2010 Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoch Rosé - good acidity and maturity.

Kokuryu Hiirazu Junmai Daiginjo Nama (黒龍 ⽕いら寿 純⽶⼤吟醸 ⽣), 2022 - seimaibuai of 35%. Nose of banana, really fragrant and floral, very refreshing and clean. A little bit of fermented flavors on the palate, which was surprising.

Aramasa New Year's Day Special Brew (新政 新年純米しぼりたて -isopokamuy- ) 2023 - very clean, very precise, fragrant but not as fruity, with more fermented rice lees.

Aramasa 170th Anniversary Commemorative Brew (新政  創業170周年記念酒), R3BY - similar nose to the New Year's Day Special Brew, but leaner on the palate. More woodsy notes here, almost like Japanese cypress, thanks to fermentation in wooden barrels. Very fragrant with a lot more depth of flavors.

Hakurakusei Zankyo "Super 7" (伯楽星 残響 "Super 7"), 2017 - much more fermented rice lees, starchy, sweet. Very rounded and viscous on the palate. So smooth and beautiful.

Kikuhime Tokugin (菊姫 特吟), H8BY (released 2019), from isshobin - nose was a little on the dry side, with a slight hint of fermentation due to extended aging. Definitely more dry and spicy on the finish, with much more depth on the palate. With more aeration over time, as well as warming up, this became more dry and sharp on the palate.

It's been a while since the lot of us were able to see each other, and it certainly was a lot of fun... especially with all the alcohol. Let's hope we can do another gathering soon!

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