April 23, 2024

Little flowers with sake

Pin It

Those little flowers I love so much each spring are finally in season, and I know that RAW Yeah has been getting them in his restaurants. Plenty of friends have had their turn enjoying them at Nikushou, and I figured I needed to get some for myself. It's been a while since we last hung out with Winnie the Chew and the Zhongmeister, and having a little sake together with some beef sounded pretty good right now.

The boss has now put together a special menu just to showcase the sansho flowers (花山椒), so that makes things easy for us.

Toyama firefly squid and spring vegetables with sumiso (富山螢烏賊 山独活 こごみ 白アスパラ 酢味噌) - the sumiso (酢味噌) came with a mustard-like kick and it was on the sweet side. Love that we have a few of the spring vegetables that are in season now.

Of course, nothing's gonna be better than these firefly squid (螢烏賊)... especially when I can put the sansho flowers on top!

"Karen" oyster (小長井華蓮牡蠣) - these Karen (華漣) oysters from Konagai-cho (小長井町) in Nagasaki Prefecture (長崎県) were pretty fat and creamy, and tasted more on the sweet side.

Clam chawanmushi and hanasansho (花山椒 九十九里浜はまぐり 茶碗蒸し) - the clams came from Kujukuri Beach (九十九里浜) in Chiba Prefecture (千葉県). I love how the sansho flowers deliver that numbing and tingling sensation, which stands out against the clean flavors of the steamed egg custard.

Yura aka-uni (淡路島赤うに) - these Japanese pink sea urchins (赤雲丹) came from Yura (由良) on Awaji Island (淡路島) in Hyogo Prefecture (兵庫県).

Egg cockle (室津鳥貝 朝蒸し) - the Japanese cockles (鳥貝) came from Murotsu (室津) on Awaji Island (淡路島) in Hyogo Prefecture (兵庫県). I liked the sweetness I tasted.

Hokkaido sea urchin and Hida wagyu zabuton sushi with hanasansho (花山椒 雲丹飛騨牛座布団すし) - I had seen friends post this on social media, and I jokingly called this the "nouveau riche sushi (暴發戶壽司)" since it's got wagyu beef and sea urchin - two things that are among the favorite ingredients of many people... especially KOLs who find them "Instagrammable".

To be fair, it WAS tasty. How could it not be, especially when you've got the sansho flowers in the mix?!

Grilled freshwater eel with sansho pepper sauce (うなぎ 山椒焼き 花山椒) - ah... yes... One of the signature dishes of the restaurant gets better during flower season, as we have both the marinated pepper and the flowers of the pepper together.

Fried Hida wagyu chateaubriand, white asparagus and fava bean (飛騨牛ヒレ 白アスパラ 空豆) - a very "heaty" dish of three ingredients which have been battered and deep-fried.

The chateaubriand was well-marbled and very, very tender, as expected. Yum.

Signature hanasansho sirloin sukishabu (花山椒 名物 サーロインすきしゃぶ 鍋) - we also look forward to this every year... shabu-shabu (しゃぶしゃぶ) with the flowers, although RAW Yeah now calls it "sukishabu (すきしゃぶ)" - as he feels it's a combination of sukiyaki (すき焼き) and shabu-shabu.

Wendy came to immerse the ingredients in the pot for us, since RAW Yeah was busy socializing with the customers...

The beef has soaked up some of the broth, got dressed in a sheer coat of melted fat, and now came crowned with fragrant flowers.

Hanasansho porridge (花山椒雑炊) - this was also a nice way to have the flowers.

While we enjoyed our dishes, it felt a little strange to come here and only get a small amount of beef... so we decided to add a few things.

Australian ox tongue (オーストラリア牛タン) - we pretty much never leave the restaurant without some tongue...

This was really nice as we expected, as it was always crunchy around the edges.

Hida A5 chuck flap (飛騨牛A5 座布団) - one of my favorite cuts, as it's often got that thickness to make it more satisfying to bite into, with a springy yet very tender texture.

The boys were obviously still hungry, and I was none too pleased about the lack of deep-fried items today due to the head chef being on holiday, so we were sent a few nibbles to go with our remaining sake and wine...

Deep-fried sakura shrimp

Grilled dried marinated blowfish

Grilled cod crackers


The reason to get together with the Zhongmeister was to deliver a T-shirt I had bought him from Uniqlo. Knowing he is a fan of Katsuyama (勝山) sake, I had to bring him this nice shirt when I saw it. And since I decided to bring along Foursheets' favorite sake from Bijofu (美丈夫), I wore the shirt that Uniqlo made with them. Was I surprised when my friend brought a bottle from Katsuyama to dinner? Not really...

Bijofu Junmai Daiginjo Yumebakari Time (美丈夫 純米大吟醸 夢許 Time), 2023 - seimaibuai of 30%. Nice and starchy rice on the nose, along with musk melon and some fermentation notes. Relatively dry on the palate. Later on this got a little sweeter mid-palate and on the finish.

Katsuyama Junmai Daiginjo Hyojuku (勝山 純米大吟醸 氷熟貯蔵酒), 2020 - seimaibuai of 35%. Nose was really rich and starchy, and a little sweet. Very soft, supple, and elegant on the palate. Then a little later the palate suddenly became more dry.

2002 Kongsgaard Syrah - drank after 1 hour in the decanter. Nose was really fragrant, almost jammy, with really concentrated notes of cassis, black fruits, some lovely woodsy notes and spices plus leather. Drinking so well right now.

A very happy dinner tonight. Always good to catch up with old friends, and happy that I got to nibble on my favorite little flowers.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map