May 7, 2024

Peanuts in the 'hood

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The Peanut Gang last did dinner earlier this year at a famous hot pot restaurant which I had never been to, but the truth is we haven't been to a proper decent restaurant in a while. PR8 is usually busy dining in his clients' establishments, and requested to return to Neighborhood for the first time since his last visit - which was one of the Peanut Gang's gatherings some 4 years ago. As many of us are fans of The Man in White T-shirt, this was a no-brainer.

Shirley called and asked whether we would prefer to order our own dishes, or let the boss set the menu for us. Well... I did want some of the seasonal specials that might come up, so I asked for omakase (お任せ) but also requested that the amount of food be kept under control. Let's see what happens!

A little drama isn't unusual at a Peanut Gang dinner, and right off the bat someone suffered a gout attack on the way to dinner. We also had to shift the dinner start time back and forth, moving it an hour ahead at the request of PR8, who then proceeded to be 45 minutes late, anway...

Kuruma prawns - these small local prawns are always really tasty, cooked in fish stock and just needed a little spice and seasoning on top.

Smoked Hokkaido mackerel - the smoked fish is a must here, and tonight it was a mackerel from Hokkaido. So flavorful. And that horseradish sauce on the side is always good, too.

Local beef shin, ravigote sauce - not something we see from The Man in White T-shirt all the time. The beef was boiled and didn't have much flavor on its own, and really needed the ravigote on top for the acidity. The beef was sliced reasonably thick, and as it was served cold after cooking, it was pretty chewy thanks to the sinews.

Anything delicious here is more delicious on bread.

Deep-fried local mackerel - one can never go wrong with deep-fried fish, and 4 years ago we had something similar.

Japanese fruit tomatoes / burrata / caviar - the tomatoes were nice and sweet, so that worked well with the creamy burrata and the salty caviar.

White asparagus - always good to have seasonal veg, and this is now everywhere.

Crab and potato salad - there is no universe in which this dish would not be super tasty.

And always better on bread!

We got a pan of sizzling baby squid, which was pretty much the same at that dinner 4 years ago.

These baby spread are, of course, wonderful on sourdough bread.

Black sausage / fried egg - the menu no longer says "Christian Parra" but the boudin basque remains as tasty as ever. After all these years, this is still one of my favorite dishes from The Man in White T-shirt.

High-finned grouper tail - this is one of my favorite preparations of fish, ever... The tail of the high-finned grouper (老鼠斑) came with tomato, basil, and potatoes in a broth with acidity. Packing really big flavors here. Absolutely loved the thick, crunchy skin of the fish.

Roast pigeon with foie gras - the boss continues to serve us dishes that are gout-friendly. I do love the accompanying vegetables, and there were lots of peas in addition to carrots, radishes, lettuce, and the potatoes that so devilishly delicious.

I don't recall the pigeons ever served this way, but there's a good reason for that.

The pigeons have been stuffed with chunks of foie gras. Totally up the alley of someone suffering from a gout attack.

Mille-feuille - this was the only dessert I wanted to try, as I'd never had it before. Not bad la...

Canelés

Pretty restrained night in terms of alcohol. Undoubtedly a good idea on this occasion.

2019 Klein Constantia Cap Classique Blanc de Blanc - a little tart on the palate. Not very interesting.

2003 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast - served 15 minutes after opening without decanting. Pretty fragrant nose with nice notes of leather. A bit more acidic on the palate than expected, with some notes of hawthorne.

2013 Albert Morot Savigny-lès-Beaune 1er Cru La Bataillèrre Aux Vergelesses - a little soapy and floral, with notes of black cherries.

This was such a fun evening! Exactly why we started meeting up in this format in the first place. Next up... perhaps trying an establishment where the chef's skills are questionable and where feedback has been very divided...

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