June 8, 2024

Aussies in the hood

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My friends from Down Under requested to revisit Neighborhood, as they had enjoyed their visit back in 2018 very much. We had a smaller group this time around as a few of our common friends were busy or out of town, so unfortuntely there would be no repeat of having 4 magnums with dinner...

I asked The Man in White T-shirt not to kill us, since there were only 4 of us. But of course, the Kitchen Nazi is not one to listen... and I didn't even try to order from the menu tonight.

Kuruma prawns - these are always so good. Love that the Kitchen Nazi gets his fishmonger to get him kuruma prawns in this size, because they're just so tender.

Saucisson "Noir de Bigorre" from Basque black pigs - it's been a while since the last got to taste this, as the Kitchen Nazi preferred to send us dishes that weren't so processed...

Smoked Hokkaido mackerel - as tasty as ever.

Grilled bottarga - I love this, as always. Nice and smoky.

Grilled abalone

Deep-fried local horse mackerel - this never fails to make me happy. Love how tiny these are, and I'd take this over any fish and chips!

Japanese fruit tomatoes / burrata / caviar - I had this a month ago, but tonight we got nasturtium flowers, too.

Poached white asparagus - these came from Germany.

Hokkaido scallops / bottarga - the scallops were marinated with a little bit of soy sauce, and came with shavings of bottarga as well as a sprinkle of very fragrant coriander flowers.

Local beef shin, ravigote sauce - very happy to have this again. Love how chewy the beef is, and of course I had to have it with the sourdough.

Icefish - I love icefish, and these came with a parsely-based sauce and a raw egg yolk.

As with many things here, this was also best enjoyed on some sourdough. The yolk adds more depth, and I love the little heat in the sauce that delivers a little kick.

Grilled baby squid - I don't think I'll ever get tired of having these here. The quality of the seafood here is just unbelievable. The squid was just so fresh and tender, and the flavors of the sauce... with that little kick! And YES, better with sourdough!

Handmade garganelli / wild boar ragu / tripe - FINALLY! It's been too long since the Kitchen Nazi allowed me to have the garganelli with wild boar ragù here, and tonight some beef tripe was thrown in... making it even better. So, soooo happy!

Slipper lobster paella - WOW! Over the years I've had many, many different seafood toppings on paella coming out of the kitchens of The Man in White T-shirt, but this was still a first for me.

This slipper lobster was YUGE! I certainly have never seen anything this size. And this was so, soooo delicious. Love the socarrat in the paella. I really wish I had room in my stomach for more rice, but I knew there was a SECOND main course coming our way...

French veal short rib / truffle - the meat sourcing here is almost as good as their seafood sourcing, and this was some real delicious veal! I love how it's got the right amount of charring around the edges for that smoky flavor to go along with the satisfying fat. In addition to the black truffle - probably Australian given the season - the mixed greens here were very interesting and complemented well.

Mille-feuille - with dehydrated raspberries.

Canelés - we didn't just have these fake cat anuses to finsih our meal, but there was actually a real live cat in the restaurant tonight with a real cat anus.

We had a few nice bottles with us tonight, but The Man in White T-shirt was busy drinking his own booze...

2008 Vilmart Cœur de Cuvée, en magnum, dégorgée en Novembre 2016 - there was good acidity on the palate, very nice and elegant with a little bit of floral scent, but also a little savory on the nose.

2004 Kistler Pinot Noir Bodega Headlands Vineyard Cuvée Elizabeth - decanted more than an hour after opening and served 15 minutes later. Pretty sweet on the nose with lovely leather notes, and almost a little floral and violet. Drinking well.

Jikon Tokubetsu Junmai Nama, 2023 - lots of sugary starchy rice on the nose along with some notes of banana. Very fresh and lively.

This was yet another meal where there was way too much food... but then again, that's always been the case when The Man in White T-shirt is around. We count ourselves lucky to have been fed so well by him, and I'm glad to have had the opportunity to spend more time with my friends. Here's to more Champagne and Burgs next time!

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