Evan is here. He took approx 200 photos. Oh boy, is there some blackmail material on his memory card, too. But anyway. Here is the first course: a yellow tomato confit with yuzu and chives. Jump for the next eight, and a photo of one gorgeous geisha girl.
Second course: Hassun: Alaskan Copper River wild salmon nigiri, ramps, takuan. Fantastic.
Third: Mukozuke: Atlantic lobster sashimi with mizuna, chrysanthemum, and vanilla. For me, the vanilla was a little too sweet. But I’ve never had lobster sashimi, and I would definitely have it again.
Fourth: Futamono: Green vegetable soup, fiddleheads, wasabi creme fraiche. As has been stated previously, this was my favorite course. Clean, simple, not overly salted. And the crunchy fiddleheads in the soup were such a surprise to discover.
Fifth: Yakimono: Filet of sole with squash blossom tempura and shiso gemolata. Evan called the gremolata a “Japanese pesto.” Others (ahem, Whit Meyers) will probably disagree, but I thought the lovely tempura would have been even lovlier with a dash of salt.
Sixth: Naka-choko: Late spring strawberry with sansho, black pepper, and granita. This one was the surprise course of the night. They are poached peppers and chef Hung says they buy them that way. They still tasted like peppercorns, without the intensity. They messed with the flavors of the dish and made our mouths tingle. The granita was grapefruit. The strawberries tasted rich instead of sweet…a very cool sensation.
Seventh: Shiizakana: Braised lamb shoulder, crispy soft shell crab, with watercress and karashi. The karashi is a spicy Japanese mustard that was served on the side. It was hot. But braised lamb shoulder and soft shell crab? It’s allll gooooood.
Eighth: Gohan: Traditional kaiseki rice service: tamanishiki, kinshi tamago, twice cooked buta, maitake, tsukemono. There are a lot of words I don’t know in there, but here’s a translation: this was rice topped with slivers of cooked egg, and slow-braised pork belly topped with maitake mushrooms. Tsukemono is a Japanese pickle.
Ninth: Mizumono: “Broken” phyllo tart, raspberry, white chocolate Chantilly.
A gorgeous meal, paired with fantastic sakes. My favorite was the Kamoizumi, a cloudy sake that is usually served for dessert. We got it to pair with the soup and the filet of sole. The Watari Bune “55” was the “trendiest,” according to chef Hung, and the Kamotsuru “Sokaku” was $50 a pour, we heard. The meal ended with a tea service. Chef Yuki Hirabayashi was so sweet explaining how special this tea is to him. He had only had it two times previously. “When Japanese drink this tea, we get excited!” he said. A special way to end such a special evening.
Our fabulous host, geisha Nancy Nichols.