Monday, November 21, 2011

Kanoyama Omakase

Persimmon in sesame seed/chestnut butter--sweet and juicy

After seeing Nathan Myhrvold speak at Astor Center, we threw the White Truffle Festival at Buon Italia under the bus to go to Kanoyama mainly because it was closer. It was a good idea. 

Natto paste with uni;
the natto had aspic in it to help hold the shape.
I've never willingly had natto before because it looked gross.
Also, I'm not a huge fan of uni unless it's Santa Barbara uni.
But the dish was good!
Maybe it's not natto paste?

We were sat immediately at a table, but when Jon asked the waiter about the omakase, the waiter immediately recommended it and that we do it that evening since the chef wasn't busy. Like, the bar that the omakase was supposed to occur at was empty. (We thought it was the drink bar area for guests waiting for tables since that was where some of those people were being stored.) We felt a little bad about how the waiter basically screwed himself out of a tip, but hopefully the tips are pooled, so maybe he got a share for referring us. 

Last year I would've given this dish to Jon.
I really don't like uni.
But I took a bite, and it was good!
It was sweet!
There was almost too much of it for me though.
But I ate it all up.
I also found two small uni spines in my teeth.
Be careful eating these.
The uni was from Maine, surprisingly.

I have no idea how much it cost, but it was a really good omakase. As you'll see in a few moments, there was a lot of sashimi. I feel like most omakase have more sushi pieces than sashimi. Then I feel that I have to roll off the bar stool at the end of the meal because of being so full of rice.

The wasabi came in a cute vessel shaped like a shell.
It was also good fresh wasabi, though is there a bad fresh wasabi?

The chef was nice enough. He was relatively young, and he was attentive, but not like those older sushi chefs that for one reason or another try to engage you in conversation. He answered our few questions, and he probably would be your buddy if that's the kind of experience you look for in an omakase. He spoke with friends who had come in, and at the end he had a small glass of sake with the waiter who was helping him with our meal.

Baby blue fin tuna. The veal of the sea.
So delicious!
Itadakimasu, baby blue fin tuna!
(I'm working on a children's book about baby zoo animals.
Maybe I'll put together one about eating baby animals.
That can be the repetitive line.)

We got in at around 9 p.m. and left around 11:30 p.m. It was perfect timing for eating late, and it really didn't seem that long at all. And I didn't feel gross afterward. Score!

Mackerel. I think.
This definitely got more flavorful as I chewed.
I remember thinking that, normally, I'd never eat something that still had
what looked like its skin on it.
Then I was like, well, good thing I don't suck anymore.

The sashimi was so good. So, so, so good. The more you chewed, the sweeter the fish got in your mouth. What magic is that?! The appetizers were so good too. For whatever reason the teapot soup dish with mushrooms (dobin mushi) didn't take. It was the best. I wish I could eat that everyday for lunch.

Grilled tuna. It might be more baby tuna.
He grilled it on one of those smokeless charcoal grills.
It tasted so good.
We had just been told at Nathan's lecture that what gives grilled food
its flavor is the fat that gets released and thrown back on it.
(I butchered what he said. Buy the book. Read the chapter.)
Mmm . . .

The chef basically hand fed us the sushi pieces he made, so we didn't take any photos of those. There was one uni piece from Hokkaido that tasted like the reason I'm not a huge fan of uni. Huge difference from the Maine uni appetizer above or any Santa Barbara uni. Like the juices were making me gag. Oh, uni.

Needlefish! These guys look funny. See link to website below.
Their chins are what make the needle part!
What an underbite!

The restaurant's website is pretty informative about the fish we ate. What's also kind of interesting was that the fish wasn't kept in a kind of refrigerated case. They were in Japanese-style fish boxes behind the bar. The bar where the sushi in the refrigerated cases was was more for prep and making rolls for those at the tables.

Clam piece. I think. It was actually one of the first pieces,
and it got fancier from there. But since it's kind of
difficult to reorder stuff on blogger, it's here.
"Eat with Japanese salt and wasabi.
Don't dip your wasabi into the soy sauce," he told us.
(That's the clientele they usually get it seems.)

The restaurant's bathroom on the main level is tiny--like airplane tiny, but it was clean, which is all it really needs to be.

::ray of light; angel's saying, "Ooh!" sound effects::

This dessert was one of the best in my life. It had apples that were like whipped up. Like apple-flavored whipped cream. With some cinnamon on top. Ingenious and satisfying. The acidity of the apples removed all the oily fish taste in my mouth. It was so refreshing. After this dish, they also gave us a small scoop of ice cream. We both got green tea. It was good, but another bowl of the apple dessert would've been better!

Overall it was a great experience, and I'd recommend going. And I look forward to going back during another season to see what yummy fish are on the menu then. It's different from Yasuda and Yohei and the other great sushi places, but it's definitely not lesser.
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