So for Christmas, Biscuit and I agreed to celebrate together in our favorite way – Going out to eat. Because she is in the restaurant industry, December, her busy season, was out of the question. We agreed to go in January.
I pushed for earlier in January so I could get my binging out of the way, making way for a diet. 2010’s goal is to be a 'littlebit' svelte. What better way to start a diet than by eating so much that you never want to eat again. Am I right people?
There was no discussion about where we would go. It was the one place we’d both heard about in all the foodie circles, read about in all the foodie blogs and feared would soon become too mainstream. That fear has almost been realized due to a famous “No Reservations” author who made it his restaurant of choice when stopping through.
The restaurant is a small Japanese place called Kihachi. It is one of those places that is inconspicuous because it is right under your nose, in the middle of a bustling strip mall.
Biscuit, with her life long desire to be Korean (a far stretch for my blond/blue eyed sibling) has always been my culinary guide through such cuisine. When she said we should do “Omakase”,I said OK. Then I had to ask, “what is omakase?” Literally translated, it means “It’s up to you.” In the dinning world, it means the Chef would set your menu.
It was a wonderful dinner on a cold Tuesday night. Biscuit was waiting at the sushi bar. We said hello and got straight to ordering Kirin and Sake. There is nothing that will warm you through faster on a bitter cold day than warm sake.
The whole evening felt warm and fuzzy. Good company, good conversation, wonderful food, copious amounts of sake and a cozy atmosphere. The evening was so fuzzy, I had to document each course so I could recall the simple complexity of each dish.
The first course was a trio of delights, the most memorable being the uni. I’ve had uni before but never liked it. It has always been presented to me in an almost gelatinous state. This was denser with a fine grain texture. The other two players in the trio were mere accompaniments.
The second course was plate of small bites, including herring roe that was packed together like a pieces of sushi. It was all one solid pieces so you could bite into it but maintained the texture of a millions tiny bubbles bursting in your mouth as you chew.
The third course was a sushi course, tuna and jackfish with fresh wasabi. This wasn’t the neon green, burn your mouth stuff we get in the Midwest, this was the real stuff. Worth dipping your finger in and trying on its own. It was a flash of spicy hot. And just as quickly the heat was gone.
The fourth course was the only thing that was too strange and exotic for me, it was
a sticky/chewy rice cake in a stew. The rice cake looked solid but when biting into it, the cake was soft and slightly gelatenous. You had to tug at it with your teeth to get it to break apart. How could something be so soft yet hold together so strongly? The taste was like salty paste. I know Biscuit loved it, but I can’t figure out WHY.
The fifth course was my favorite. It took us a couple times to understand what they were saying. It was a cod roe custard. The warmth and texture reminded me of a hearty potato soup, except this was richer and more flavorful. It had the thick custard for the richness, backed by the clean flavor of broth. I know someone more eloquent than myself could better describe the experience.
The sixth course was a miso glazed pork cheek. Do I have to say any more? YUM.
The seventh course was a tempura stuffed lotus root. Mind you all of these course were no more than a couple of bites. This just left you wanting more. As I’m writing about it now, I want more tempura stuffed lotus root.
The final course (I guess nine is just to much) was an Asian pear with compote. This was exactly how I expected the meal to end, fresh, clean and simple.
EXCEPT, I wasn’t ready for our night to be over. And to be honest, I wasn’t ready to start a diet without some chocolate. I know what you are thinking, 8 courses and I still have room for more? Yep.
So biscuit and I went for a nightcap and some chocolate. And now, as I’m writing this, two weeks into a diet, there is saliva dripping down my chin.
Thank you Biscuit. I can’t wait to go back.