Sunday, March 13, 2016

Back in Japan (March 2016)...Dinner at DEN

Donabe beef rice 

Luckily, I woke up feeling no jet lag in the morning.

 photo IMG_7589_zpswm15hvas.jpg
It was a cold rainy day. I had a haircut in the afternoon and went to Nihonbashi for shopping. One of the shops I like to stop by in Nihonbashi is a unique Japanese tea shop, Ocharaka. It's run by a French teamster, Stephane-san. He makes beautiful flavor green teas and the shop has about 50 different kinds of flavor green teas all the time.

 photo IMG_7593_zpszj8thmrw.jpg
Today, there was also a tea grower, Miura-san, visiting from Shizuoka. He is a green tea grower and also makes black tea from beni-fuki tea leaves. His tea was fantastic.

 photo IMG_7688_zpsxqgxd6qw.jpg  photo IMG_7603_zpszxnjywzt.jpg
Then, Stephane-san, made cold brew gyokuro green tea. It was a great tasting, and I learned so much about different ways to enjoy tea from him. He drizzled soy sauce over the leftover leaves, and it turned into a tasty snack, which made me even crave for sake!

 photo IMG_7607_zpsqlcdiq1p.jpg
At night, I had dinner with a friend at Jimbocho Den. This is a famous Japanese restaurant by a charismatic chef, Zaiyu Hasegawa. It was my first time to dine there, but we have many mutual friends. As soon as I entered the restaurant, I saw my DONABE Cookbook in the bookshelf in the reception!

 photo IMG_7608_zpsv5vpxgov.jpg  photo IMG_7611_zpslongqmjb.jpg  photo IMG_7615_zps2eweyk6q.jpg
The dinner is full omakase with seasonal ingredients. The amuse was Saikyo miso marinated foie-gras, hoshigaki, and iburi-gakko (pickled smoked daikon) monaka (thin wafer made from mochi flour).

 photo IMG_7617_zpskdb849fu.jpg  photo IMG_7621_zpsrx7obvtf.jpg
Soup was turtle dashi broth with bamboo shoot and spring onions.

 photo IMG_7626_zpscvng0zsr.jpg  photo IMG_7629_zpsrzwv1k2i.jpg  photo IMG_7630_zps1rxeu9g9.jpg
DEN's famous stuffed "fried chicken"!

 photo IMG_7632_zpsqk7uud5e.jpg  photo IMG_7634_zpsoemcrktj.jpg  photo IMG_7642_zpsqxweevpn.jpg  photo IMG_7641_zps5yupvxcx.jpg
Every sake and food pairing was really fantastic, too. 5-day aged amadai sashimi, and aged and grilled fish (I forgot the name) with roasted bottarga, etc.

 photo IMG_7647_zps4qb9dwd9.jpg  photo IMG_7653_zpsemx2gvrc.jpg
The special salad included a couple dozen different vegetables with kombu dust and an ant!

 photo IMG_7655_zpsoubyv1sb.jpg
Donabe rice time. Zaiyu-san made two different kinds of donabe rice. Gindara rice and beef rice.

 photo IMG_7658_zpsveb9fxkk.jpg  photo IMG_7671_zpsvztzaghc.jpg  photo IMG_7675_zpswd21xkxf.jpg
Gindara (black cod) rice was so elegant.

 photo IMG_7663_zpscwhjr2mn.jpg  photo IMG_7679_zpsttnnivcz.jpg
Beef was slow cooked in dashi-based broth for a few hours, and it was rested in the same broth for a week. Then, it was cooked with the rice in a donabe. The beef was perfectly tender and melted in my mouth. I had to request another bowl of it!

 photo IMG_7687_zpsdmthhehx.jpg
Dessert was so creative, too. What a amazing night it was. Zaiyu-san is not only an exceptionally talented Japanese chef, but he is also not afraid of trying new (often non-Japanese) ideas into his cooking. It was such a memorable dinner. And, of course, his donabe rice dishes were extraordinary.

Happy donabe life.