Thursday, October 7, 2010

A real treat by Chef

Fish Nabe: A birthday treat from Chef.

[I wonder is it possible to be a gourmand at 21? A random house dictionary tells me a gourmand is who is of often indiscriminately and 21 years and one day old what am I? I'm still finding out, but I can tell you, I'd love a good meal anytime.]

As a 21 birthday treat, Chef brought me to Miz Restaurant for a surprise dinner. Our dinner wasn't on the menu. It was a request from Chef to Mizu-san (the restaurant's executive chef). A request that would require a medium-large fish, a really fresh medium-large fish from Japan.

I was excited.

Appetizer: Fish liver with spiced radish, dashi-tamago and lightly pickled octopus.

Read: Fish liver. This is my first time eating one...Do you have any idea how enormous the fish has to be to possess a liver that big?? And how should I describe it.. You know how a foie gras taste like? This is smoother in texture, firmer in shape and lighter in taste with no fishy odour attached to it, which frankly is quite amazing. Currently my second favourite liver dish after duck.

Sashimi of the body of the fish. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to recall the name of this fish.. I was too high on sake and umeshu to remember tiny details like that. What I do remember is this sashimi is really sweet. And unlike other white fish which flesh can sometimes be a bit soft and mushy, this sashimi is tender yet firm, allowing us to chew on it fully to comprehend its sweetness before washing it down with more sake.

Fish nabe's accompanying vegetables: lettuce, mushrooms, Japanese negi, sliken tofu and shirataki noodles.

After the sashimi was gone by about half, the claypot of fish head (and tail) soup, deeply flavoured with dashi and soy sauce, arrives. Chef and Ami proceeds to throw in vegetables like familiar pros, negi first, tofu next, followed by lettuce and mushrooms.. On went the lid, we ate more sashimi while waiting for the soup to reboil.
Steam emits from the steam hole of the lid, we know it is ready. Now for the principal act: Chopsticks poised with a raw slice of fish dangling off its tip, dip into the the boiling broth for two seconds exactly, put the medium-rare fish into your mouth and chew with exaggerated adagio. There, a taste of heaven.

Udon comes after all the fish and vegetables are gone to fill our stomachs to its maximum capacity. I like this part the best. The broth is sweet and thick with aroma, the result of boiling fish head and vegetables for prolonged period. Coupled with plain udon. Perfect.
Thank you Chef and Ami chan for this exquisite dinner!

Even when we were bloated, stuffed, bellies swollen with fish, soup, udon and sake, a dinner like this is not complete without dessert. We had black sesame ice-cream, amen.

No comments: