Sunday, October 22, 2006

Eating from the sea at Nobu Miami

Nobu has been on my “to try” list for years, but somehow when dinner selection time came around, it was never quite the right choice. During my years in New York, visiting Nobu’s popular branch required too much advance planning and there was too much hype about the dinning scene to make one wonder about the quality of the food, especially after the departure of Morimoto. When I moved to Atlanta, Nobu shifted towards the bottom of my revised dine out list as local spots occupied the top.

When E and I showed up in Miami, we were both craving some fresh sushi. Who knows, maybe the sun and the proximity of the sea inspires such cravings. Where to go? We hadn’t the forethought to have included a sushi destination. Not willing to take a chance on any old sushi spot as we both know what a bad choice could do to us, I suggested the Miami Nobu. After all, a famous institution must hold up to some sort of minimum standard.

Not expecting to be dazzled, we settled into the ultra casual dinning room and started our evening with a glass of fizzy bubbly. Maybe it’s because of our lack of high expectation or maybe it’s because of our seafood deprivation of late, we were complete wowed by what came after.

The first course (shown above) was a straight up tuna tatare. Besides tasting as if it came off the fish merely minutes ago, the pool of tangy yuzu sauce kicked the sides of our mouths into saliva overproduction. What a refreshing way to start!

Next up was a well portioned serving of salmon sashimi with a small micro green salad. Even in my super unprofessional photo, you can see the moist salmon shimmering in the candle light.

The salmon was followed by a sea scallop carpaccio. Neither E nor I are fans of carpaccios, but we managed to eat most of these, which is saying a whole lot. Of course, I omitted mentioning to E, who is adverse to all scallops , that these were creatures of the same kind. It was in this instance as in most, my theory that ignorance is bliss is proven true. We both enjoyed the sweet savory sauce quite a bit.

What came next was my favorite of the evening and the object of my latest obsession - miso-glazed black cod. I envy all those living in Japan for the accessibility to this sinful preparation. Black cod or butterfish, as it is referred to in Japan and Hawaii, is the most decadent offering of the sea world. The taste is surprisingly close to a sumptuous block of fresh warm lard slathered in a miso-soy glaze. I doubt that even the butter-loving grandmas here in the south who think nothing of throwing a pound of butter into their biscuits could conjure up such a sinful concoction. Everytime I eat it, I remind myself that I must ask for it as my last meal before execution.

Next up was the sushi, which was fresh no less, but at this point of the meal, it was merely a cleanser for our overworked palate. Of all that was presented, I loved the uni the most. Its subtle sweetness really made me sorry for what I have been missing here in Atlanta. Hopefully we'll be able to get these fresh on a regular basis in the near future.
Before the clam, we were served a light grilled Kobe fillet. I am not sure why the picture is missing. Perhaps we were too excited to see red meat and wolfed it down before I was able to get a beauty shot. The beef was as sublime as well-cooked kobe tend to be. The marbling turned into a sticky liquid that dripped down our chins.

The clams are not too special. The garlicky broth would have been a great bread dipper if we had any, but at this point we were just as happy that there wasn't any as we were about to burst at the seam.

Finally we were served dessert. I don't ever expect too much in this department when eating in an Asian establishment. The chocolate cake was pleasant, but not surprising. The sake was a good finish, but liquid hardly takes the place of a well put-together dessert. I am glad the fruits were there as they were very fresh, but all I wanted to do at that moment was to go to bed.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A month of food - how to begin

So I've disappeared off the face of the planet (okay, maybe just the blogsphere) for the last month. Am I sorry for having neglected my poor blog as another more conscientious blogger would feel? Well, no! I had a fantastic time away from everything!

For starters, I ate my way across the island of Oahu. How amazing is it to be served some of the best and most ingeniously prepared seafood in a beautiful setting while playing footsie under the table in your flip flops! Ahhh... island life. I have been made weak and lazy by the blue sky and turquoise ocean. Too weak to be back at work again and too lazy to write a large first return post. For now, feast your eyes on a few pictures of one of our dinners. Just to give you an idea of some of the exciting dishes that I got to try, the seared foie in the second picture is stacked on top of a piece of uber fresh tuna that was also lightly seared to achieve an amazingly similar texture to the foie!

Stay tuned, I'll be back with more pictures and better verbiage... when I get myself fully integrated back into my real life.