Monday, July 24, 2017

I Never Thought I'd Eat That - Dinner

Went to Izakaya for the 'I'd Never Thought I'd Eat That' dinner.
 But first, a drink: Fuku Bounce - Sprinkling Wine, Pear Brandy, Lemon, Togarishi Pear.  Go down quite nice.
Here's our menu.  5 Course menu, brain child from Chef Hori (Kata Robata) and Chef Philipe (Izakaya) 
Chef Philipe talking about the dish.
First Course: Jellyfish and Shiso Ebi Ceviche.  They had fresh jellyfish and the way they treated it, it was nice and fresh and crunchy.  Instead of typical ceviche lime sauce, they used a fermented tea leaf dressing, and it mixed in with everything very nicely.
Chef Hori describing our dish...
Sazae (also known as Turbo Cornutus - which is part of sea snail/mollusk family) Sashimi with sea grapes and sardine chips.  The sardine chips are very good, best thing I've had like ever.
Here's Lamb Hearts and Roasted Potato with mint sauce.  Since they weren't able to get the Rocky Mountain Oysters, they just got more heart.  The hearts are very tender and goes very well with the Peruvian Mint Sauce (which is very much like the Greek yogurt sauce).  The Roasted Potato was super delicious too.  We were definitely disappointed not having any Rocky Mountain Oysters.  In case you don't know what that is, it's also known as Cowboy Caviar (look that up).
For some carb, this is Turtle Hands Ramen with Mantis Shrimp.  Don't worry there were no real turtles harmed while making this dish.
At first, we when we saw the Instagram of these 'hands' I was intrigued.  But they are sea barnacles, which has a little interesting.  They do look like claws, but it's actually an allgae feeder and has no real heart.  As a matter of fact, Chef Philipe was saying that usually fishermen scrape them from the bottom of the boats and throw them back into the sea.  Turns out, there's a delicious muscle in there, who knew?  Plus, I've never had Mantis Shrimp before, for all the scary things I've seen on YouTube and Discovery Channel was curious what it'd be like.  First of all, it is a bigger size shrimp, but it tasted like... well, shrimp.
The reason why my friends were drawn to the dinner... bugs.  Bleh!  So, the pastry is like a napoleon layered puff pastry with mango sauce.  To top it off is 2 grasshoppers, which were dried and crunchy. It was seasoned with lemon somehow, but it does not make me feel any better.  It was dry and crunchy don't mix well, just felt like some dried chips gone bad.  The Chocolate ice cream is sprinkled with worm powder and on the other side of the pastry was ancho chili glass, which is their homemade concoction.
So, let me tell you, I eat visually, so seeing the grasshoppers, I just was super turned off by it.  I don't mind what's underneath it, just mind what that is.  It was, like I said, dried, crunchy but not in a good way with some lemon taste to it.  As my friend's husband was just saying how they go so well with beer.... urm, pass!  

The worm powder, however, because I don't see it, I tasted it, and didn't bother me one way or the other.  It was mixed in with chili powder, so the chocolate ice cream just had a chili kick to it, which I'm used to.  But it goes back to, I don't see it, it didn't bother me at all.
The chef's hard work for the night really paid off.  They even entertained questions and very friendly and free flow conversation.  Super enjoyable.

My thoughts, the venue, knew that the dinner is slated for 7pm, did't get set up, and seated us until 7:20pm.  Now, I will say almost as soon as everyone was seated, the dishes immediately came out.  As a matter of fact before our drinks did.  Just odd combo.  All the 'oddities' aren't as odd as I'd thought they'd be.  As one of my friends said, that's because I'm Asian, and most of those we've seen in one occasion or another.  I think its pretty accurate, but also open us up to a lot of food adventures, some times I don't even know what I signed myself up for.  That said, the bugs truly bothered me, whole night, I laid in bed thinking, is it stuck in my intestines?  Needless to say, I was weirded out.

Overall, I knew we're in good hands in terms of food, presentations, and taste.  I've eaten at restaurants that these chefs works at, so there's certain preconceived expectation.  One thing they did mention was that all of them are cooks, not pastry chef, so what they made for dessert, was a pretty fancy deal.  It's fun, wouldn't mind trying something as 'different' in the future.  Really enjoyed the collaboration.


Kata Robata 

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