Teiichi Sakurai has been taking my five senses on an educational journey for the last 16 years. Last night at Tei-An I graduated to the next level. This is Shirako 3 Ways:
So what is shirako, you ask? The most pleasant description is to say Cod Milt. If you don't know what milt is – don't ask. Suffice to say that it is sublime. Shirako has now surpassed Uni and Ankimo as the most amazing and unique pleasure I've yet experienced in my study of Japanese cuisine. Teiichi is pleased at my response – because now he says I have a good 4 or 5 more levels to go – so I've got that going for me!
^ Shirako Agedashi (kind of tempura style); ^ Shirako Ponzu.
^ Shirako Sauté; ^ and, meanwhile, Maria's dinner awaits her arrival.
^ Ama ebi – this is the actual traditional "Sweet Shrimp." Much smaller and more delicate than the more common, larger variety often seen in sushi bars. These literally melt on your tongue. Stunning; ^ And we also had some fun with some nice pork dropped off by new One Arts Plaza neighbor Chef John Tesar. Here, Teiichi obliged with a favorite of mine: Uni under Lardo (Pata Negra).
^ Tesar's Salt & Herb Cured, Air Dried, Texas Hog Jowl. Teiichi cut is at 90 degrees and served it ishiyaki style. Awesome.
Tei-An was recently designated one of only two restaurants in Dallas awarded 5 Stars by the Dallas Morning News (along with Chef Bruno Davaillon at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek). DMN critic Leslie Brenner has also written about her experience with shirako at Tei-Tei Robata Bar, which along with Teppo was previously owned by Sakurai-San and continues to be closely connected in passion, philosophy – and often, produce.
Craaazy busy lately. While I work toward posting a ton of new items – enjoy this recent 'omakase' meal at Tei-An. Just some random weeknight. Descriptions seem superfluous. Just go to Tei-An and submit!
Teiichi never disappoints. Here are a few more morsels from another (crazy) evening:
…I know… I know… Brad at Tei-An – SHOCKER! But, it is so excellent. More variety to come.
A bunch of my buddies (a crew of Mansion alumni) are always talking about their late-night escapades at Oishii on Wycliff west of the Tollway. I've been before, but always seem to miss "the Man" – Chef Thanh.
I got it right last weekend. Here is the evidence:
^ Thanh sends out some Vietnamese specialties to our motley crew.
The great food and flowing Black & Gold sake made for a large time.
Oishii does boffo business and boasts an extensive menu of Japanese, Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai dishes.
I will be returning to sit at the Sushi bar and order a kind of omakase meal from Thanh – chef's choice – whatever's good. I hear good things. So far so good!
Well, it's been fifteen years since Teiichi Sakurai opened the first in an impressive collection of distinguished and exceptional Japanese restaurants in Dallas. Teppo Yakitori & Sushi opened in 1995 and was an immediate success with critics and the public alike – and has remained so over the years. It was followed by Tei-Tei Robata Bar in 1998 and Tei-An in 2008. Prior to opening Tei-An, Teiichi sold the first two restaurants to their respective Executive Chefs – Tei-Tei to Katsutoshi Sakamoto, and Teppo to Masayuki Otaka.
^ Teppo Executive Chef Masayuki Otaka - "Masa" to his many friends.
^ Invited guests line out the door awaiting access to Teppo's 15 Anniversary "buffet."
^ There are many familiar faces and even some past employees in the crowd – and one particular notable guest in the kitchen (a story about him is on the way.)
^ The chairs from the sushi bar and the one row of tables are removed to accommodate the throngs.
^ (at the right) Head Sushi Chef Tomoaki Nishigaya – "Tommy." Not the usual fare, but a selection of traditional braised meats was delicious all the same. Teppo specializes in spectacular sushi, yakitori (grilled chicken), kushiyaki (other grilled dishes), as well as inspired Japanese specialties. – and, of course, omakase.
^ Masa is ever toiling over his yakitori grill; ^Teiichi arrives to deliver a traditional gift – this stunning flower arrangement.
^ My great friends Kim, Bill and James got me hooked on this place 15 years ago, and I still have my birthday here each year. Teppo holds a very special place in my heart – and remains an outstanding establishment.
I will soon follow up with a photo essay of many stunning dishes I've enjoyed here over the years – I have a lot to work with.
I’m a big fan of Nobu-Dallas and the talents of Executive Chef Matt Raso, and Head Sushi Chef Mitsuhiro Eguchi. (See my pics from an omakase meal last year here. I have a couple other Nobu omakase meals to post – so stay tuned.) Well, it’s been five years and they are still here… let’s hope we can keep it that way!
A bunch of us hardcore fans got invited to a 5th Anniversary bash last Friday hosted by Nobu himself.
( Above left outside – find the beautiful Yuka Hinoda (manager); Nobu Matsuhisa; Ben Madrid (general manager.)
^ While waiting for the lovely “FW”, I enjoyed a masu of Nobu’s Hokusetsu Daiginjyo original “Black Label” sake in the bar. Upon entering the party, we indulged in many a lychee martini.
^ Here’s Exec. Chef Matt Raso obscured by smoke, preparing Wagyu Kushiyaki.
^ Some Shrimp action; and Sushi and Sashimi inside. We were having fun and I just didn’t take that many snaps (shocker!). I will soon post my story on “H2” Wednesday and Thursday Extended Happy Hours, as well as those other omakase meals. …Love the Nobu.
For Leslie, here's a quickie post of some exceptional food I've recently enjoyed:
@ Tei-An ^ Tobiuo Sashimi (line-caught Flying Fish) with Ume Shiso Ae; ^ and my fave: Ankimo.
@ The Mansion:^ Bruno tried this "Surf & Turf" dish out on me as I sat in the bar: Crispy Pork Belly & Lobster Claws, Spicy Tamarind/Soy Sauce, Green Asparagus and Fresh Herb Salad. A version of this may show up here this Spring.
More shenanigans at my favorite hang:
^ A little snack: Ankimo in Creme Pancetta, Black Truffles.
It uses an iPhone app to read a symbol that brings up info and media about a product – nifty. Let's have more Mac and head upstairs!
'Teach' and I hop in the private elevator in the Tei-An bar and take the party upstairs to the newly opened Rooftop Patio and Bar.
Come spring – this is gonna be pretty choice.
Soon we were chatting up the play's star: here is 'Teach' with Oscar winner Estelle Parsons. Just another night at Tei-An.
Oh, and here are some random snaps of some stuff I've been eating here:
… worth a thousand words.
( UPDATE: Jan. 25, 2010 – More here. )
Well, it IS literally freezing out, and it's snowed twice in the last week… but things are coming together at Tei-An's rooftop patio. Construction is complete; furniture coming in; some details remain – but here is a look at the digs so far:
^ It is rather spacious in person. The bar will be at the far left.
^ View from the bar area. The glass double doors access the elevator from the first floor bar at Tei-An. There are some other amenities and nifty features still to come.
^ Looking up; ^ and, your intrepid blog-whore…
We also had our annual Festivus celebration at Tei-An tonight… Teach was insane with the food, here are just a few highlights:
^ Toro Bacon (yes, stupid perfect); ^ Ankimo in Muscadet.
^ The Daily Sashimi (impeccable quality, as usual. Teiichi picked it up at air cargo from Japan 3 hrs before it was in my belly); ^ and perhaps one of the most decadent things I've yet savored: a Full Yellowtail Collar – it's about 18" across. 'Succulent' does not begin to describe… Stay tuned!
There is progress! I have set foot on the very complicated (in progress) and intricate floating flooring that will soon support an oasis in the already buzzing Arts District at One Arts Plaza (18 month overnight success…).
Soon, kids… soon. Meanwhile, Jay Liddell over there at The Macallan is wasting no time in taking advantage of the fall, misty, Scottish-like weather – hence ANOTHER scotch tasting – this time at Tei-An. No surprise that my buddy Bob and I were there with bells on. (Single Malt fans should seek out Jay via the inter-tubes and hit one of these tastings… well worth the effort). This night, along with drams of Mac 12, 18, and Fine Oaks – including 21 – we had a bit of fun with the whole Ice Ball thing. Again, as I recounted here, this spherical ice deal has it's roots in Japanese bar culture – and my pal Yosuke Fukuda first introduced me to its genius at the former Moosh. This night, Jay and Yosuke went head-to-head:
Yosuke used to claim he spent 20 mins on each sphere… well, even Jay will admit that Yosuke damn near beat the "machine's" 60 seconds… and the handmade ice sphere was damn near perfect. So there.
^ The spoils (heh…) and the rest of the 12 bottle – on hard chipped ice (another lost art).
* Delicious nosh by 'Teach'… and of course some whimsy…:
^ … That's right – Macallan 12-steamed-clams. So right.