Japanese

Louis XIII & Tei-An… Crack Twins:

Had to post this… I will generally, regardless of better judgement, find my way into some shenanigans. I run with a crazy herd… and some of our pack feeds at Tei-An. So, months ago, hanging out at the bar I meet this dude Sten. He's one of these guys, not unlike my buddy Mike, who win. They travel the world and profess the joys of cocktail culture, and specifically ultra premium spirits… In Sten's case that means Remy Martin's Louis XIII. …Good gig, if you can get it!

After many weeks of discussion, Sten, Teiichi and Yosuke finally got together some Tei-An faithful for a Louis XIII tasting. …wait, we have a few minutes… let me see the specials…:

Tei-An Louis XIII02 Tei-An Louis XIII_a1

^ Marketing; Teiichi's Scallop Carpaccio.

Tei-An Louis XIII05 Tei-An Louis XIII03

^ Louis awaits… ; Remy Martin Brand Ambassador Sten Lilja's Remy Crusta: Remy V.S.O.P., Grenadine, Lemon Juice, Angostura Bitters. (Start of my Fall Cocktail Watch, me-thinks…)

Noka Chocolate provides a nibble as we work through the history of Cognac… and Teiichi needles with:

Tei-An Louis XIII04 Tei-An Louis XIII06

^ Mmmm Hmmm… Asparagus with Squid Ink Mayonnaise, Seared Cold Duck Breast, last-of-the-season Yellow Tomato – stuffed with Crab Salad (Teiichi's "crab salad"… damn…)  Oh, I forgot… we came here to enjoy:

Tei-An Louis XIII08 Tei-An Louis XIII09

^ The Louis Treize. This is stupid good spirit crack. Put this on your "list", and enjoy it when the opportunity arises. I encourage you to delve into the culture of the brand, but the Cliff's Notes are as follows: Louis XIII is a Cognac manufactured from the grapes of the Grande Champagne terroir of Cognac, France. It's actually blended from 1200 eaux-de-vie (each aged at least 40 years, and up to over a century.) This blend is then aged in tiercons – barrels that are literally several hundred years old. To add insult to injury, it is sold in a handblown Baccarat Crystal decanter, itself worth more than most premium spirits. The current cellar master apprenticed for ten years, taking over the predecessor's 30 year stint. Well, it's as good as it should be, by the way.  (Oh, and they have an up-sell path as well…!

Uh, hang on… This is a blog about food crack:

Teiichi and I had a sidebar… in the kitchen:

Tei-An Louis XIII_a2 Tei-An Louisb

^ San Diego Uni in Sea Water… slurped off of Japanese Citrus… 
…it's not a contest…

NSFW: Daily Specials at Tei-An

So everybody likes sushi these days. Thankfully, most who make this claim have ventured past their favorite gimmicky rolls and have become fans of Nigirizushi and Sashimi. For those interested in delving further, we are lucky to have chefs like Teiichi Sakurai – only too happy to guide the way. While chatting up "Teach" last week at Tei-An he interjects with glee: "Are you hungry? I have something for you." He knows I am as adventurous as they come – and he didn't disappoint.

Menu

I was soon introduced to my first course, a squirming baby octopus (tako) contained in a net bag. My friend Scott looked up from his Yamazaki and said – "Uh, cool – are you going to eat that?" "I guess so!"

My delicious little friend returned "prepared" in a small tagine, along with a hot stone. I was meant to enjoy some raw and some ishiyaki style.

Tako_01

Tako_02

Tako_03 Scott

Once I could get the tako to let go of my finger and get it on the rock, I was in business! Acquired taste? Definitely, but I found both preparations sublime. Mansion Somme Scott Barber was a good sport and enjoyed a bite – then went back to finding a nice white from Yosuke's nicely chosen wine list to go with our next course: Hokkaido Sea Urchin, 4 Ways.

Uni_01 Uni_02

Uni is absolutely one of my favorite things – and the product from Hokkaido Island is among the most prized. This dish was decadent and heavenly.

Scallop Next up: Taira Scallops… just beautiful. Each night Sakurai-San offers a number of uniquely Japanese specials, along with the menu of soba dishes that have earned him national recognition. One can eat dishes as accessible as the clever and luxurious Soba Carbonara – or venture through the ritual of soba (hot or cold) – or experience Japanese tradition and craft with an omakase meal by Teiichi. You simply can't go wrong.

(for more on Tei-An's soba dishes click here.)

Find the calm: a moment or two @ Tei-An

The prelude to a wonderful tale, and a reminder of what it's all about:

Flagged - 2 Flagged - 1 

^ Hokkaidō Uni, Four Ways; Line Caught Spanish Mackerel. 
… please…

First Look: Yutaka Yamato’s Sharaku Sake Lounge

Invite

I've been looking forward to the opening of Yutaka's sake lounge for some time, and was delighted to receive this gorgeous invite in the mail recently.

DSCF8106 DSCF8135

There are some interesting design elements throughout, including a secluded cubby hole above that provides views of the space through slivered openings, veiled with reeds…

DSCF8119 DSCF8118

Along with specialty sakes and "infusions," Sharaku features Kumamoto Oysters, Flounder Chips, Edamame, Pressed Sushi, and Moro Q
(bite sized cucumber cups w/ moromi miso) – excellent with sake.

DSCF8127 DSCF8132

Sharaku Sake Lounge is now open and located two doors down from Yutaka Sushi Bistro at 2633 McKinney Ave.

Sneak Peek: Tei-An’s Rooftop Bar

Check it out – soon to be one of the sweetest patio views in Dallas:

Tei_an_Patio2

Owner Teiichi Sakurai and Bar Manager Yosuke Fukuda are looking forward to having the rooftop bar up and running in about a month or so. The view is stunning. A private elevator inside Tei-An will whisk guests up to the new digs. Can’t wait.

DSCF8008
^ I look forward to Yosuke serving me my Yamazaki 18 roof-side.


Why I care to do this: A meal w/ friends… Nobu, Dallas.

I write this blog for friends and family… and I'm happy to note that the league of friends interested in my "Adventures in Food" has grown over the last year. There has been some interesting recent discussion regarding food blogs in general, and the question of journalistic integrity relating to independent "foodie" blogs in particular. I direct my readers to the "About" section at the top right of my blog page.

In this spirit, I publish this post. It's not material with whom I dined, nor the circumstances of the evening (interesting as these details may be). This is all about food porn: my initial concept for this blog. I often delay posts in need of getting details from the chef. Screw it. Enjoy.

I asked "Jet" to join me and some friends for a wonderful, meaningful meal at Nobu… we sat in the back corner of the restaurant, at the sushi bar, and let chefs Matt Raso & Mitsuhiro Eguchi dazzle us, as they do. Showing here:

DSCF7052
DSCF7053 

DSCF7051
DSCF7145 

DSCF7066
DSCF7068 

DSCF7070
DSCF7071 

DSCF7084
DSCF7087 

DSCF7094
DSCF7064 

DSCF7104
DSCF7107 

DSCF7118
DSCF7124 

DSCF7134
DSCF7137 

DSCF7138
DSCF7143 

DSCF7144
DSCF7147 

DSCF7149
DSCF7152 

It's all about crazy good food and all that is associated with it's preparation, presentation, and consumption. Go forth, be passionate… and eat. I'll do my part to get the taste buds twitching.

Nobu on Urbanspoon

Escape Restaurant Week – at Yutaka.

I'll let you in on a secret – hit Yutaka during Restaurant Week – and you may not even have to wait! Well, there was a slight wait by 9pm last Saturday, but if you are a fan of this place you know that's nuthin'. We got there around 7:30, and I even got a parking space right at the front door – we walked right in and sat at the sushi bar.

Bishonen_masuYutakas_ginger

Above Left A masu of delicious Bishonen Sake.
Above Right Yutaka's own Pickled Ginger… it makes all the difference!

Heirloom_tomatoes_1Heirloom_tomatoes_2

Above is the Heirloom Tomatoes w/ Cucumber, Shiso, Miso and drizzles!

Beef_toungeBeef_tounge_2

Above is the…Beef Tounge! You'll have to trust me and go for it… seared in this blazing iron bowl.

Blue_fin_toro_2Cold_smoked_bonito_2

Above Left Blue Fin Toro Sashimi, it just melts.
Above Right Cold-Smoked Bonito.

Long_fish_sanmaUni_sashimi

Above Left Long Fish or Sanma sashimi – in a breathtaking presentation.
Above Right Connoisseur's delight: Uni Sashimi.

Kobe_shubushabu_plateMaple_leaf

Shabushabu_2Yutaka

Above: At my request (and as he wasn't SLAMMED) Yutaka prepared his Shabu-Shabu. The traditional preparation being one of my favorite memories of my trip to Tokyo, here Yutaka simplifies and elevates the dish. We have very thin slices of Kobe beef (check out that marbling!) and a simple broth, to which we have added some cabbage, mushrooms and scallions. Pick up a piece of beef and "swish-swish" in the broth, then a light dip in sauce and "oiishi!!!"

King_crab_tempuraTo the right is some King Crab Tempura that showed up, but didn't last long! Once again, a wonderful experience. My friends sitting at the table in the corner dropped by as they left – beaming in the afterglow – and safe from the Restaurant Week throngs.

I'll let you in on a secret – hit Yutaka during Restaurant Week – and you may not even have to wait! Well, there was a slight wait by 9pm last Saturday, but if you are a fan of this place you know that's nuthin'. We got there around 7:30, and I even got a parking space right at the front door – we walked right in and sat at the sushi bar.

Bishonen_masuYutakas_ginger

Above Left A masu of delicious Bishonen Sake.
Above Right Yutaka's own Pickled Ginger… it makes all the difference!

Heirloom_tomatoes_1Heirloom_tomatoes_2

Above is the Heirloom Tomatoes w/ Cucumber, Shiso, Miso and drizzles!

Beef_toungeBeef_tounge_2

Above is the…Beef Tounge! You'll have to trust me and go for it… seared in this blazing iron bowl.

Blue_fin_toro_2Cold_smoked_bonito_2

Above Left Blue Fin Toro Sashimi, it just melts.
Above Right Cold-Smoked Bonito.

Long_fish_sanmaUni_sashimi

Above Left Long Fish or Sanma sashimi – in a breathtaking presentation.
Above Right Connoisseur's delight: Uni Sashimi.

Kobe_shubushabu_plateMaple_leaf

Shabushabu_2Yutaka

Above: At my request (and as he wasn't SLAMMED) Yutaka prepared his Shabu-Shabu. The traditional preparation being one of my favorite memories of my trip to Tokyo, here Yutaka simplifies and elevates the dish. We have very thin slices of Kobe beef (check out that marbling!) and a simple broth, to which we have added some cabbage, mushrooms and scallions. Pick up a piece of beef and "swish-swish" in the broth, then a light dip in sauce and "oiishi!!!"

King_crab_tempuraTo the right is some King Crab Tempura that showed up, but didn't last long! Once again, a wonderful experience. My friends sitting at the table in the corner dropped by as they left – beaming in the afterglow – and safe from the Restaurant Week throngs.

Yutaka Sushi Bistro on Urbanspoon

It’s all true… Tei-An FINALLY Opens!

Well, I can’t believe it either – But, it was worth the wait!

Tei-An AddressOpen!

Located in the burgeoning One Arts Plaza, Tei-An had it’s official opening Monday. The bar was overflowing with flower arrangements from owner Teiichi Sakurai’s many friends and associates – Masayuki Otaka (Masa), owner of Teppo, sent a particularly beautiful display. But enough with the pleasantries… where’s Yosuke? Well, right back where he belongs! We go back to the days when Moosh was a private club, an oasis of Japanese serenity on bustling Greenville Avenue.

YosukeSuntory Time!

(^L) (in profile) Yosuke Fukuda, Bar Manager

(^R) My first Suntory Whiskey in the new joint (18 year-old Yamazaki).

Dscf0383_2Dscf0380

(^L) Perfect set up to enjoy Shōchū… “iichiko & grapefruit, please!”

(^R) Dallas golfer Anthony Kim‘s table needs Patron – served in these awesome ICE shot glasses.

Oh, yeah… SOBA! Tei-An is all about Soba, a thin Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour – which, for the first time in Dallas, is being made fresh here on the premises. The room is stunning, minimalist but inviting.

Dscf0388Dscf0389

We are seated around the large Soba Bar. Servers scurry about between us and a magnificent rock garden, featuring a large stone imported from Japan. It lightly trickles water, sustaining patches of live moss. Cool.

Img_0997Img_0979

At the far end of the bar is a large window through which you can see the chefs making the fresh buckwheat soba noodles from scratch.

Dscf0393Dscf0397

Dscf0398Dscf0401

(^L) Spicy Tuna Pressed Sushi – not your normal rendition… and delicious.

(^R) Tempura Zara Dipping Soba – Cold.

Eating the soba noodles cold allows you the really experience their unique flavor and texture. Very common in the hot summer months in Japan – seems the thing right here-right now, as well. The noodles are served on a bamboo zaru, after having been cooked in dashi. The eating process goes like this: you select a potion of noodles with your chopsticks, then dip them into a small bowl of tsuyu (commonly dashi, sweet soy and mirin) into which you may have added any number of spicy condiments or yakumi, (daikon, scallions, and – here – fresh wasabi!). If you’re like me you’ll also need Shichimi Togarashi (Seven-Flavor Pepper)… Then slurp away! Yes these are those slurping noodles you have heard about. I believe the practice of the affirming “slurp” also has the benefit of cooling the hot variety of noodles – with the cold noodles, the intake of air enhances the taste, plus, it’s half the fun anyway.

Dscf0402Img_0981

We also tried the Walnut Soba – cold noodles with a tasty walnut dipping sauce. At the end of the meal, they bring out the traditional Soba-yu, or cooking water, and add it to what’s remaining in your little bowl of tsuyu. Drink up! It’s good and good for you!

Also available are Hot Dipping varieties and Hot Soba Soups, not to mention many varieties of Sanuki Style Udon. Check it out – Teiicci’s Tei-An is a welcome addition to the scene, from a pioneer of Japanese cuisine in Dallas.

Yutaka Rocks!

Stopped at Yutaka last night, and there was much rejoicing.

Img_0491Img_0494

(L) Firstly, we can see that they now have valet! Yutaka made a point to tell me that it’s free on Weds and Thurs – 5 bucks on Fri & Sat… as it happens – I got a free spot in front, next to that big white pile – so there…
(R) Blue Fin Toro Sashimi

Img_0497Img_0499

(L) An Amazing Tomato dish with Cucumber and Shiso Leaf, drizzled goodness and Miso.
(R) Uni Tempura !

Img_0500Img_0503

(L) Yutaka and crew toil for our pleasure…
(R) White Asparagus w/ like, a Yuzu Aioli, some crab and a Freeze Dried Okra – crazy!

Img_0504_2Img_0508

(L) Live Scallop Sashimi – afterword he serves the Liver.
(R) Tea Marinated Rib Eye w/ Taro and Baby Zucchini Tempura.