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.
Sunday night, Tei-An made good on their rain-delayed Grand Opening party for the Rooftop Patio. The place was packed upstairs and down, and spilled out into One Arts Plaza. Crooner Hunter Sullivan performed on the rooftop and the guests enjoyed Teiichi's hospitality.
Nobu Dallas exec chef Matt Raso and I caught up and BS'ed as the crowd thinned. Eventually, Tei-An started to feel like it's old self as Teiichi, Hunter, Matt, Suze chef Jeff Hobbs and I commiserated in the bar as Yosuke and Val put the place back together – and kept the Yamazaki flowing. Soon, Nobu manager Yuka Hinoda joined and we took the party on the road:
^Japanese food types sure know where to get good grub at 3 A.M. Dal Dong Nae Chicken & Hof in "Korea Town."
^We start with some soju (this type distilled from potato w/ sugar added); ^Teach and Hunter peruse the menu.
^Nobu peeps Yuka (L) and Matt (R) dig in.
^The famous "Army Soup," Budae Jjigae.
Crazy good stuff. If you don't eat like this – get out of your box and live a little!
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.
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!