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.
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.
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 is absolutely one of my favorite things – and the product from Hokkaido Island is among the most prized. This dish was decadent and heavenly.
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.)
Check it out – soon to be one of the sweetest patio views in Dallas:
While Nancy Nichols tromps around Belgium, she asked me and a couple other Dallas food bloggers to pitch in and post some stuff on the D Magazine SideDish blog. I was tryin' not to slack, so I posted this item: The Tesar Interview.
Well, I can’t believe it either – But, it was worth the wait!
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.
(^L) (in profile) Yosuke Fukuda, Bar Manager
(^R) My first Suntory Whiskey in the new joint (18 year-old Yamazaki).
(^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.
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.
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.
(^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.
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.