The Park Slope Gastronome

Back in Park Slope.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Lotsa Eating, Little Writing

Some meals of late:

Taro Sushi - Jim popped his sashimi cherry this night, while Beth and I tried the omakase here for the first time. I went with the sushi and sashimi combo, while Beth was sashimi all the way. We started with an appetizer of monkfish liver atop a ponzu dressed sunomono. The liver had a really interesting texture. It was denser than I thought and reminded me of a smooth version of mentaiko, which I ate a lot of when I was younger. Anyway, everything tastes great with ponzu, IMHO. Next came the fish parade, including sardine, mackerel, butterfish, hamachi and a red-skinned whitefish which I think was called kinmae. Following that was a fatty tuna roll and a California roll made with real crab. But there was still so much more to be had, including variations on tuna such as bonito, which I love and some uni, which is not really a favorite. The uni nigiri was composed of two small orange oblong pieces atop the seasoned rice and I ate one of the pieces but left the other. I was incredibly stuffed after the meal, which I feel does not happen often when eating sushi.

Jim tried many new tastes and I think hamachi and mackerel came out on top as favorites. Hooray for Jim for trying new tastes!

Kushi Q - I discovered this futuristic hole in the wall Japanese place the other week when I had to stop by a friend's office to drop off Mets tickets. Though only half a block from Oms/B, where I go for lunch from time to time, I'd never noticed it before.

I ordered a atsuage tofu bento set with salad (you can also choose rice) and miso soup for $6.50. There was a trio of sticks, each with three cubes of battered tofu. Underneath the light and crispy shell was soft, creamy tofu. The salad was basic, composed of chopped romaine, carrots and corn, but filled me up nonetheless. I'd like to go back and try the butabara (bacon) and so-se-ji (little Berkshire sausages with pineapple). I've read some complaints about the portions not being big enough, but I felt more than satisfied.

Hibino - I did a bunch of small plates with the CLC and Dani before heading over to Floyd for bocce practice. The presentation on the fresh tofu is so cute, it's hard to pass up. It's amazing how rich and nutty tofu can taste. On this night, it was like eating a custard. It's also difficult to pass up the beef kakuni, a big hunk of braised short rib sitting atop a round of daikon. I rounded out the meal with one of the special daily obanzai - shitake and shisito pepper tempura, which unfortunately came sitting in sauce. I prefer to keep the tempura as dry as possible to maintain crispiness and do my own saucing.

Brio - I had lunch at this Upper East Side restaurant on Thursday with my coworkers Molly and Kendel to celebrate the latter's birthday. Molly knows the family who owns it, so we got treated to some lovely surprises, like a bottle of Prosecco and these two ginormous portions of tiramisu for dessert. To begin we noshed (am I allowed to say that to describe an Italian restaurant?) on a cheese plate and carciofi fritti, pan-fried baby artichokes. The cheese plate featured aged provolone, parmegiano and a deliciously milky salted fresh mozzarella. Kendel and I then shared the garganelli in salsa aurora rivista, which was a tomato-bechamel sauce, green peas, prosciutto and porcini. It was super rich, so a half-portion was the perfect amount. Then I wanted to take a nap, but I had to go back to work. Boo.

Sura - This Korean restaurant has undergone a bit of a makeover since I've last been. The setting seems a lot more serious and mature as the servers now dress in hanboks. The food was just as tasty as I remembered. Heidi and I shared the "pear and pork delight" to begin with. Layers of barbequed pork alternated with slices of Asian pear to create a nice contrast in textures. I just wish the kitchen was a little stingier with the sauce, which was a mixture of chili miso, raspberry and soy. It was too much and too gloppy. A light brushing of one of those flavors would have been more than sufficient. My main, the doobu kimchi bokeum suffered from the same over saucing but otherwise it was pretty damn tasty. The kimchi was gently sauteed with discs of rice cakes and surrounded by wedges of plain, steamed tofu. It was served with a small ping pong sized ball of mashed potatoes with cubes of Asian pear, what I guess is one of their trademark touches. It sounds weird, but provides a nice, cooling crunch in between bites of spicy.

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Blogger China-Latina Chowhound said...

My favorite thing at Taro was the kinmae I think. At Hibino, I was disappointed by the panko crusted eel roll, but was pleasantly surprised by how tasty the Kyoto style spring roll was. I knew I would like it, but I had no idea it would end up being one of the most delicious things I have tried at Hibino to date.

August 23, 2007 12:20 PM  
Blogger youthlarge said...

Menchanko-tei used to include a sheet of yuba in their menchanko hot pots, but it's since been replaced by a glutinous rice ball. GRB is also great, but yuba = awesome.

August 23, 2007 9:29 PM  

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