Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Eating Out: Getting Uni Devirginized

My uni cherry has been popped.

I never thought that I'd try uni.  Sea urchin just doesn't turn me on.  Plus, I've heard some love/hate stories about eating uni, and I already had a feeling I would't love it.

So what do I do when uni is part of the set dinner course?  I have no other choice but to give it a try, and given the sexy circumstances of dinner, it might be better to choose this special night to get devirginized.

I was invited to My Japanese Food Affair: A Restaurant Pop Up Series at Bushido in Mountain View.  I don't normally venture out to that side of the Bay for dinner, but when it's something special, I'll make way.  I shared the table with my boo who had previous uni experience as well as two other lovely ladies.  Both of these women were Sagittarius, both work in the Google kitchen, one as a chef and one as a nutritionist, and one just happened to have the same birthday as me.  So meant to be.  The chef chick loves uni and has eaten sea urchin fresh from the ocean, and the nutritionist had experience just like me.  None.  I think we were both nervous for our first time.  

The exclusive Omakase menu was created by Chef Jerome Ito, a sushi chef at Bushido who turned the restaurant into his own for the night.  I previewed the menu a few days before and was ultimately nervous about the uni course.  But everything else seemed tantilizing to me, so I'm glad that it worked out for my attendance, and also my memorable night.

Check out all of the foreplay that happened before my first time: 

Roasted Garlic Edamame: Yum, thanks for adding the garlic.  I love garlic.  

Autumn Salad with seasonal vegetables, pickled daikon, sesami ume vinaigrette: I've never had squash in my salad, and now, I think it needs be a part of every salad in the Fall.  The dressing was good and my favorite part was the Brussel sprout chips.  I could eat a whole plate of those but I only got two pieces.  What a tease.

I had to loosen up a bit since I was so nervous, and a carafe of hot sake and Sonoma County wine sent from Chef Jerome himself helped to ease my tension.  It's not the first time without alcohol right?

Ocean Trout Nigiri with avocado, seranno, and ikura: Wow, how the hell did that little fish egg ball sit so gloriously on top?  Anyways, this was soooo good, definitely memorable.  And....it was made so perfectly to fit in my mouth.  Sometimes when I eat nigiri, it's so big that I choke but this size was perfect.

Hamachi Nigiri with serrano, shiso, and ponzu: Again, so good.  The chef insisted that we try this all without soy sauce, and it was flavorful and wonderful.  I was getting warmed up.

Surf & Turf Nigiri: Here's some advice for the fellas out there....if you want to get some, treat her to the surf and turf.  The surf consisted of snow crab, miso butter, and yuzu and was a nice piece of crab.  The butter made it buttery.  Yum.  The turf was Miyazaki wagyu beef, yuzu, and momijo oroshi.  I don't even know what the other stuff is aside from wagyu beef, and I don't need to know.  All I know is that it had some fancy massaged beef on top.  Now that I think about it, I've never had beef nigiri either.  Another cherry popped tonight!

I thought that uni course was going to come at this point, so I was a little relieved when I received my main course, the Matsutake Mushroom Past with assorted Japanese mushrooms, wakame, truffle oil, and grilled crostini and truffle butter.  There were 3 options to choose from, and I didn't want the uni pasta and I have always wanted to try a Japanese spin on pasta.

The server originally didn't give the crostini, and when she came back, the butter was looking a little orange.  Was it uni butter instead?  YES, IT WAS.  This was like going to first base with uni.  I tried it, and it mainly tasted like butter, but there was definitely uni in there.  

The pasta was light and buttery, and there was a good variety of mushrooms.  I killed the whole plate.  Then I drank more wine and waited for that special moment.

The wait was a long one, but then it finally came....the uni course.   This course featured two different nigiri: Uni Meets Unagi nigiri with uni, charred unagi, quail egg, and tobiko and the Uni & Seared Scallop nigiri with bacon cany, black tobiko, and shiso.  I don't eat quail egg and rarely eat unagi, but I was feeling brave as heck and decided to just go for it all.  The nigiri was rather large and I knew that putting it in my mouth would be a struggle.  What if I choke?  

After a good staredown, I grew some balls and went for the bite.  The unagi was full of flavor and and the end I could taste this creamy ocean goodness.  I didn't even taste the quail egg, but who cares about that when I've been devirginized!

Yes, I'm no longer an uni-virgin, but that doesn't mean that I was going to just induldge.  At that point I was pretty full, and my first time with uni stopped at that first nigiri.  I gave the second one to my boo to eat.  I've had plenty of bacon and scallop in my life!

That wasn't the only climax, because we ended with a green tea cheesecake with raspberry puree.  The cheesecake was so light and airy and had good green tea flavor.  I really liked the crust....and just look at that sexy presentation!

By the end of our dinner, there were crowds of people waiting for our table so they could enjoy their exclusive experience.  I'm definitely down for another food affair from this chef again.

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