Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Monday, December 8, 2014

Time to Get Your Sparkle on Nodoguro Style

 It's December which means a new theme at Nodoguro. This time it's "glitter". With cute glittery displays like this one made of artistic candy.

A sweet painting of candy mountains by Alexander Kornienko.

With glittery mountains below. Being winter it's glittery snow.

 Even a bit of glitter on the menus. The glitter theme also was for good luck so the dishes were Ryan Roadhouse's take on classical Japanese New Year's osechi-ryori cuisine. Fine dining osechi-ryori that is.

First up was tender Slow Poached Octopus with Sunchokes in soy and ginger. Which I ate and then remembered I wanted to take a photo of it. I guess I was just a little hungry and it was gone before I knew it. The octopus was tender and the sunchokes were a nice compliment to it.

 Second course was one of my favorites. Lovely shiny Sea Bream or Tai Sashimi. It was cured in kelp and seasoned with citrus and bits of pickled persimmon. The curls of leek on top were a very pretty addition and a bit of contrast. Tai is a favorite New Year's dish in Japan where it is usually grilled as part of the meal. However this sashimi was so good it would be a shame to grill it.

 I was looking forward to the Chawanmushi with Sea Urchin and Dashi and I was not disappointed. This was made with more liquid to egg than usual but still had a lovely custard set and was topped with a layer of seasoned dashi surrounding the uni and nori on top. Really nice combination of flavors.

 Next was the Vinegared Vegetable or Sunomono course. We were treated to crab with pickled lotus root, carrots from Phantom Rabbit Farm and wakame dressed in persimmon vinegar. I'm guessing the crab was Dungeness because it's the season for it and it was delicious. This was my favorite sunomono dish of the ones I have tried at Nodoguro. The persimmon vinegar had a bit of a bite but the sweet crab was a match for it yet did not compete at all. It's hard to describe but it was like each bite of crab cancelled out some of the vinegar flavor. Really lovely and something I will remember when making sunomono in the future.

Both carrot and lotus root are traditional osechi ingredients with the colors representing a happy celebration plus the lotus root holes are about looking towards a hopeful future.

 It's always fun to hear diners rave about the black cod dishes. I think it happens because as we are waiting the nice aroma of the fish cooking fills the air making us all anticipate what we will be eating. For Glitter Chef Ryan first salt cured and then smoked the fish with elder chips. The smokey flavor really came through and the chestnut miso went well with it. Chestnuts are another lucky food eaten at New Years because the gold color of chestnuts was like the color of Japanese money in the past.

 Another dish diners were looking forward to was the Hot Mochi with Chrysanthemum Greens. O-zoni is very popular in Japan although one needs to eat the sticky mochi carefully and with small bites as we were informed by Elena Roadhouse. I've made O-zoni with shiro miso soup but for this Chef Ryan used a nice yet strong dashi which worked well with the herbal leaves and the slightly crisped mochi. Bits of yuzu and leeks on top made this dish even more enjoyable.

I missed taking photos of the Soy Cured Salmon Roe on Sasanishiki Rice. I wish I had because the rice grains were so tiny! The dish was topped with dried yuzu and Japanese parsley stems. I think the secret to this dish is that by curing the roe in soy it actually mellows the taste of the roe. Plus I am sure this was very fresh roe. Ryan's ikuradon is not only popular with diners but also with the people who work there.

Following this was a serving of Sweet Omelet Tamagoyaki. No photos since I have taken photos of it before in my other Nodoguro posts. This was just as delicious. I asked Chef Ryan if he could teach us how he makes it and he said it would be messy, very messy. He did say he makes many layers, probably more than most sushi chefs do. It really does make a difference. Tamagoyaki is another popular New Year's dish because of it's golden color which represents the color of gold.

 The dessert for Glitter was Cheesecake. But not just any cheesecake. This lovely dish was topped with red azuki bean sauce, toasted hazel nuts and kinako which is toasted soy bean powder. Azuki bean soup is traditional and a favorite for New Years and winter in Japan. So using azuki beans as a sweet topping for the cheesecake worked well and fit right in with the meal. Kinako has a lovely flavor and with the hazel nuts one doesn't miss a traditional crust at all. I think I heard the cheese used was goat cheese which for me is always a plus. I could see this dessert being served at fine restaurants in Japan and the diners loving it.

We finished with a cup of roasted brown rice tea and omanju. This time we were treated to Tomoe's green tea brownie with nuts and coconut. I loved how moist this was. I also think the blueberry plates are very cute and if they ever decide to replace them...

This was a lovely dinner and there are still a few open seats for this week at Nodoguro's reservation page. It was a little more traditional yet still extremely delicious and fine. This is top notch Japanese cuisine.

Nodoguro's website is here where you can make reservations and also purchase gift cards now! They are located at 3735 SE Hawthorne Blvd, East Portland, Oregon but reservations must be made ahead of time. Also each month there are a couple nights of "Hardcore Sushi Omakase" which sell out super fast. If you want to try that it's best to follow Nodoguro on Twitter here for when they announce the reservations are posted.

Next up, something completely different.

 「のどぐろ」レストランは伝統的な日本料理をベースとしたクリエィティブでユニークなスタイルの創作料理で皆様をおもてなしいたします。
日本のファントムラビット牧場から直輸入した和の食材や、地元の旬の肉や魚を使ったお料理を季節やテーマに合わせてご提供いたします。
夕食には数量限定のおまかせ寿司もご用意しております。

シェフのライアン・ロードハウスは福岡で修業後、地元ポートランドの日本食レストラン「やざくさ」、「ます」で修業を重ね、「のどぐろ」を開店いたしました。
「のどぐろ」は3735 SE Hawthorne ブルバードにあり、皆様のお越しをお待ちしております。座席数が限られております。ご予約はhttp://nodoguropdx.com/からどうぞ。皆様のお越しをお待ち申し上げます。

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