Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Rite of Spring Comes to Nodoguro

Last spring Chef Ryan Roadhouse started Nodoguro as a pop-up. It's a year later, Nodoguro has a set location and Team Nodoguro is once again celebrating spring with the new them The Rite of Spring.

The darker decor of Twin Peaks has been replaced with growing plants and blooms.

Really big blooms. Along with a glowing cloud and blue crystals suspended across the ceiling like rain drops, bringing the outdoors inside.

Along with art work by Elena's father Alexander Kornienko and these creative pieces by Kim Hamblin.

Definitely a feeling of spring in the room.

The new menu is reflective of the theme with Chef Ryan not only adding touches of spring but also hints of Russian fare since The Rite of Spring is a famous ballet with music by Igor Stravinsky and the original choreographer was Vaslav Nijinsky, both who were Russian. Adding to this was lovely classical music playing including The Waltz of the Flowers by Tchaikovsy.

Wine and sake were available by the glass and also ginger beer. Kurosawa Junmai Kimoto sake, Johan Vineyards Nils Reserve Pinot Noir 2007, Fossil and Fawn Vineyards Pinot Gris 2013 and Katana sake were just some of the offerings. A four glass food pairing was available.

First up was this beautiful translucent Kelp Pressed Flounder Sashimi dusted with Sakura salt and bathed in Winter Citrus. The delicate flowers on top are currant blossoms. This really was lovely to see in person.

What looked like an average bowl of Young Bamboo and Wakame in Dashi really was much more. Loaded with umami from both the dashi and shaved ham it was topped with little prickly ash fronds.

This was followed by Seared Bonito topped with Cured Egg, Young Garlic and Water Pepper Blossoms. The fish looked like it was dancing on the plate. The taste of the bonito reminded me of really good katsuobushi. Knowing this must be higher quality bonito than what one normally gets at restaurants might not be what diners are use to but this is what the good stuff tastes like. I found the Johan Vineyard Pinot Noir went well with these umami filled dishes.

I couldn't help but try to take photos of the flowers blooming while waiting between dishes. Elena Roadhouse once again created a lovely visualization of the theme. Really wish more pop-up and set menu small seatings would get into this. It adds so much to the dining experience.

I jokingly called the next serving The Foraged Dish because it really was made of various local plants. A Nettle and Pickled Ginger Salad graced with Oregon Grape Blossoms. To me it reminded me of spring just starting to come out of dark winter time.

This might not look like the Beef Tongue with Hazelnuts and Wasabi dish. Because it's not. It's nice to know that if you do need a minor substitution that Chef Ryan is in most cases happy to accommodate. Personally I don't eat beef if at all possible. So I ended up with the same dish except for some very nice clams from Washington. This was a lovely dish with great flavor from the broth.

More dancing fish, this time Sesame Sable Fish with Cherry Blossom Jam and Breakfast Radishes. The jam was delicious and reminded me of miso that is usually plated with sable fish. But no miso in this. The cherry blossoms Chef Ryan used for the dinner he obtained locally himself. Another lovely dish and the Katana sake was really nice with this.

Getting towards the end and what was the masterpiece of the meal. Mackeral Steak with Aged Miso, Crispy Ginger, Grilled Chive and lots of blossoms including currant and Oregon grape. Chef Ryan carefully removed all the bones from the mackeral, reformed the steaks and then cooked it at a very low temperature to come up with what was the best tasting mackeral I have ever eaten. I can't help but imagine a young girl with her hair covered with flowers as part of a spring festival. Really amazing dish.

But it was not over yet. For next was a bowl of local Smoked Salmon mixed with Spring Vegetable Rice. I didn't catch everything that was in this bowl but if I heard right there was sea beans, cypress, bamboo, shiso and of course prickly ash. Topping this was some of Chef Ryan's really good marinaded ikura and a little wasabi. I mixed this all up really well and it was a joy to eat with the ikura creating delicious little surprises along with all the other great flavors. If you eat this definitely stir it up because it makes it even better.

Pretty much know it's near the end of the feast when Chef Ryan's yummy Tamagoyaki is placed in front of you. But it was not over yet.

Just a shot of Chef Ryan Roadhouse plating up one final dish with Sou Chef Mark Wooten working in the back ground. And yes some of the produce was provided by Mark Wooten's Phantom Rabbit Farm. Sounds like it will be a really good year for the farm. I am hoping to get to one of the farm dinners this summer.

Finally here is what Chef Ryan was plating up. An ode to Russian Tea Cakes which was followed by black tea. Definitely one of the most creative desserts it was soy milk with koji which was made into a type of farmer's cheese. The taste was similar to cheese cake but not as sour. It topped a crumble made with sunflower flour if I remember correctly. Matcha dusted the top along with a couple anise flavored mint leaves from Phantom Rabbit Farms. Encircling this all was a honey tasting syrup that Mark said was birch syrup. Pretty amazing dessert.

Another stupendous dinner from the Nodoguro team. Really feels like Chef Ryan is feeling more comfortable with what he is doing and stretching further with even more creative and delicious meals. Once again I was sad when it was over because I would love to eat many of these dishes again. I guess that's the downfall of enjoying great food.

There are still a few seats available and always a possibility that more nights could be added. And of course new themes and dining experiences to come.  

「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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