Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

It's The Nodoguro Yurukyara Grand Prix 2015 Dinner!

It's also my 500th post so what to post? So here is Yamato Transport's KuroNeko cat hanging out at Nodoguro for Rurousha who requested cats for my 500th post.

For everyone else here's the latest dinner theme for Nodoguro! It's their tribute for Yurukyara GP 2015 which is a big competition in Japan where prefecture mascots compete to determine who is the most popular mascot of the year.

As part of the theme diners were able to draw their own mascots and have them displayed.

The menu for the dinner featured Nodoguro's yurukyara Nodo-kun created by Sasha Roadhouse.

Sake offerings for the night which included Tokubetsu Housui, Akishiki, Taiheizan, Aiyu Shiboritate, and Narutotai Nama. I don't know which bottles were which except the middle is Taiheizan and the first on the left is the Narutotai Nama.

Some diners brought their favorite mascots like Shaun the Sheep and a My Little Pony.

Just a tantalizing glimpse of some of the prep for the dinner.

Dundee Hills Oregon Pinot Noir 2013 from Arterberry Maresh was offered along with Fossil and Fawn Pinot Gris for the wines that night. I had a glass of the Pinot Noir and it paired nicely with the dinner having a bit of acid that worked well with the food.

Since the dinner was about prefectures in Japan, each course was a take on a popular food from certain prefectures. First up was Hokkaido featuring Salted Salmon with aged shoyu and water pepper leaves with a little wasabi on top. Salmon hotpot and nabe are popular Hokkaido dishes and this was a good start to the meal. I'm always up for wild salmon sashimi.

Next we were offered Amberjack topped with citrus miso, ginger, sesame, shiso and miyagi. Based on Namerou, a famous fish dish from Chiba where mackeral and other fish are cut up and mixed with miso, ginger, leeks and shiso. Chef Ryan Roadhouse's version was quite delicious.

This was followed by Oysters with crushed daikon, strawberries and wakame. Our visit to Miyagi which is known for their Kaki Ryori oyster dishes. Diners remarked they would have never thought of strawberries with oysters but they really enjoyed this.


Tokushima is known for Sobagome Zosui which is a buckwheat porridge or soup served with various toppings. We were treated to Buckwheat with crab dressed in butter sauce and topped with spruce. This was a lovely Northwest version of a hearty dish.

For Miyazaki Prefecture a Smoked Burdock Salad was served. The dressing was a play on the sweet and sour sauce for chicken nanban. A very pretty dish.

One of my favorites for the night was the Rice bran cured mackerel with citrus ponzu and turnip. Chef Roadhouse's version of Fukui Prefecture's Saba no Heshiko not only was delicious but cooking it this way reduced the fattiness of the fish. Saba no Heshiko is lightly salted mackerel which is preserved in rice bran. Really nice with the shoyu pouched turnip.

Now here is the dish I was looking forward to. Roasted pork and cabbage Okonomiyaki. Chef Roadhouse's deconstructed ode to Hiroshima Okonomiyaki which is usually made by piling the different ingredients in layers while cooking it. The three main ingredients for Okonomiyaki are the flour, eggs and cabbage which are normally mixed together. Chef Roadhouse started with seasoned egg yolk, added pickled cabbage and roasted pork belly topped with a Okonomiyaki pancake. A bit of aonori sprinkled on the plate added to the fun of this dish. Aonori is a popular topping for Okonomiyaki. This was the most unusual Okonomiyaki I have had and was delicious. Definitely a creative take on this popular food.

I've started using sasanishiki rice for Japanese rice dishes when I cook thanks to Chef Roadhouse. His tribute to Aichi prefecture was Sasanishiki rice with anago eel, breakfast radish and green tea. Aichi's famous dish was Hitsumabushi which is an unagi don or eel on rice. This rice was perfect for this because it did not get mushy in the green tea. Like everything else in the meal it was amazingly good.

I was offered a cup of Narutotai Nama Genshu from Tokushima by Paul Willenberg, Nodoguro's Beverage Director. Really nice unpasteurized sake which I would be happy if Santa slipped a bottle in my stocking at Christmas. Based on the name that has to be a Tai or Sea Bream fish on the label. If my translation is right the name is based on the strong tai fish that are raised in the strong currents of the Naruto straights which are known for the whirlpools that form there. The name may refer to the fact that this is a fortified sake known for having a bolder taste.

Getting to the end of the dinner we were served Yaki Tamago which is popular everywhere in Japan and of course at Nodoguro.

Dessert was Sweet Potato Frozen Cream, Red Bean (Azuki) sauce and Marshmallows. The amazing thing about this dish is how the flavors combined to give a caramel taste. I really wanted more of this. I'm sure Kumamon, the bear yuru-chara of Kumamoto Prefecture would agree that this was really a dessert worthy of Yurukyara Grand Prix Champions

I will end this with a few of the artistic endeavors of fellow diners. Clever nod to Nightmare before Christmas.

And a portrait of the visiting My Little Party Pony.

I didn't bring a yuru-chara with me but I think if I did it would have been Shimanekko, the yellow kitty of Shimane Prefecture. Overall this was a fun creative dinner and I hope many people are getting to enjoy it. No word on what is up next but tickets are on sale for July dinners. It would be fun to see more plays on popular food like yakisoba and takoyaki or perhaps even a somen bamboo water slide for summer?

Nodoguro's website has all the information about attending their dinners in Portland, Oregon. It can be accessed here.

And thank you for reading my posts. Who knows if I will make it to another 500 but I do have more photos of places I have visited and places I've eaten at so I think I can eek out a few more.

 「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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