Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sushi out the Wazoo

As petty and ridiculous the list is going to be, I am definitely making one of things I want to do and try. Things I've wanted to do but hadn't for various reasons.

One thing on that list is to try Oonagi, or Eel in sushi form. I can't type, think, or speak that word without thinking of Ross and his "oonagi" form of kuh-ra-tay. Nevertheless, I got to dine at an amazing sushi restaurant called Beluga, in Hyde Park.

I tried to relax, and happily I was with someone, who shall remain nameless to keep it all mysterious, who knew the restaurant and had no problem with taking control. Now, if you have ever dined with me, you probably know that I order for myself and am generally a bit controlling. I don't really know why, because I really enjoy someone else taking a risk and making all of the decisions. In fact, my favorite dining experiences included NO control over the outcome.

In China Town, San Francisco, I sat at a counter where what seemed to be the owner just kept bringing us plates. We had a soup, tempura vegetables, sesame chicken, a dumpling of some sort, and a shrimp dish. It was outstanding.

In Las Vegas at Emeril's restaurant in the MGM Grand, we had a 7 course tasting dinner. Pics and all that good stuff are HERE.

Now here at Beluga, I almost wanted to title the post Beluga is Belicious. But that is just cheesey. And speaking of cheese, I think this is the first restaurant in quite awhile where I didn't want or have cheese in any form! Oh crap, I think there was cream cheese in one of the rolls...but I didn't enjoy it as much as the others!

We started with a large Japanese beer, a crafe of sake, and two pint glasses. The fact that my dining companion was so precise about this was really impressive. And we also had edamame. Edamame is a soy bean, where you bite down and pull the pea-like beans out of the shell. It is a bit sensual, and also such a simple treat.

We then ordered the following "Creative Rolls".
Shrimp Tempura Roll topped with BBQ eel and avocado
**Here's my oonagi! Texture wise, much nicer than an oyster or calamari. Not chewy at all. No fishy flavor. The bbq, actually is the prominent flavor and I would compare the texture to a raw tuna. Not slimey at all!

Spicy tuna, spicy crab and avocado-tempura deep fried
**THis was my favorite. And I am really happy to say that it was the one I picked out. It was a very large roll, and I sadly could not fit the whole sucker in my mouth at one time. But more on that later. It was spicy, and had two or three layers of flavors. The spicy orange sauce that was drizzled over it just was icing, really.

Shrimp tempura inside, slices of tuna and salmon outside
**This was just pretty. It was impossible to tell the tuna from the salmon, and they overlapped like pretty red shingles. The shrimp tempura that ran down the middle of this was a large piece of shrimp. And getting this whole thing in at once was difficult! I am such a delicate flower!

BBQ eel, cucumber inside, topped with avocado.
**If I thought the presentation of the red shingled tuna was amazing, try "shingling" avocado! The avocado, to slice, usually sticks to the knife. So if these sushi chefs, and slice them paper thin, and then layer them overtop a Dragon Roll, color me F-in Impressed! With capital letters!

5. A white tuna appetizer, with a black sesame topping. It was a special, and not listed on the current menu. Raw white tuna that just melted and combined with a little wasabi, or mopping up the sauces from the other sushi items made this even better.

So it is "later", where I can divulge the fact that I have a small mouth. Ask my Dentist from childhood. He literally said to me one day, "If anyone ever tells you you have a big mouth, have them come to me." I literally have to 'work up' to getting a whole piece of sushi in my mouth. Like take some deep breaths. Be prepared to possible gag myself and then projectile SUSHI all over. I told my dining companion not to look at me at least twice. It was almost like Fear Factor. Having to put a finger to my mouth, as if it will suddenly burst through the lip seams.

What is that? You never want to eat sushi with me? That sounds horrifying and disgusting? Whatever.

Perhaps the idea of a Sake Bomb should be explained now. It is about a 3 count pour of beer. A sake glass full of sake. You, according to my companion, who I think just wanted to put a lot of happy and hopeful thoughts in my head, said we had to "Cheers" the sake glasses, pour them into the beer, and then cheers the "Bomb". So we "Cheers'd" 6 times, I think??
-to friends
-to new beginings
-to doing whatever you want and not caring what people say
-to blue eyes (i think I was tipsy at this point)
-to "Cocktails and Dreams"
-and we may have forgotten to cheers the last one...big surprise. I probably had a whole mouthfull of Ninja Roll and couldn't speak (that sounds a little dirty)

So since a sixth toast was missed, I'll end my post with this:
-To relaxing and just letting things happen.


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