I have praised the food prepared by chef/owner Nelson Yip on previous occasions and for good reason…he is a class all to himself. He is fanatical about procuring only the freshest and highest quality ingredients available. To that end he receives 3 shipments of fresh fish from Japan weekly and is equally stern about the quality of all other ingredients he purchases locally. His wild mushroom soup is easily the finest and most flavorful version I have ever had. I used to order it on almost every visit, but that stopped about 6 months ago when he removed the soup from the menu due to the fact that his supplier was mixing poor quality mushrooms in with the case of the high quality varieties he expects. Rather than substitute inferior quality ingredients, he has removed the soup from the menu. The man is serious about the quality of what he serves. The food and wine service, under the direction of Alice and company is first glass. Highlights from our meal included.
Clam Sake Soup. Tender little nick clams swim in a jalapeño pepper based broth that is perfectly balanced between the brininess of the fish broth and heat of the jalapeños. An amazing dish.
Hamachi Yuzu with Summer Truffle. The freshness of the fish and subtlety of the flavors make this as addictive as any sashimi I have ever had.
"Lollypop" Shrimp. Large wild shrimp are fashioned into a circle, the center of which holds a bit of crab meat to the center before being coated with Panko bread crumbs, skewered and deep friedThe resulting "lollypop" is crunchy and greaseless and served with a lightly spiced dipping sauce made from chilis, tomatoes, onions and parsley. In combination, the sauce and shrimp throw a party in your mouth.
Berkshire Pork Goyoza. Nelson takes the pan-fried dumplings to new heights in this preparation. The incredibly light dumpling wrappers are made in house and stuffed with a minced pork stuffing made from wild boar procured from Berkshire Farms. Lightly pan-fried, they are delicious and a far cry from the thick and doughy versions found at most other spots. I never asked what he makes the dipping sauce with, but it is the perfect foil for these heavenly pillows of pleasure.
Wabi Sabi Chicken. Nelson’s version of General Tso Chicken will open your eyes as to how good this dish can be. He only uses white meat, which he soaks in ice water overnight before doing his magic in the Wok. The chicken is cooked to a moist and greaseless perfection that will have you applauding the dish with your chopsticks.
Sushi and Sashimi Platter.
Fried Spicy Rock Shrimp. These amazing crustaceans are lightly fried and served in a spice mayo-based sauce.
Emil started us with a 375 ml bottle of 2002 Domaine Huet Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec Vouvry. Since 1928 Vouvray’s Domaine Huet has set the standard year after year for great age-worthy Chenin Blanc. The estate produces some of the world’s most compelling white wines in a remarkable range that spans sparkling, dry, semi-dry, and breathtaking dessert styles. The Le Haut-Lieu vineyard was Victor Huet’s first vineyard around which the domaine has grown, but in the 21st century. Initially just 3 hectares, the vineyard saw more planting, broadening out so that today it covers 9 hectares. The estate also acquired Le Mont, an 8 hectare vineyard in 1957, and the Clos du Bourg, a 6 hectare site was purchased not long afterwards, in 1963. These three vineyards are the core of the Huet domaine, each yielding rich fruit and an array of styles, from sec and demi-sec to moelleux and moelleux premier trie.
Since 1989, the estate has also produced this magical, botrytized dessert wine selected from one, two or all three vineyards. When made, the Cuvée Constance (named for Gaston’s mother) ranks among the world’s greatest dessert wines.
Tonight’s wine displayed a very expressive nose of white fruits and a full rich palate. It is a beautiful wine that is drinking very well at the present time and should continue to do so for at least another decade.
2014 Quintarelli Secco Ca’ Del Merlo. Quintarelli is known for his stunning Valpolicella, Amarone and Ricotto red wines. Less known, but as compelling as his reds, is this white wine blend of Garganega, Trebbiano Toscano, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Saorin grapes. The wine exhibited terrific depth and balance and finished with considerable length.
2015 Maison Lucien Le Moine Chassagne Montrachet Les Caillerets Premier Cru. Lucien Le Moine is one the most exciting Burgundy producers to come along in the last few years. Mounir Saouma and Rotem Brakin bottled the first wines of their negociant firm in 1999 and are already receiving rave reviews from the top critics. They do not grow any of their own grapes but have managed to earn the favor of excellent growers in the best Premiers and Grands Crus.
Both reds and whites are aged on 100% of their lees, with a gentle batonnage (stirring) three or four times a month. Their cellar is naturally cold and they are able to extend malolactic fermentation late into summer. They use CO2 whenever possible to minimize the use of SO2. After the malolactic fermentation is complete, they taste each barrel twice a month until it is ready to be bottled. The wine is then racked and bottled without either fining or filtration in order to preserve the character of the wine.
Tonight’s wine, the consensus WOTN of the group, was refined and classy with terrific acidity and minerality. The wine at this young age drinks beautifully and has the pedigree to age effortlessly for a couple of decades.
Great job by Emil on his wine selection and Nelson on the food.