Thursday, May 12, 2016

Omakase experience at Ju-ni, San Francisco

Back in Februrary my brother's girlfriend Nicole informed me about a new sushi restaurant opening up in San Francisco. The place was called Jū-ni. It wasn't your typical sushi restaurant. They don't carry California rolls here. They only offer Omakase (Chef's selected dishes). You've probably seen Omakase offered at other typical sushi restaurants, but not like this.

Ju-ni which means twelve in Japanese, is a small restaurant that only seats twelve. The omakase meal offered here consist of an appetizer, twelve course nigiri, owan, and dessert.

After seeing the the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, I've always wanted to try an Omakase meal at a high end sushi restaurant. So I looked for a reservations in February, but couldn't get one until May. So here's our Omakase experience.

The venue is setup to run three chefs at a time one for every four people. Since I reserved for 6 they were able to accommodate us at the corner bar.

Omakase starts at $90 dollars for the 12 course Nigiri, but you have the option of adding the Supplement, which is three additional Nigiri favorites for $35 dollars more.

Sake list.

Champagne, Wine, and Beer list.

Our chef for the night was Jeff. We didn't know until later when we had conversed for a bit, that he was one of the owners.

It was entertaining watching our meal being prepared in front of us.

The vision for the restaurant was to offer a personal guest and chef experience. That's why it's setup to have four people to a chef.

We were also told that a majority of the woodwork in the restaurant was custom made by a local woodworker, from the shelves, cutting board, down to the chop stick boxes.

All of the beers offered are brewed in Japan. So you won't see Sapporo here cause it's brewed in Canada.

Appetizer course: Asparagus and some root vegetable.

Everyone else was right handed. I was the only lefty, but the chef noticed and placed my setting for a lefty. That's great attention to detail.

1: Kegani (horsehair crab) with white miso butter.

2: Shima-aji (striped horsemackerel) with lime zest.

3: Hotate (Hokkaido scallop), shipped overnight from Japan.

4: Masu (ocean trout)

5: Kamasu (baby barracuda)

You can eat with chopsticks, but I recommend eating with you hands. A wet nap is provided to clean the tips of your fingers after each course.

Ginga Kogen Beer. Not one of the courses. I drank all of my sake halfway through the meal so I ordered a beer.

6: Katsuo (skipjack tuna) smoked in house.

Intermezzo: cucumber with sesame seeds & bonito flakes.

7: Binnaga maguro (albacore tuna) cured in soy and sake.

8: I forgot which fish this was.

9: Hotaru Ika (firefly squid) the squid burst when you bite into them.

10: Ikura (salmon roe) with shaved frozen Ankimo (monkfish liver) one of my favorite dishes. You have to eat it quick before the monkfish liver begins to melt.

11: Kinmedai (golden eye snapper)

12: Sakura-Masu (cherry salmon)

After the twelve course of Nigiri, you're then served the supplement course if you added it to your meal, and you can order a few other a la carte items.

13: Zuke Toro (soy cured kindai fatty tuna) Oh so buttery. [supplement]

14: Kama Toro (bluefin collar toro) [a la carte]

Oyster with Osetra Caviar (my friend Robyn ordered this) [a la carte]

15: Kaisui Uni (sea urchin) this literally melted like butter when you ate it. [supplement]

16: Shirayaki (fresh Japanese eel with gold flake) [supplement]

17: Wagyu (Kagoshima A5 beef with shaved truffle) [a la carte] words can't describe how good this is.

Owan: fish bone consomme

Dessert: Mochi with azuki (red bean paste) second mochi is with a soy reduction of some sort... I think.

The best sushi I have ever had, but then again this is the first time I have done Omakase of this caliber so I don't have much to compare to. Spent about $150 on sushi alone, not including drinks and tip. It's quite entertaining watching your meal being prepared in front of you and the conversation with the chef and learning about what you're about to eat it makes it an amazing experience. My favorite dish comes down to either the Wagyu or the Uni.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

NYC Trip Report (Day 4) Time to go home.

Checked out of our apartment around 11 am and headed over to Tommy's apartment so that we could drop off our bags. Then we headed off for lunch. Thuy-Ann recommended we try Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle for their dumplings.

Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle. 

It's a really small place that seats about 10 or so people.

The prices here are super cheap.

Handmade noodles.

Fried dumplings. 10 pieces for $3. They were amazing. Cheap and delicious.

Boiled dumplings also 10 for $3. Just as good as the fried ones. I could eat this all day.

I got the Ox-Tail noodle soup $6. I upgraded to hand cut noodles and added a fried egg. Just $.50 cents more for each item. I've never tried hand cut noodles before, so I wanted to try it. I wasn't a fan, it was thick and chewy. I'm used to thin noodles. I wish I got the hand pulled noodles instead. Soup and Ox-Tail was great though.

Since we were nearby we went to check out the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridge.

Manhattan Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge.

After that we just started wondering around. Trying to find things to do before we head home.

Johnny's Sunday Special Beer & Shot $3. You had me at $3 dollars.

Johnny's Bar

Beer & Shot for $3 bucks as advertised.

and if the $3 dollar specials were good enough, they also had dinosaur pictures and figures.

Not and actual fish tank, but a T.V screen.

Certificate of Excellence. Lol.

Our next time Nicole choose Boba Guys.

Just down the street from Boba Guys is Prohibition Bakery boozy cupcakes. I believe Nicole told me about this place, but we were already bringing a lot of things back so we didn't stop by.

But I did see Wafels & Dinges. All of a sudden I had a craving for waffles.

There were a lot of different things I wanted to try on their menu, but was still full from lunch.

So I just got a basic wafel with fresh strawberries, whipped cream, and nutella. As good as it looks. Just wishes they used fresh wipped cream instead of the canned stuff.

Bacon & syrup

just plain nutella

Eventually it was time to head to the airport. It was about an hour of travel time to get back to JFK from Chinatown using the subway.

One bite cupcakes and mini macaroons.

Good bye New York.

That's it for our visit to NYC. It was cool to visit NYC for the first time. I have no desire to go back anytime soon. NYC can be expensive and people aren't as friendly. NYC reminds me a lot of San Francisco, but S.F is a lot closer for me. Definitely check it out once, but once is enough for me.

Next on the agenda will be beach camping at Pismo Beach.

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