The dinner was ecstatic. I was hungry after a barre class in the Back Bay area and Clio came to mind. Though I have been in Boston for 3 years, I have yet to explore the tops restaurant in the Bean Town. I realize I do take Boston for granted. Now that I only have 1 more year till graduation I am trying to squeeze everything into the next 10 months.
Anyway, you may wonder why I mentioned Clio when the tittle is Uni. Well I did reserve a table at Clio (yes guys I was 10 feet away but I wanted to make sure the table s ready and plus who wouldn’t love 100 pts on open table). However, life is full of unexpected events….
I walked in, greeted the host and before I knew it, the sweet sensational sesame oil filled my nostrils and blew me away. I did what my heart told me too: shamelessly, I asked to cancel the reservation and request a table downstairs. I have no regret.
Since I’ve been experiencing appetite loss lately (despite my growling stomach), I gave omakase menu a pass (but honey, I will definitely save my calorie bank for you next time I get a table). The menu was very satisfying (except the price), offering not only a wide range of top notch global ingredients – think Japan Wagyu beef, Spanish bass, or Australia black truffle but also mouthwatering parings. I was thinking 2-3 main dishes and ended up ordering 3 cold plates, 1 hot entrée and and dessert.
I was warned by the cheerful waitress that all the dishes are tapas size. And they really were… I wished I bought my huge camera though. But … I will sure be back, then you will be in for a treat. In the meanwhile, let’s stick with these iPhone 5 cured photos, shall we ;)?
My first course was Edamame. They gave it out complementary but I think the little bowl deserves some praise words. The beans were your normal fat, juicy green balls but it’s the sea-salt that made the difference. Not too salty, not the kind that screamed its name, but a subtle enhancement. A real sophistication of a simple dish! – which is what Uni is all about.
I waited for about 8-9 minutes for my feast to begin. I started off with Uni Sashimi – five small bites of the sea foie gras, set on lines of squid ink, paired with the chef’s famous ikura and topped off with crisps nori. Overall, not a dish that I would reorder the next visit unless it’s the only dish that serve ikura. It was great (it’s uni), but the uni was not really transformed (which you can expect from uni, and you won’t be disappoint much). The ikura, though! I can eat that thing for hours. Each ikura ball (the little orange caviar-like) is playful, and filled with surprise taste (I shall not be a spoiler and let you guys explore ;) ).
My second plate was Ankimo – creme-brulee monkfish liver, paired with mezcal ponzu, wakame cronquant and momiji oroshi. Creme-brulee was my friend’s name for the dish, as both shares a cripsy layer of burnt materials on top, and rich, creamy body. I personally loved the combination of ingredients and the chef’s playful approach. The liver, however, was a bit hard to my liking (I had a similar dish in Sushi of Gari the next day and prefer that than Uni’s). That said, an must try for serious eater!
What got me was the third course – Lacquered Foie Gras and BBQ Unagi. The sweet scent that drawn me to the basement – it was from the complement sauce. First bite, and I was in heaven. For the whole time I was enjoying this, I was really unaware of what was happening around me. There was just me and the unagi, and foie gras. Of course, disappointment came (very soon after) when the last bite was swallow. I can’t praise enough of this dish, of how perfectly cooked the unagi is, and to be honest, I’m a fan of unagi, I love it regardless and think that it’s very difficult to go wrong. Yet, chef Ken’s unagi was unexpected. I was waiting to see how the ingredients react with one another, but what was presented was exceeding. The unagi was cooked so perfectly that you can taste the freshness from the still elastic skin, while the meat was tendered and well marinated. Just typing this makes me want to rush there. And then the foie gras, another ingredient that’s hard to go wrong, but the sesame lacquer, and perfect technique made the day. Alternating between these two bites were like going up and down from cloud 9 to cloud 8 and back again. A MUST!!!
The third course spurs my curiosity and I opted for 1 more dishes before dessert. I’m a scallop lover so Hotate caught my eyes, plus the server recommended it too. The dish is nothing more than a display of sharp knife skill. I liked the flavor combination, though I have to say, the raw scallop left an unpleasant after taste. I’m not sure if it was late in the evening or the cooler temperature was lower than how it’s supposed to be, but the scallop lost its crisp. Hmm
However, that was probably the only dish that kind of dampened my mood. The “normal” size dessert quickly came to brightened me up. For a sweet finishing touch, I ordered Le Rouge – homemade (of course) local strawberry sorbet, with black sesame, green tea and fruit peels. “Very asian – influenced” was my first thought, which would pair well with the sashimi I was having. The dessert did not disappoint me. Sesame was used both to create a decorative paste, as well as a “marshmallow – mochi fusion”. Peels were candied, adding a little sweetness to the otherwise sour and refreshing strawberry sorbet. The sorbet – being the star, was deceiving. At a glance, I have no doubt it was made from strawberry. One bite in, though, strong yuzu scent filled my tastebud. I loved it! But well, it should have been called yuzu sorbet instead.
The huge dish filled me in and left me contented. I love it when I get to dine with people who are so into food (everyone was excited to see new dishes arrived at their tables, and you can hear them chatting about the pairings too!) A lovely dinner and I would definitely come back. This time, I’ll order Omakase.