Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku

I’ve written about Nodoguro multiple times, so instead of repeating myself explaining Nodoguro I’m going to just jump straight to the recap of the courses on my visit for the Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku themed dinner.
Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku place setting Nodoguro Princess Mononoke Sousaku place setting

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Nodoguro SupaHardcore

I’ve written about Nodoguro pretty often, but this was my first time experience their dinner called Nodoguro SupaHardcore. This is also my first, but definitely just the beginning, of experiencing a dinner at their new location at the old Genoa restaurant space at 2832 SE Belmont. The new location is a blend of minimalist Japanese aesthetic with Western modern touches. The back lounge area will eventually be also open for more service which is still to be determined as they get into the groove of their new space and service during these first few weeks.
Nodoguro has moved to a new location at 2832 SE Belmont. The new location is a blend of minimalist Japanese aesthetic with Western modern touches Nodoguro has moved to a new location at 2832 SE Belmont. The new location is a blend of minimalist Japanese aesthetic with Western modern touches Nodoguro has moved to a new location at 2832 SE Belmont. The new location is a blend of minimalist Japanese aesthetic with Western modern touches Nodoguro has moved to a new location at 2832 SE Belmont. The new location is a blend of minimalist Japanese aesthetic with Western modern touches Nodoguro has moved to a new location at 2832 SE Belmont. The new location is a blend of minimalist Japanese aesthetic with Western modern touches Nodoguro has moved to a new location at 2832 SE Belmont. The new location is a blend of minimalist Japanese aesthetic with Western modern touches Nodoguro has moved to a new location at 2832 SE Belmont. The new location is a blend of minimalist Japanese aesthetic with Western modern touches Nodoguro has moved to a new location at 2832 SE Belmont. The new location is a blend of minimalist Japanese aesthetic with Western modern touches Nodoguro has moved to a new location at 2832 SE Belmont. The new location is a blend of minimalist Japanese aesthetic with Western modern touches

The main attraction is still the chef counter seating which now has a little bit more room for each guest to comfortably claim versus the tighter seating arrangement at the bar at the old space. Meanwhile, the plating now occurs at a large rolling counter stand in the middle so that everyone can see the magic, but now they have a bit more depth in working space.
Ryan Roadhouse welcomes everyone to Nodoguro SupaHardCore Dinner May 29, 2016

So what is this new SupaHardCore dinner format? Well, Nodoguro first started out with they calling the Sousaku Tasting menu, which offers a new theme every 6 – 8 weeks or so that inspires an 11 course Japanese meal – sort of a “kaiseki without the rules”. Some of my favorite examples of these types of meals vary from the smart Haruki Murakami themed or the  Totoro themed to now the famous Twin Peaks theme or more recently for me, the Harajuku Theme. Currently, Salvador Dali is the theme,  and as of today some July Sousaku dinners are still available!
Ryan Roadhouse plating a course at Nodoguro SupaHardCore Dinner May 29, 2016 Chef Ryan Roadhouse plating a course of SupHardCore on May 29 2016 at Nodoguro while to the left is Mark Wooten and right Elena Roadhouse, his right and left hand peoples making Nodoguro happen so smoothly

Then, Nodoguro started offering essentially a sushi experience, featuring 19 courses of sushi and sashimi with seafood from Japan’s Tsukiji and the Fukuoka fish market in a dinner experience they called Hardcore Sushi (I last recapped one when I attended one this past January). Now, SupaHardcore takes the Hardcore Sushi up another level by presenting a 20 course tasting menu that includes the sushi experience of Hardcore, but also including composed courses like from the sousaku dinners, plus also featuring A5 Wagyu and Ossetra caviar.

Elena Roadhouse brought out the certified Wagyu for us to admire/take photos of raw, and then Mark Wooten brought it out after it had been grilled over charcoal.
Elena shows the A5 Wagyu from Japan at SupaHardCore Mark Wooten models the certified A5 Wagyu from Japan after it's been grilled Mark Wooten models the certified A5 Wagyu from Japan after it's been grilled

I was out of the country for their first offering, and when they decided to open their new space I immediately bee-lined to get a ticket (you make reservations online at their website – follow them on social media to know when the tickets go on sale, many will sell out quickly, some in minutes!) for SupaHardcore. Here’s a look at my dinner and what it could be like for you (menus are finalized the night before based on the freshest seasonal ingredients so changes). You can choose wine by the glass, or pairings, or sake instead to go with your dinner as well.

One

Sparkling Wine welcome. Sorry, no photo as I was chatting away and taking photos of the space!

Two

Tofu with jam, uni (sea urchin), wasabi, dashi. This was so silky smooth and rich, and I always love seeing tofu being used like this where it almost feels decadent… but it’s tofu!
Tofu with jam, uni, wasabi, dashi at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Three

Flounder sashimi. I like the presentation, though honestly I’m not personally a huge fan of putting it on ice if it gets too cold.

Four

Sake steamed abalone and abalone liver puree with kelp – it was poached in sake, then pureed with kelp and steamed
Sake steamed abalone and an abalone liver puree with kelp - it was poached in sake, then pureed with kelp and steamed - at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Five

This course was the most beautiful to me in it’s little set tray that included (counterclockwise) Oyster with citrus; Prawn Roll with shiso and avocado; Bone crackers with horse mackerel that are dried, deep fried and finished with curry salt; Fava bean salad with tofu; Then our first style of the A5 Wagyu, here sashimi style with uni and Ossetra caviar. Five little plates for the fifth course! Everyone was oohing and ahhing as these platters were put in front of them.
Course 5 included 5 little bites that were (counterclockwise) Oyster with citrus; Prawn Roll with shiso and avocado; Bone crackers with horse mackerel that are dried, deep fried and finished with curry salt; Fava bean salad with tofu; The A5 Wagyu with sea urchin and caviar - at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016 Oyster with citrus at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016 Prawn Roll with shiso and avocado at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016 Bone crackers with horse mackerel that are dried, deep fried and finished with curry salt; Fava bean salad with tofu at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016 Tartare or raw sashimi style A5 Wagyu with sea urchin and Ossetra caviar at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Six

Grilled Japanese Eggplant with dashi and Cold Smoked Black Cod. This was one of my favorite tastes of the night as I love the flavors of that charcoal grilled eggplant whenever it appears at Nodoguro.
Grilled Japanese Eggplant with dashi and Cold Smoked Black Cod at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Seven

Sashimi course that includes Amberjack, Giant Clam, and Sea Scallop with aged soy and fresh wasabi. I love the texture of Giant Clam.
Sashimi course that includes Amberjack, Giant Clam, and Sea Scallop with aged soy and fresh wasabi at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016 Sashimi course that includes Amberjack, Giant Clam, and Sea Scallop with aged soy and fresh wasabi at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Eight

Ryan Roadhouse begins plating the grilled A5 Wagyu steak at SupaHardcore Ryan Roadhouse slices the certified A5 Wagyu from Japan after it's been grilled with assist from Mark Wooten
Second style of preparation of A5 Wagyu, grilled over charcoal with crushed daikon, fermented yuzu skin, peppers, and ginger blossom
Second style of preparation of A5 Wagyu, grilled over charcoal with crushed daikon, fermented yuzu skin, peppers, and ginger blossom at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Nine

Shirako (meaning white children… it can be any kind of fish but here it’s sea bream sperm sac) and Onsen Egg in Dashi. So clever, having both types of “eggs” here ha ha… clearly SupaHardCore is taking it up a level on eating adventures for everyone. But, having this way is perfect – you may not think to ever order or try it, but when it’s presented to you as part of these courses, why not go ahead and try it – and be surprised that it’s not at all what you thought.
Shirako (meaning white children... it can be any kind of fish but here it's sea bream sperm sac) and Onsen Egg in Dashi at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Ten

The third way we enjoyed the A5 Wagyu, here Sukiyaki style with sake, sugar and soy and then served with a yolk sauce and chrysanthemum flower. I could have eaten like 4 more plates of these.
The third way we enjoyed the A5 Wagyu, here Suikiyaki style with sake, sugar and soy and then with a yolk sauce and chrysanthemum flower at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Eleven

New Zealand Snapper with ponzu sushi
New Zealand Snapper with ponzu sushi at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Twelve

Hokkaido Scallop with yuzu juice sushi. Hokkaido is famous for their cold waters that are also full of a lot of nutritious plankton (not for us – for the sea life here…) and so the scallops from here are sweeter and as you can see quite plump!
Hokkaido Scallop with yuzu juice sushi at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Thirteen

Aji sushi (Japanese horse mackerel) with shiso and aged soy
Aji sushi (Japanese horse mackerel) with shiso adn aged soy at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Fourteen

Uni sushi (sea urchin) from Hokkaido
Uni sushi (sea urchin) at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Fifteen

Ikura (salmon caviar) with soy and yuzu over rice
Ikura (salmon caviar) with soy and yuzu over rice at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Sixteen

Salmon sushi with shiso, fresh ginger, sesame
Salmon with shiso, freh ginger, sesame at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016 Salmon with shiso, freh ginger, sesame at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Seventeen

Kojada sushi
Kojada sushi at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Eighteen

Anago sea eel sushi
Anago sea eel sushi at Nodoguro SupaHardCore May 29, 2016

Nineteen

Crab Hand Roll with dry curry seasoning and kewpie. You may be surprised that this simple roll was also one of my favorite tastes of the evening. The homemade curry mix that Ryan made was light but with every bite it tasted boldly of curry just like a big plate of curry rice would. I couldn’t believe how much full Japanese curry punch each little bite gave me.
"Crab

Twenty

Miso Soup, served in a mug. I totally forgot to take a photo of this. I love taking photos to help remember and look back on the meal, but sometimes I just love the socializing with others and put my camera down and don’t remember to get the picture

Twenty One

Buckwheat Tea – since I was already heated up from the miso soup it took me a while and a lot of chatting before I drank my tea and I don’t have a photo either.

Thank you for a wonderful dinner Nodoguro! I, and the whole room I think, got blissfully silent as we enjoyed each of our wagyu courses which were a highlight of the entire dinner. But, the wagyu alone wasn’t the only star – several other courses were just as delicious in a different way, a perfect demonstration with how Nodoguro elevates flavors from everything and anything.

This is why Nodoguro is among the best meals and experiences you can have in Portland – and why I keep obviously coming back like an addict. I would definitely do SupaHardCore again.

To make a reservation, follow Nodoguro on social media Ryan Roadhouse on Twitter and get on their newsletter to hear when tickets are going to be released, and be prepared to look at dates/buy your tickets right at when they are released as some dinners may sell out in less then 15 minutes (particularly the SupaHardcore and Hardcore, “which are offered less frequently). You can also contact them directly to book the entire room for instance for your party.

Would you have tried all these courses? Have you had Wagyu before (even if it’s from the US instead of Japan)?

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Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase

A photo recap of my first Nodoguro dinner for 2016 – they popped up in the back room of Renata on January 31 as they are transitioning into their space from where they were last year by Pastaworks to now sharing a space with Peter Cho as reported in Eater until they find a new home.
Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016

This night was Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase where from 7 to 10ish I enjoyed a menu that included special orders from Tsukiji and Fukuoka Municipal, California Abalone, wild aji from Nagasaki, Kohada from Kumamoto, Baby white shrimp, Wild Scallop from Miyagi, and Masaba from Toyama. 

Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016

Here’s a look at what could appear before you at one of these amazing dinners – pay attention to when they list as they sell out quickly from the Nodoguro website as soon as tickets go on sale. This is the best sushi and sashimi experience in Portland.

  1. Starter of oysters
    Oysters to start the 19 course dinner of Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  2. Scallop Somen with quail egg and Ikura (salmon eggs). Somen is noodles so in this case he sliced the Scallop into Noodle like pieces. I’m not afraid to admit I slurped every last drop from the dish.
    Scallop Somen with quail egg and Ikura, Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016Scallop Somen with quail egg and Ikura, Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  3. New Zealand Sea Bream: one thing I love about sashimi are noticing these little details about the beauty of the fish
    New Zealand Sea Bream fro Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 New Zealand Sea Bream from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  4. Aji, a Japanese Horse Mackerel with Sesame, Persimmons and Buckwheat
    Aji, a Japanese Horse Mackerel with Sesame, Persimmons and Buckwheat from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Aji, a Japanese Horse Mackerel with Sesame, Persimmons and Buckwheat from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  5. Sake steamed abalone with sea urchin (uni)
    Sake steamed abalone with sea urchin at Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Sake steamed abalone with sea urchin at Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  6. Fresh snow crab with rice, uni and mayo. I always love presentations in the shell
    Fresh snow crab with rice, uni and mayo from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Fresh snow crab with rice, uni and mayo from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  7. Tai with yuzu and thyme
    Tai from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Tai from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  8. Aji
    Aji from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Aji from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  9. There was a Wild Scallop here that I forgot to photograph I think, but I wrote the note “Hokkaido Scallop w aged soy and yuzu juice”
  10. Baby White Shrimp
    Baby White Shrimp from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  11. Geoduck giant clam from Washington, with a touch of yuzu and Jacobsen Sea Salt
    Geoduck giant clam from Washington, with a touch of yuzu and Jacobsen Sea Salt at Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  12. Octopus
    Octopus from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Octopus Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  13. Uni and Crab
    Uni ad Crab Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  14. Ikura on rice
    Ikura on rice at Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  15. Shimmery Kohada
    Kohada from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Kohada at Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  16. Handroll
    Handroll from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Handroll from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  17. Masaba. Can you tell I thought this was beautiful?
    Masaba from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Masaba from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Masaba from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Masaba from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  18. Unagi
    Unagi from Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016
  19. The last course is by your request –  some went for Oysters, I prefer ending with sashimi and Ryan created this lovely medley
    Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016 Nodoguro Hardcore Sushi Omakase 1/31/2016

It might be a little time before my next Nodoguro theme dinner (you can see other Nodoguro themed dinner recaps here) since my next big dinners are the Chef’s Week PDX big 30 course West Coast 2016 dinner at Departure, of which Ryan Roadhouse is one of the 30 chefs each contributing a course to a marathon dinner.

Next week is also Dumpling Week 2016, and I am going to my first Meadowlark supper club dinner. Then it might be time for a little healthy eating to clean my system out before Portland Dining Month in March.

What are you looking forward to eating in February? Do you eat sushi/sashimi, and have a favorite sushi or sashimi?

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Tokyo Weekend: Sushi Dai Recap

Sushi Dai- located right in the Tsukiji Fish Market area, the long line of people queuing for one of the mere dozen seats is a testament to their quality and is an easy way to identify it among the rest of the restaurants along these rows literally just across the parking lot from the Fish Market.

Also, none of these places had English signs, so all I had to go off of was a picture of the front printed from my sister’s photo album and the line of people to mark X is the spot. I wish I had printed out more photos so I could have shown the sushi chef their photos in retrospect. One of the things I definitely learned during my international trip is that I don’t know how I can go back to living without the internet- I always felt uninformed and craved immediate access to information.

All the stool seats are right at the counter, with 3 sushi chefs working their magic directly from their expert nimble and quick hands to the raised counter you sit at (no plates!) with a quick verbal description in Japanese, Chinese, or English. It really is teeny tiny they have no other space- you have to put your belongings up on high shelves behind you like a school student because there is no place else- there is just enough room behind the stools for the lady to bring you soup. Once in a while a lady would come out to organize the line- some of us queue along a side street so as not to block the walkway, and then in front of the restaurant itself, in rows of 4 so that you get sorted into seatings as guests leave.

Everyone knows about the line and politely tries to turnover quickly so everyone can enjoy- there is a little chit chat as the chefs work but everyone is a foodie here and knows about the agonizing anticipation when in line, especially this day because it was winter and quite chilly.

Every group had 1-2 people with their cameras out like I did so I wasn’t embarrassed to pull mine out in front of the chefs either… and I’m so glad to have these photos to drool over and remember the experience.

After waiting in line for a couple hours (and that was after I got in line at 8:45am, a late start because I had to pack and check out, and I got lost… and then walked around for a while fascinated as I watched them wrap up business in the fish market), finally I made it in around 11am.

Starting with the warm towel and hot green tea… looking at the beautiful cuts of fish in the case on my right, and the shrimp on the left, the radish is ready on the raised counter… the exact sushi chefs that I had seen pictured in baby J’s pictures and in other internet sources.

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And then the fantastic lunch commenced (you can get a set or omakase chef’s choice, don’t be stupid, get the omakase). My Sushi Dai recap with photos is below but you can see toro, so beautiful and fresh, followed by flounder, snapper, sea urchin, mackerel, red clam (still moving a little he placed it down before us), warm sweet egg block, horse mackerel, translucent baby shrimp, traditional maki sushi (with the seaweed wrap), marinated tuna, steamed sea eel, and then my choice of anything for the last piece- which I went with fatty tuna.
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Look how beautiful each piece is, and how thick the cut is… Every generous piece was so soft, cool but not so cold that any flavor was locked in the temperature or texture, and each slice of seafood was long (2 to3 to 4 inches!). The photos are ordered in the same order I received them during my lunch.

Several of the pieces came with the instruction to not use soy sauce because they had pre-marinated it or added their touches of flavor via lime juice or a sprinkle of salt already in crafting the seafood upon the slightly warm rice. I only used my soy sauce for the traditional maki rolls. Oishi! I was sad that these were so delicious that all they melted in my mouth so fast and then in seemingly no time it was already time to go.

Little did I know that my life would soon suck as I find out that my flight is cancelled back home. At least though, I got to have Sushi Dai before that all broke loose. I thought I knew what fresh sushi tasted like- but this was freaking unbelievable.

That’s it for my world tour through Israel, Germany, China (Shenzhen) and Japan (Tokyo). Next stop- after a few days to try to readjust to the time, to Seattle for a quick overnight and workday.

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