Posts Tagged ‘pokē’
It was a pleasant May in Seattle. I did not feel sodden as I did last spring and we were blessed with many glorious days as a prelude to the northern summer. On a pleasant Saturday we enjoyed apéritifs at Tavern Law and sauntered down to Momiji (紅葉) for dinner with a group of Australian expats and tourists.
With the exception of the wide street frontage, the layout of Momiji is the same as Umi’s. A corridor opened to a spacious dining room. The counter had a prime view of the sushi chefs deftly slicing sashimi and shaping nigiri.
At the centre was a serene Japanese garden.
We ordered an array of dishes among the seven of us. First was ahi pokē. Diced ahi tuna and cucumber were tossed with onion slivers, shichimi (Japanese seasoning), soy sauce and sesame seeds. The first time I ate pokē was at a Flying Fish cooking class. A Hawaiian salad, it had a luscious contrast of textures.
A plate of prawn and vegetable tempura was coated in a lumpy batter and pleasingly crunchy.
Poached beets, and a mound of arugula and shiso were drizzled with lemon vinaigrette.
Portions of grilled king crab was paired with ponzu dipping sauce and mixed greens. A generous serving, the crustacean was charred and meaty.
Soft shell crabs were pan fried to golden brown. The spindly morsels were sweet and succulent.
Wrinkled and charred, the half dozen prawn and scallop gyoza were juicy parcels of seafood encased in a thin wrapper.
Buckwheat noodles were stir-fried with cubes of tofu and an assortment of vegetables. Garnished with green onions, pickles and nori, the triangular bowl of yakisoba was a symphony of flavours.
With casual ambience and quality ingredients, Momiji is a delicious addition to 12th Avenue in Capitol Hill.
I succumbed to a Groupon deal a couple of months ago. I paid twenty five dollars for fifty dollars worth of food and beverages at Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar. We were at the Kangaroo and Kiwi Pub in the early hours of Sunday morning to cheer on the Wallabies in the Rugby World Cup. Alas we were disappointed with the result and woke up lethargic. Within walking distance, the voucher was perfect for a lazy dinner.
As with many restaurants in Seattle, Seastar is dimly lit. The restaurant was full so we sat in the bar. A spacious area with individual tables, a communal bench and counter seating, it was a busy evening being the first day of the autumn Seattle Restaurant Week. A single glassybaby was our source of light to read the menu.
The menu was a combination of hot and cold seafood. We selected a soup, a sushi roll and the raw bar sampler to share. The large bowl of Dungeness crab and corn bisque was warming. Absent of corn kernels, the bisque had chunks of Dungeness crab and was drizzled with a Madeira reduction and fresh chives. The Port added a depth of flavour to the bisque.
We misread the menu and expected a plate of tempura but it was futomaki tempura! Coated in tempura batter, the sushi roll had cucumber, carrot, bell pepper, asparagus, green onion and daikon pickle. It was an odd sensation to eat warm sushi but the vegetables were pleasingly crunchy.
The three tiered raw bar sampler was presented with a flourish. On the bottom was scallop ceviche with mango-kiwi relish, lemon, lime and cilantro. Unripe fruits and acidic juices masked the sweetness of the scallops.
In the middle was a California roll of Dungeness crab, avocado and cucumber. These bite size morsels had plenty of fresh crab.
And on the top was ahi pokē. Cubes of tuna were marinated in soy, chilli, Maui onions and sesame seeds. Wafer thin taro crisps were the utensil topped with strands of daikon radish and green onions.
On a glass tile, the aloha roll was bursting with ahi, hamachi, salmon, avocado, cucumber and chilli. This sushi roll lacked the finesse of Japanese cuisine but had an abundance of glistening sashimi.
Service was mostly absent but it was value for money!
I grew up eating seafood – steamed whole fish, prawn dumplings, crab stir-fried with ginger and spring onions, lobster with egg noodles, squid balls in hot pots. But we rarely cook seafood at home, except for baked or barbecued salmon. I worry about how to prepare seafood for cooking, I’m concerned that I’ll overcook it and ruin the delicate flesh. When I read that Whole Foods Westlake was having a one day sale of scallops a couple of Fridays ago, I added the accompanying scallops three ways happy hour to my calendar. For five dollars, it was good value to ‘taste a trio of scallop preparations’.
I arrived early and there were only a handful of people in the dining area. The counter was brightened by a colourful posy of flowers. I sat and watched Chef Hayden cook the display dish, he expertly answered questions while chopping and plating.
I miss cooking with gas immensely. I was transfixed by the portable induction stove, with three plump scallops sizzling. Convenient and lightweight, this would be a welcome addition to my kitchen!
The dining area is in a front corner of the store. With floor to ceiling windows, it is a light and airy space. On a jade green plate were a generous serving of scallops, clockwise from top: scallop and Oregon Bay shrimp sunomono with cucumber and radish; seared scallops with ginger miso butter and sweet broiled eggplant; and spicy scallop pokē with seaweed, red chilli, shallots, sesame and macadamia nuts.
Sunomono, a Japanese style salad with vinaigrette, was a simple dish that highlighted the natural sweetness of the scallops. Chunks of poached scallops paired well with the crunchy vegetables and a slightly tangy dressing.
Next I tried the pokē, a Hawaiian tartare. This sample was punchy and nutty, overwhelming the flavours of the scallop. And the scallop appeared cooked.
My favourite was the seared scallop. Three charred and juicy molluscs were on a bed of velvety eggplant. Sweet and smoky, these were simple and fresh ingredients cooked exquisitely with love.
Check your local Whole Foods store calendar for upcoming events!