Saturday, September 8, 2012

Anniversary Dinner: Sushi Taro

Disclaimer: This post does not contain a recipe! (Or anything related to our kitchen, for that matter.)  But our one-year anniversary dinner was so amazing that we decided it needed it's own post- our first post of a restaurant review.  

I had extremely high expectations of Sushi Taro, and I kept our reservation a surprise from Sean until we got there.  We opted for the traditional Kaiseki tasting menu so we could sample many of the chef's specialties without having to worry about what to order.  It was a great decision- the food was absolutely amazing and we were rewarded time and time again for stepping out of our usual culinary boxes with the authentic Japanese dishes.  Here's a shot of the menu below- (yes, 10 courses, and we were there for 3 and a half hours!)
The service was equally as perfect as the food- our waitress expertly described each dish, offered advice when we asked, and was the most sincere waitress either of us had ever seen.  I had written that it was our anniversary on the Open Table reservation notes, and Sushi Taro treated us like we were the best customers they had ever had because of it.  Yes, this restaurant is a bit pricey, but for a special occasion it is worth every penny and then some.  Now... on to the pictures!

We started out with a bottle of Sake recommended by our waitress Sophie.  It was dry and well-balanced with hints of peach.

Course 1: Plum Wine~ full of plum flavor and not too sweet

Course 2: Sesame Tofu with Uni (Sea Urchin)
This type of tofu takes all day to make and is rarely made anymore because of the amount of effort.  It was like no tofu either of us have ever tasted- so silky and smooth and full of sesame flavor.  The uni was creamy and delicious, and a dab of fresh wasabi really brightened up the flavors.

Course 3: Eggplant, Grilled fish, and Crispy Rice Fried Fig with Peanut Sauce

Course 4: Sashimi Assortment (Arctic Char and the other name we can't remember)  
I've never eaten straight raw fish before- usually it's tucked inside a sushi roll and even then I have to force it down.  But this fish was so fresh and didn't have a fishy smell or taste at all.  I managed to eat all four pieces without missing the rice one bit.

Course 5: Snapper Broth with Tilefish, Daikon and Soba Noodles wrapped in Tofu Skin
The broth was so flavorful- and the chunks of daikon just melted in our mouths.  

Course 6: Hassun (A Platter of Seasonal Japanese Specialties)
According to Sushi Taro's website, "Hassun features an unusual combination of ingredients arranged to evoke a natural landscape in miniature. After this centerpiece dish, the chef eases you toward the end of your meal with several smaller, concluding dishes."

  This was wrapped inside the green leaf package- roasted red pepper nigiri sushi.

Course 7: Broiled Barracuda on a Cedar Plank with Pickled Ginger Blossoms
(No picture! Ahh!!)

Course 8: Your Choice of Three Nigiri Sushi
Sean got Octopus, Horse Mackerel, and Barbecued Eel (pictured first) and I got Soy-Marinated Tuna, Scallop, and also the Barbecued Eel.  I've always been scared to try eel at other sushi restaurants- but here it was definitely my favorite piece!

Course 9: Hot Pot 
This was a unique heating device that boils your chicken broth so you can cook your meal at the table- while the outside of the pot stays remarkably cool.  We had thin strips of chicken, herbs, green onion, rice, and a little leaf-shaped gluten-flour to cook in the broth.  There was also a very tasty sauce to dip everything in once it was cooked.  Once again, the broth was amazing.

And, the finale- Course 10: Dessert!  They brought out this platter with three desserts- Chocolate Layered Cake, Black Sesame Ice Cream, and Green Tea Creme Brulee
They also gave us a complimentary glass of dessert sake as an anniversary gift!  Each dish stood on it's own- but I absolutely loved the black sesame ice cream and the creme brulee.  The ice cream had delicious nutty flavor, and the creme brulee was extra creamy with an addictive crispy top layer.  After 9 courses, we ate this entire dessert (okay, mostly me).  But seriously, it was that good.  And after three and a half hours, you kind of work up a whole new appetite.  

Before we got our check, Sophie came by with this card- from all of the restaurant's staff!  It was such a nice gesture- something I've never witnessed before, especially for two strangers at a restaurant for the first time. Oh, and they gave us a ticket for complimentary sashimi when we return.  This dinner was a truly wonderful experience, and a great way to celebrate our first year of marriage ~ if our anniversary dinners are always as good as this one I have a feeling we'll stay married for a long time ;)

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