Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Uni Sashimi Bar, Back Bay, Boston

Things have been a bit quiet here on A Boston Food Diary!  My winter vacation got the best of me and lulled me into lazy and slothful practices of sleeping too much and putting my brain on autopilot a bit.  Unfortunately that type of behavior do not make a great blogger and so dear ABFD has been a bit neglected.  Have no fear however, though I may not have been tapping into my internal writer, I was eating my way through my days, chowing down on tasty treats day and night.

Honestly- is there any better way to celebrate a new year than with delicious meals, and challenging yourself to try new items and flavors.  I kicked off what I am determining to be my year to "try new things" by making pulled pork tacos made by braising pork belly, as well as one of my all time favorite items- Salsa Verde.  My adventuresome spirit didn't end there though, and on New Years day I indulged in my first "Omakase" experience at Uni Sashimi.

Omakase is the sushi answer to the tasting menu, wherein the chef prepares a variety of dishes either drawing from the general menu, or creating on the spot dishes depending on what he has on hand.  Uni, a Ken Oringer restaurant run under the watchful eye of Chef Chris Gould, prides itself on making inventive and sophisticated sashimi dishes.  They utilize only the freshest seafood available and match each with a variety of textures and flavors to create perfect pairings for the palate.

It would be nearly impossible for me to recall each of the dishes sampled that evening, however I'd like to look at the highlights.  As we began the evening, we were served a tomato martini, made entirely of highly strained and manipulated tomato juice, and drizzled with basil oil.  The affect was a perfect flavor combination reminiscent of summertime salads.  This perfectly set off the evening of unique twists and takes on ingredients and showcased the staffs attention to detail.

Gould's take on Fluke Sashimi, paired with jalapeno vinaigrette, Thai basil and accents of cranberry was one of my favorites of the evening.  The slight spice of the jalapeno with the sweetness of the basil paired perfectly with the light fish, and both were then offset with the cranberry.  It was a combination I would never have imagined, but fell deeply in love with.

The Shima Aji was one of my biggest leaps of faith throughout the evening.  The fish, a striped bass, was paired with sea urchin, something I had not experienced previously.  Their combination of slick texture and pungent flavor was not easy for me to adjust to, however it was easy to see their appeal.  The beauty of this dish was its simplicity in allowing the flavors to shine through on their own and each take their own center stage.

Though I've never been a fan of tofu, it comprised one of the other more remarkable dishes for the evening.  A simple miso soup was served with a large portion of house made tofu in its center.  The tofu, even for a non lover like myself, was absolutely gorgeous.  As opposed to pressing out the excess water from the product, Chef Gould left it and the result was an almost custard like consistency.  When tasted with the ever light miso soup the two combined into a creamy, warm and lightly flavored dish.  While I could appreciate the amazing work that had gone into the dish, I cannot get over my dislike of tofu and therefore ended up leaving a bit behind on this one.  I'm a little sad at my decision now.  Next time I will push on.   

Other standouts were an incredibly refreshing Lobster salad, served on slices of perfect cucumber, fresh and sweet, and three perfectly fried oysters their crunchy encasing giving way to the Briny goodness of oyster.

We were served two desserts to close out the meal, and the first stole the show for me.  Coconut "snow" was served with a pureed black sesame sauce and raspberries.  I came insanely close to licking my plate clean.  The coconut had been shaved into small little crystals of icy perfection, and as they melted they mixed with the sweet black sesame and tart raspberries and perfection was attained. This ranks as one of the most perfect desserts I have enjoyed, I'm wondering if I can go back just for it??

Uni is a delight to the senses.  Each dish is artfully prepared to delight the eyes, and each possesses a beautiful combination of textures and flavors to enhance each piece of sashimi.  The staff members were efficient, kind and helpful with all questions, offering not only descriptions of the dishes as they served them, but their own preferences and tips for consumption.  Finally, Chef Gould, who we had the distinct pleasure of speaking to throughout the evening was approachable and easy to speak with, sharing particulars on the different ingredients, as well as his own techniques.  For a high quality sashimi experience, I would gladly return to Uni.

Uni on Urbanspoon

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