Donguri, NYC 6

December 29, 2009

On December 11, 2009, Linda and I joined John and Carol in their nearby apartment for some excellent Champagne from their cellar.

Then we left the handsome cat and went out to our favorite neighborhood restaurant, Donguri.

As usual, the drinks menu came first and John ordered a bottle of sake. It was nice, but I did not get the name or a photo.

A little amuse-gueule of seared blue fin tuna with sancho pepper
arrived. It was surprisingly spicy, but did wake up our palates.

We discussed the menu at some length and then placed our order. All the dishes were placed in the middle of the table, one at a time, and shared by the four of us.

Fresh Fluke Thinly Sliced with Ponzu Dipping Sauce
 
The gelatinous texture was as much a part of the effect of the fluke as was its subtle, good flavor. It could be enhanced with the ponzu, but that risked submerging the fluke entirely.

Sea Urchin Sashimi from Maine (Sweet)

The flavor was exquisite. I found it to be better than the Santa Barbara sea urchin so prized in many New York restaurants. A little bit of the wasabe and the soy sauce did perk it up, but Linda thought it was superb without.

Deep fried Ginko (Gin-nan) Nuts

The flavor and texture are hard to describe, but we enjoyed them. The flavor is really brought out by the heat and the little dusting of salt.
 

Grilled Calamari, Paradise Shrimp, and Baby Greens with Smoked Karasumi Dressing
We ordered this because it was marked as a specialty of the house. I found it quite disappointing as I was expecting the grilling to create a charred effect on the calamari, as it would in a Mediterranean cuisine, but that had been carefully avoided here.

Sweet Corn Tempura

This dish is a lot of fun. The natural sweetness of the corn almost makes it like candy, but the bit of salt in the batter keeps it as adult food.

Broiled Black Cod Marinated with Yuzu lemon

The marinating of the cod gives it a rich, interesting flavor.

Roasted Duck Breast with Yuzu Kosho Pepper Paste

This was sort of a Franco-Japanese fusion dish. The sauce had a butter base and seemed to have been made like a beurre blanc seasoned with the lemony paste instead of shallots. The very thin slicing of the barely cooked duck breast made it tender. The apple quarters and fava beans also seemed French to me. Nice dish.

Rice cakes with Red Bean Sauce

The rice cakes have a very gelatinous, chewy texture which lets you linger with each spoonful of the excellent red bean sauce.

Carol had a scoop of vanilla ice cream and we all were served tea.
 

The meal was very enjoyable and typical for Donguri. The cuisine is not wildly exotic, but we would not get many of the dishes anywhere else. Sharing all the dishes created a nice convivial effect. The service was efficient and cheerful. The pace of the meal was excellent. We arrived at 8:45, quite late for Donguri, but there were still a few Japanese diners when we finished.


To see all six of our meals at Donguri click here.

Donguri’s website:
http://www.itoen.com/donguri/

One Response to “Donguri, NYC 6”

  1. Toshio Aritake Says:

    Hi Linda and Mike:

    Donguri sure sounds like a good place to dine.

    Ginnai reminded me of my mother’s cooking:
    It’s a rice recipe mixing regular short grain with some glutinous variety, putting peeled ginnan, coursely chopped chicken, maitake mushrooms, and shredded or diced carrots, in a soup stock of dashi and sake.

    By the way, the formal name of the pepper is ‘sansho.’

    Happy Holidays to you,

    Toshio


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