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unique uni

I've a long had a fondness for uni in preparations other than sushi. A particularly memorable uni spaghetti @ LA's now closed La Terza sparked this love (despite the glut of Italian rests, I haven't found this dish in SFBA, although rumor has it that it may be special ordered at La Ciccia). The cool, briny uni melting into the warm spaghetti was so fine. What are other local uni dishes that are well worth a bite?

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  1. Morimoto has Uni Carbonara that is quite exceptional and I am very fond of Anchor & Hope's sea urchin with crab and lemon beurre blanc.

    2 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218

      Also @ Morimoto is the oyster, foie gras, and uni appetizer. My perfect bite so far. Available during dinner only.

      1. re: letsindulge

        I believe I had the Uni Carbonara in my previous Morimoto outing but I didn't see this app. As I recall, the carbonara was a bit saucy and a tad small . But perhaps I need to try again since it would be a 2 for 1 outing, thanks!

    2. When they first opened, RN74 had an uni pasta dish that you could only order at the bar. I don't know if it's still on the bar menu.

      1. Alexander's Steakhouse had an Uni Fried Rice dish a while back that was quite good.

        Also the Mendocino Uni Flan at 5th Floor is quite rich and amazing.

        1. Skool and Fifth Floor both have uni flans and Mission Chinese has an egg custard with uni. I've had the uni flan at Fifth Floor and it was excellent. Have heard great things from several people about the other two dishes.

          Commonwealth often has an uni dish on the menu, but I'm not sure if it's raw.

          I had the most amazing uni of my life at Manresa but I don't think that's the kind of place where you'd go just to find a good version of uni. Of course, if you have been thinking about going to Manresa, I can't say enough good things about it.

          6 Replies
          1. re: bkbits

            A perfect roundup. The Skool uni flan is an appetizer and can be had as part of a roundup.

            The uni is a very minor component at Manresa, but quite awesome when it's on the tasting menu.

            1. re: bbulkow

              Manresa is one of the places I know I'd love but I haven't been. The idea of driving back to Oakland after an extended meal with wine always seems foolish. Is there anywhere decent to stay down there that doesn't cost more than the meal?

              1. re: rubadubgdub

                Not sure, I've gotten some good deals through priceline in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara etc. But that might be too far for you if you're concerned about drinking and driving.

                When I went there in Nov, I had to drive to Sac after the meal, so I only had one cocktail. But I'm not into wine pairings, really. I feel like I don't appreciate the food as much when I start to feel the wine.

                1. re: bkbits

                  With all the businesses down there, there's much competition in reasonable business class hotels which are fairly empty on weekend. Apple, Netflix, etc etc. A quick traipse on Orbitz is showing plenty of $100ish rooms around Campbell and Saratoga from major national chains (Cypress is $129, a hilton garden inn at $80). I don't know the hotels in walking distance, you'll pay more in Los Gatos proper. I don't have a specific rec and this isn't a hotel board - although my interest in Manresa's new cocktail program might have me asking about hotels too.

                  The price of two directions of taxi for 5 miles each would probably be about $40.

                  Bkbits mentions the cocktails --- any specific notes? How are they?

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    To me, the point of booking a hotel after a meal at a place like Manresa is to not to have to get in the car at all. If you plan ahead you can get a room in Los Gatos for under $100 at a place 7-8 blocks / a little over half a mile from Manresa, and you'll probably be glad for the walk after a meal like that.

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      I had to hunt a bit to find good descriptions of the drinks we had because I couldn't remember them.

                      I had the Shizuka: Hendricks Gin / Tonic / Green Chartreuse V.E.P / Love Apple Cucumber / Love Apple Shiso / Aloe. I ordered this because I'm obsessed with cucumber in drinks. I thought it tasted interesting, which is a plus for me, but I wouldn't order it again. It didn't taste bad or anything, it just wasn't that great. But I also tend not to be a fan of gin, so that might be why I wasn't impressed.

                      My friend had the Field Notes: a vodka drink based around the acidic tang of sorrel and the aromatic base of celery bitters and lemongrass infusion. I initially wanted to order this, because I love things that taste "green." It definitely tasted green but it also tasted medicinal to me. I was surprised my friend could finish it but she seemed to be fine with it. Can't remember if she said she actually liked it though.

                      I would love to go back and try out a few more cocktails to see if I could find ones that I like but they are all pretty expensive (14-20). I realize that Manresa puts a lot of work into their cocktails and the ingredients, so I understand the prices, but I just can't get used to spending that much on cocktails. Also, I really didn't feel like the lounge would be that great of a place to come just for drinks. Maybe it will be when they open the outside area. I'd probably order another one before dinner the next time I visit though.

            2. I like the uni flan at Skool.

              1 Reply
              1. I loved SPQR's twist on carbonara. Smoked fettuccini, sea urchin, smoked bacon, & quail egg. Creamy and the uni flavor is very prevalent throughout the dish. A real wow factor between me and my dining partner.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Keesey

                  Intrigued by the dominant uni flavor. I think in the Morimoto carbonara, the pasta was almost too savory and muted the uni. I want the uni to be the star.

                2. Ame has a sea urchin bruschetta, topped with lardo and sea salt. One of the best bites of anything I had that year. Pictured here: http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/...

                  1. I like to take an avocado half, pull out the pit, and fill the hole with fresh uni, topped with some finely minced green onion. Very beautiful and delicious.

                    1. On the tentative dinner menu at Lazy Bear's next serving in a few weeks, is an uni dish with navel orange, ice, chicory oil, and chicken jus.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: OliverB

                        Wow, ice as an ingredient? How unusual, I'll check it out.

                      2. I can vouch for the uni pasta at La Ciccia, have had it at least twice, and it is outstanding. Would be worth calling them to ask if when/if it would be on special (don't think it is really a special order as much as an item that is sometimes on the specials menu when they have the uni available).

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: susancinsf

                          had dinner at La Ciccia a few nights ago, and pasta in tomato sauce with uni and tuna heart is on the regular menu right now. No need to special order, though I did a sort of special order, to get it without the tuna heart, since I am avoiding most tuna these days for personal reasons. (no problem getting an all uni version). Delicious!

                          1. re: susancinsf

                            Thanks for this update. Interesting that it's being served with a red sauce. I also saw that Incanto had a sea urchin pasta the other night but the sea urchin was added to the pasta dough and then extruded. The dish was sea urchin penne, meyer lemon, and chervil. I didn't make it over to try it unfortunately.

                        2. Finally tried the savory egg custard w uni, scallop, wintermelon at Mission Chinese Food. I was surprised it was served chilled, not warm, but it was still delectable. A large piece of uni is embedded in the custard. I would go just to eat that.

                          1. On the menu at Kronner / Ordinaire Bistro Thursday and Friday: watercress soup with lemon verbena, potato, and sea urchin.

                            1. Uni bucatini from 1760! We loved it so much, we ordered a second helping. Uni pastas were discussed here, and 1760 was a hit: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9179...