Aziza Tasting Menu and Nojo recommendations please [San Francisco]
Going to Aziza tomorrow night for the first time. Should we get the tasting menu or just choose from the regular menu? Thoughts please.
Also - trying out Nojo tonight. Similar situation... Omakase dinner? or are there any recommendations on the menu that are must tries? The other option is to order the omakase + some extra items.
I've done the tasting menu at Aziza's once, and the way I remember, all the courses were items on the regular menu (though I don't remember how many courses...7?). Between two people, we tasted nearly everything!
Nojo's chawanmushi is a must try. I haven't had one so tender, delicate, delightful. I found the chicken yakitori a bit disappointing esp. compared to Ippuku. Not a ton of flavor and missing the smokiness of charcoal. I think even the chicken skin was rather chewy. So I guess I'd focus on the other things on the menu. Dessert (eastwest mashup) is interesting.
At Aziza last week and only three of us had three apps, four entrees, but no desserts. IMVHO the green farro with scallops was absolutely phenomenal and can not be missed and the 'spreads' course was wonderful as well, well the short ribs were perfect, oh yeh the duck confit basteeya rocked as well, oops forgot the cannot be missed chicken wings. Needless to say, you cannot go wrong, what a fabulous place.
Reviving an old thread to report on Nojo last night pre-symphony. I would definitely return; especially as it is so convenient to Davies.
Walked in at 6 pm and had no trouble getting two spots at the counter, where we could watch the action. Service was good, by the way, with dishes coming out one at a time so everything could be eaten at the right temperature. Suggestions from the server turned out to be spot on. The dish I mentioned and got a lukewarm reaction about, ended up being the dud of the evening.
Started with the beef tendon salad. Daikon, cucumber, baby romaine, with a rice vinaigrette. Refreshing, maybe a bit heavy on the dressing. Tendon was served in thin strips. Some of the beef tendon slices were a bit chewier than I had hoped (seemed like there was some cartilage?); I was looking for a more tender preparation. Still, it worked well as a light starter.
Fried japanese eggplant salad with age miso, cherry tomatoes, green onion -- great dish. They also use the Japanese equivalent of Sichuan peppercorn on this dish, for that numbing sensation many of us seek. Miso packs a punch ... this dish is not subtle, but it is delicious and has a great combination of textures. The eggplant was very lightly pan fried -- we thought maybe they dusted it with rice flour, just a tiny bit of crispness giving way to the tender flesh. I would go back just for this dish, but am also going to try to replicate at home.
Chawan mushi -- with okra and chicken breast and a tiny bit of yuzu. Wonderful silky texture like you would get from tofu flower. A tiny bit sweet, but also savory. A nice refresher after the eggplant.
Nojo fries -- fusion comfort food. Fries topped with sweeted mayo, eel sauce, green onion, and shaved bonito (at the counter you can watch the cook shave it right in front of you). It's a huge plate and really ought to be shared by 3-4 people ... but we polished it off despite knowing there were many delicious items still to come. Sweet/savory/crisp/awesome.
Rice ball -- grilled for a crispy outside. Fine but not exciting to me.
Smoked salmon don -- cold-smoked (and chilled) salmon with chive and lightly pickled, shaved red onion over a warm bowl of buttered rice with a touch of sweet rice vinegar. The smash hit of the evening for us. The temperature gradient, the richness of the rice against the austerity of the salmon, the visual interest -- everything worked together in this dish. Perfect and will definitely be back for it.
Candied duck livers with bacon and figs -- okay, so I had been really excited about this dish. I was picturing thin slices of duck liver dipped in sugar and bruleed. Instead, the duck livers were whole and tempura fried, then drenched in a honeyed sauce. The tempura batter was thick, and the livers were overcooked. We picked out the nice, fresh figs and the bacon, and had them box up the liver. I intend to remove the tempura batter and give it to my dog.
But aside from the huge mis-step with the duck livers, we really enjoyed our meal, and will be back to revisit the eggplant and salmon, and to explore other menu items.