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Shishito Peppers

Mike5966 Mar 2, 2012 03:54 AM

Just recently became obsessed with these... I had them for the first time ever at one of Uni's late night ramen nights ($8 for a pretty big portion, "flaming" bonito flakes on top), and then ran into them again on the menu at Estragon (similar preparation, smaller portion, no bonito, but still really good).

A few questions... Where else have you had great shishito peppers? Where can I buy them fresh? I saw the thread from last year, and based on that I'm guessing HMart would probably be one of the best bets, but can anyone confirm recent sightings in Asian markets that are closer to downtown Boston?

  1. e
    emannths Mar 2, 2012 06:54 AM

    They might be on the menu at Yakitori Zai when it opens.

    I think I've seen them at Ebisuya in Medford, but don't quote me on that.

    1 Reply
    1. re: emannths
      robertlf Mar 4, 2012 09:45 PM

      Ebisuya does carry them on a regular basis. Thank you so much for mentioning Zai. We really need a good yakitori restaurant. Toki closed. Kiyoshi closed. No yakitori = no good.

    2. barleywino Mar 2, 2012 07:00 AM

      I think Toro serves them

      1. MC Slim JB Mar 2, 2012 07:16 AM

        Toro describes its roasted (fried?), salted capsicum-chili tapa as "pimientos del Padrón", but I don't know if that means they're getting the chilis from Galicia, Spain or just doing some other pepper in that style.

        Estragon explicitly describes its version of the dish as "pimientos shishito".


        3 Replies
        1. re: MC Slim JB
          barleywino Mar 2, 2012 07:28 AM

          supposedly they're the same species...then again, all humans are the same species as each other, too :)

          1. re: barleywino
            MC Slim JB Mar 2, 2012 07:38 AM

            True: they're both Caspicum annuum peppers, but the species includes everything from sweet bell peppers to cayenne peppers, meaning anywhere from 0 to 50,000 Scoville units. Of course, that same variation within a single serving is part of the fun of pimientos de Padrón. We call it "chili roulette", except everyone *wants* to get the hot one.


          2. re: MC Slim JB
            yarm Mar 2, 2012 10:05 AM

            I remember that Estragon mentioning that they do use a substitute (perhaps it was Padróns) when they cannot get shishitos.


          3. l
            loper Mar 2, 2012 07:52 AM

            They show up at the River Street Whole Foods all the time - usually unlabeled, so you generally end up paying a generic "chile pepper" price. Given how light they are compared to, say, a jalapeno, that makes them ridiculously (and probably mistakenly) cheap.

            1 Reply
            1. re: loper
              Mike5966 Mar 2, 2012 09:55 AM

              Thanks! Will check it out soon. I did walk through the C-Mart on Washington St. in the South End this morning and they did not have them.

            2. m
              Madrid Mar 2, 2012 09:43 AM

              during farmers market season, sienna farms sells them.

              1. n
                newhound Mar 2, 2012 04:05 PM

                For the uninitiated among us, what is it about the flavor of these that makes them so great?

                3 Replies
                1. re: newhound
                  MC Slim JB Mar 2, 2012 09:58 PM

                  I don't think the flavor of the pepper is especially extraordinary, but it's a great bar snack: finger food with a pleasantly chewy texture, sweet roasted flavor, plenty of sea salt, and the occasional hit of chili fire.


                  1. re: MC Slim JB
                    yarm Mar 3, 2012 02:28 PM

                    The "occasional hint of chili fire" is what makes it so fun. You never know how many and which ones will light up your mouth, just give a tingle, or be completely mild. All in the same plate of identical looking peppers.


                    1. re: MC Slim JB
                      robertlf Mar 4, 2012 09:46 PM

                      MC sums it up quite nicely.

                  2. t
                    trayclyte Mar 4, 2012 11:55 AM

                    Uni Sashimi Bar also serves Shishito Peppers. Not surprising, since like Toro, it's a Ken Oringer spot.

                    1. k
                      kimfair1 Mar 4, 2012 05:59 PM

                      We had a awesome plate of these at Girl and the Goat in Chicago, and would love to have some again. I liked the ones at Estragon quite well, but they weren't as good as at Girl and the Goat.

                      1. h
                        hulmeka Mar 5, 2012 12:23 AM

                        Tico has shishitos on the menu, their version sounds yum though I haven't tried them yet- Shishito Peppers with toasted shallot, sea salt and lime zest

                        222 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116

                        1. b
                          BJK Mar 5, 2012 05:54 AM

                          Feel free to blast me for suggesting such a non-Chow-worthy venue but as a father of 3 small kids I occasionally appreciate how kid friendly the Cheesecake Factory is. No, it's not a destination, and yes, we take our kids all kinds of other Chowhound-approved places, but still, I provide all of these caveats and apologies in order to simply state that they have Shishito peppers on their menu. *ducking for cover* :)

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: BJK
                            Mike5966 Mar 5, 2012 08:15 AM

                            Haha, funniest thing I've read in a while on CH.

                            Perhaps someone can take one for the team and find out if they actually make them well. Perhaps that someone can be me. If I heard they were awesome and happened to be walking through the mall, I like these peppers enough to stop in and have an order with a beer at the bar.

                            1. re: Mike5966
                              BJK Mar 5, 2012 06:23 PM

                              Report back if you try them. I've had the "Vietnamese Tacos" (which are basically steamed buns with pork belly) and they were better than I expected them to be. Was it the second coming of David Chang at Momofuku? Hell no. But I'd order them again.

                            2. re: BJK
                              MC Slim JB Mar 17, 2012 09:34 AM

                              Not to defend The Cheesecake Factory -- if nothing else, they deserve opprobrium for portion inflation and promoting the mega-caloric entree trend -- but I appreciate the challenge of finding places that are friendly to families with small kids, and am glad you've found a friendly one in TCF.

                              Also, an online friend worked there a few years ago and insists that a large proportion of the food is prepared fresh daily on the premises, when I assumed it was another boil-in-bag operation. (She conceded that all of the desserts, including the cheesecakes, are frozen and shipped in.) I'd love some more recent confirmation of this; if true, it raises it a tiny tick in my estimation above the national casual-dining chain morass.


                              1. re: MC Slim JB
                                Madrid Mar 17, 2012 10:00 AM

                                Chris S. said he started thinking seriously about selling the East Coast Grill when he saw pork with mango salsa on the Chili's menu. Things have changed so dramatically that the 99 and Chili's now list ingredients such as chipotle peppers and that TCF has pork belly is another indication of how eating in the US has come up in some ways. I first heard of chipotles from the Greens Cookbook while living in Palo Alto, CA, decades ago and even there they were hard to find for a while. That quickly changed (and I started making my own long ago).

                                What I hate about TCF and the other chains is the plastic, corporate atmosphere, the greed, and in still too many cases, chemical ladden salad dressings and fake cheese and industrial meats and tasteless produce (can we just not serve tomatoes in winter? or ever, if the best you can do is what you serve??) not to mention soups with so much sodium you could easily pass out. The bright lights, terrible music, relentlessly chirpy waitstaff. And that irritating question: Have you dined with us before? I always want to say, I don't dine, I sup. But there is no doubt that we have seen massive improvements in diverse offerings...and I say this as a parent who far too often finds herself at the 99 and not your average joe's. At least at the latter I can get some halfway decent seared tuna wontons for 50% off during happy hour while the kid eats his grilled cheese and refuses the garlic olive oil for the bread.

                                1. re: Madrid
                                  hondodog Mar 17, 2012 06:34 PM

                                  The irritating question is everywhere up and down the food chain. Just ate at Strip T's and guess what question they asked?

                                  Bingo. And you win a kewpie doll.

                                2. re: MC Slim JB
                                  BJK Mar 18, 2012 06:12 PM

                                  We eat at the Cheesecake Factory probably every 6 - 8 weeks, thanks largely to our need to accommodate a 4-year-old and, more recently, twin infants, and thanks partly as well to our recent move to Metrowest. Options are few and far between on both fronts.

                                  TCF is guilty without question of insane portions and an atrocious menu so large it takes the form of a book and includes full page ads. I at times witness behavior there on the part of both waitstaff and customer that makes me ashamed to share their company. And on top of all that, I will 99 times out of 100 seek out a hole-in-the-wall, ethnic, chow-worthy, high bang-for-your-buck local venue over a ghastly chain.

                                  That said, I do believe based on way to many a meal at TCF that the majority of what I've eaten there has been prepared fresh in house. With love and care and local ingredients? I don't think so. But I'm pretty confident they aren't dumping pre-packaged frozen meals into microwaves and fryolaters.

                                  I'm also sorry to report that the Sysco truck stops at local mom & pop joints out here in Metrowest, too. I've had way too many breakfasts in this area that were all basically the same meal.

                                  If its any further consolation, we also take the whole gang, twin infants included, to Sichuan Gourmet and Sweet Basil with some frequency. :)

                              2. lipoff Mar 5, 2012 04:43 PM

                                I like shishito peppers a lot too, but I will warn you not to get them at Basho. Just horrible. I find it amusing that Estragon has my favorite version in the Boston area, but it's true. Harvest in Cambridge usually has them at the bar.

                                1. hondodog Mar 6, 2012 02:21 PM

                                  No need to guess if they have them at HMart. They _do_ have them at HMart. And they're tasty when greased and grilled and salted.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: hondodog
                                    Mike5966 Mar 6, 2012 03:27 PM

                                    Thank you!!!

                                    Btw, they do not have them at Kam Man near South Bay (the re-opened store that was previously a Super 88).

                                  2. c
                                    caromk Mar 17, 2012 08:35 AM

                                    On the restaurant front, I had shishito peppers the other night at Moksa in a preparation similar to what you described at Uni, with bonito flakes on top. They were very tasty. The peppers were also on the larger side, around 6 inches? Previously (in LA, not Boston), the shishito peppers I have had were shorter, an inch or two. Not sure what's standard.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: caromk
                                      trayclyte Mar 17, 2012 09:31 AM

                                      Caromk - will you be providing more info about your time at Moksa?

                                      1. re: caromk
                                        MC Slim JB Mar 17, 2012 09:31 PM

                                        Now I know why they're described as "dancing" on Moksa's menu.

                                        Hate Moksa's website http://moksarestaurant.com/#/dinner-menu/ , which exhibits a new kind of design awfulness: it seems to work fine on an iPad, but is terrible to the point of unusability on smartphones, even the iPhone. Why can't restaurateurs get this right? Maddening.


                                        1. re: MC Slim JB
                                          Elaine_Central Mar 17, 2012 11:22 PM

                                          weird works on my iphone. does it depend on which iphone it is? still want to go, can't wait for drinks to get posted on the site.

                                          1. re: Elaine_Central
                                            MC Slim JB Mar 18, 2012 09:27 AM

                                            I have a 4s, and the website is completely unusable. Aggravating.


                                          2. re: MC Slim JB
                                            barleywino Mar 18, 2012 12:17 AM

                                            Hmm, menu seems to open ok on my droid phone...maybe your phone has an anti-spam filter (pun intended :)...

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