Naked Fish is always a favorite, and the place is packed with terrific talent: Chef Sunny behind the sushi bar, Christian Frech running the dining rooms and watching the wine, Chef Tosh at the ramen pot. Johnny Kwon has assembled a great team, and it shows in every bite.
For the past few days, he's added another star to the constellation: Viet Pham, having taken a hiatus from the stoves at Forage and still pursuing his elusive Ember & Ash, has been busy in the kitchen at Naked Fish and we tasted the results Saturday night.
The required cocktail menu features a Naked Daiquiri, so I had to start wtih that, since it's one of my most favorite and least understood drinks. Here it's been reinterpreted with a dash of yuzu. Yum.
First course was a lovely brown egg, nested in salt and holding a warm parmesan custard with dashi foam: Chowanmushi,
With a glass of Adami Prosecco.
Then a gorgeously sexy kushi oyster in yuzu topped with a mousselike foam with Joto sake which is made with apple yeast and smells that way,
Nori with cured salmon and shiso leaf, and tataki with yuzu and avocado. End of appetizers.
Next, barely ember-charred fluke with buttermilk and cress.
Hotategi–and here just let me add that I Tweeted this meal last night and you won't believe what auto-correct does with Japanese–turned out to be scallops, sided by brown butter seaweed puree textured with sprouted grains. It came with a 2012 Buoncristiano Sauvignon Blanc, aged six months in used oak with all the crispness of S.B. but the depth of a chard.
Rosutoramu niku, with a punctuation mark I don't know how to make on my keyboard, was roasted lamb with streaks of winter squash and sour leeks, and served with beloved 2011 Bucklin Bambino.
Palate cleanser sushi from Sunny: yellowtail, a temari and a nori roll, with Kikasui, a razorsharp sake.
And, finally, a very un-Japanese dessert–a very dark chocolate brownie-like thing with chile sauce and a kinako–roasted soy flour–ice cream.
The truth is, there's probably a course or two I forgot. It's hard to take photos, Tweet, take notes, converse and drink at the same time. But that's the job. I do the best I can.