I lunched today at the Gombei Cafe in San Jose's Japantown. As usual, I made my selection from the big "specials board" at the back of the restaurant. The first special listed today was "Matsutake Udon with Grilled Chicken", and I ordered it.
I had had matsutake before in a few dishes at Gombei, but because of their expense, only got 3 or 4 slices at most. I loved today's udon soup: the broth was a delicate, fragrant mushroomy broth, and the noodles were more slender than the thick pencil-sized ones which come in your average udon. And the best part was that it was absolutely swimming in matsutake slices. I read somewhere that this is a banner year for this wild forest mushroom, so I'm assuming this accounts for the generosity. The matsutake was tender, meaty and had a luscious foresty scent. It was the first time I had ever been served more matsutake than I could eat. The side dish of grilled chicken and salad was adequate as a protein and vegetable component of the lunch, but it was completely overshadowed by the mushroom.
If you're a matsutake fan, hurry to get your share at Gombei while the brief season lasts. Also, if you know of other restaurants prominently serving this momentary delicacy, I'd like to hear from you in this thread.
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