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Riingo -- Report

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Riingo -- Report

cabrales | Jan 17, 2004 08:12 AM

My disappointment with NY restaurants continues. Sometimes I wonder if it's me, or if it's the restaurant. Perhaps that doesn't matter, as it doesn't change my disappointment.

Last night was a "friends and family" night at Riingo. AS nobody was answering the phone and I was getting a recording suggesting the restaurant had opened, I went to inquire in person. A welcoming team at the reception desk close to the door nicely said I could dine at the bar at 1/2 price. Everybody else there had been invited by Samuelsson to attend, and Samuelsson was in attendance, as was the sommelier at Aquavit, with whom I generally chatted (as he was sitting next to me at the bar).

I ordered the shiso margarita, which was described as containing shiso infused tequila with triple sec and fresh citrus. Obviously, the infusion concept is patterned after the infused aquavit offerings at Aquavit. The shiso margarita was made using red/purple shiso, and was not as refreshing as green shiso leaves accompanying sushi might be. There was almost a pickled plum/omeboshi (sic) flavor. Quite sweet.

An amuse arrived. Two segments from a sushi roll, with the usual seaweed on the outside. Inside was, as usual, rice (a bit mushy even for sushi rice) with a blush-colored bit of tuna and a very limp yellow segment of oshinko (pickled vegetable). The wrapping inside the rice of both the tuna and the oshinko (which, separately, are common ingredients in sushi preparations) was unusual, but not necessarily well-executed in my mind. The side for the rolls segments were vegetables julienne, some more crisp than others, that had almost smoky flavor (not smoked, though).

(1) Tuna foie gras sashimi -- Two slices of tuna sashimi, interspersed with two slices of duck foie. The foie has been marinated possibly in a sweet soy that had some limited chili components, for there was a little bit of heat towards the end of the sampling of the foie. The foie was cooked.

This dish was served on a ridged square platform, with soy drizzled along one of the areas of the plate. Usual wasabi on the side, ginger, and an unusual item of possibly heart of a weak onion (?)-type item or bulb.

There was sushi/sashimi on the right-hand-side of the Riingo menu.

I moved to sample a glass of Evolution, Sokol Blosser (?), Willamette Valley, Oregon ($11), with the tuna and foie gras combination.

(2) Yellowtail with tomato vinaigrette ($14) (this and all ensuing dishes were from the left-hand-side of the menu, i.e., non-sushi/sashimi)

A good quantity of somewhat thick slices of yellowtail, which was of good quality and somewhat fatty (not very, but somewhat). I disliked the combination of diced tomatoes and diced raw onions strewn on top of the slices of yellowtail, for I do not believe such vegetables matched the yellowtail. The saucing was a thick, slightly grainy sauce presented in a thick swirl on the plate (perhaps with some type of unusual miso component?). I couldn't tell, and didn't find the sauce complementary with the yellowtail.

Report to be continued.

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