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Went back to Shoji for an excellent meal. The omakase seemed to have more kaiseki dishes this time. The chef Derek Wilcox, who has 10 years experience working as a chef in Kyoto and Tokyo, is quite knowledgable about his fish. Actually able to express significant information better than other Japanese chefs with limited English.
For example, he explained the change in the water near Santa Barbara has been affected by change in algae quantities in the water due to global warming. This has had a big change in the taste of the uni from there. The uni was interesting, different and delicious.
The meal started with a dish of scallop and spring vegetable including fiddlehead. Off to a great start (first photo), this was followed by grilled hamo eel my favorite dish of the night.
Then densuke anago (giant sea eel) accompanied by morels, very well prepared. Next was iwashi (sardine) with edamame sauce and pasta with same sauce (note I took no notes and forgot quite a bit as far as description).
This was followed by an innovative chawanmushi. Made from egg whites and soy milk. The dash was made from shrimp. Such great flavor and creamy consistency.
Had some sashimi of chutoro from okinawa, and otoro also from okinawa. Both were excellent. Also kinmedai and Sumi ika ( photo not included).
Then sushi kasugo (young sea bream) such a good fish. Followed by botan ebi, sweet and delicious.
The sushi rice comes from Tamba Japan koshihikari type and was excellent. Then amazingly creamy sweet tasty uni from Karil Islands. These islands are part of Russia, located quite close to Hokkaido.
Santa Barbara uni that I mentioned above was served next and was really good and different from any Santa Barbara i've tasted before.
Next was octopus sushi , was perfectly prepared. Then Yokawa baby blue fin sushi from Maryland. Not aged and very good taste and consistency.
Hirame cured in kombu (kelp) was real good (no photo). Then we had kohada, one of my favorites.
The last sushi was a handroll of chutoro. Well that's the finale of the omakase, however, I ordered a few extra pieces at extra charge ala carte. Dessert was a Kyoto specialty of Kuzukiri starch noodles with kudzu powder.
An excellent ending to a great meal.
Sorry my battery on phone died so I missed a few pictures. Also ate a few things and forgot to take photo.
If you like sushi and kaiseki, Shoji at 69 Leonard St. should be tried. There is no set seating time. Just make a reservation for whatever time suits you. Figure 2 1/2 hours for your meal.
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