February go down as one of the grand months of the L.A. chowhound events. First, that amazing Chinese new years banquet and this weekend, a special chefs menu at WaSa sushi in Irvine
Now, as my next sentence may just complete invalidate my following review of the dinner but it must be said I'm not a huge Sushi fan. It's not the raw fish, or 'weird' ingredients . Its just that I grew up on ceviche I love raw fresh fish but I love it sauced! The tang of the lime juice, the sharpness of the onion, The spice of habaneros and the smoothness of Avocado ALONG with the melt in your mouth texture of the fish to me is just one of the most wonderful culinary experiences For that reason, I LOVE WaSa they use top notch ingredients in their Sushi, but they also sauce their 'treasures' in a variety of great Japanese-fusion sauces.
We started our tasting menu with a BANG!!
Lobster Martini with avocado, freshly grated wasabi and yuzu miso sauce: By far my favorite dish of the evening elegantly served chunks of firm lobster and avocado the sauce was rich and clung to every bite And there was a splattering of caviar that gave every other bite that sushi POP! I love so much I adored this dish so much, that I popped some edamame into the empty cup and coated them in the sauce too!
Marinated Bluefin sashimi with a light sauce: This is one of those dishes that make the cost of the event worth while. Three THICK slabs of sashimi arranged into a rose underneath I believe a yuzu sauce Either way, I happily layer each sashimi piece into the sauce and savored the citrus tang with the rich flesh this dish was a close to that perfect ceviche experience I wrote about.
WaSa Treasures in toro, yellowtail and salmon all seared with Ponzu sauces: These are prime examples of even without a tasting menu, I'll keep coming back to WaSa my favorite still remains the yellow tail with Jalapeno on top You just enjoy the texture of the soft sushi and then bite down on that spicy chile and then become so happy
WaSa Treasures, Scallops in special sauces: Again, these are on the regular treasures menu. My favorite by far is the one in sour cream sauce yes, I know it sounds scary but they also add a little more wasabi to this piece, which makes the cooling effect of the sour cream take this dish to new heights
Mozuku Seaweed with jumbo prawns, uni and mountain potato miso soup: This by far was the most unique Japanese dish I've ever had. One of the hounds proclaimed it Ursawa-esque (And he should know, he's been a few times!). For me, it was like the most elegant Miso soup I've ever had The broth was strong, the mountain potatoes added the thickener to create almost like a slimy texture (And they were finely grated and floating like snow flakes at the bottom) the Uni tongue was intact and tempting you take a bite and the seaweed was so delicate it looked like moss It did take some nerve to test out the first bite, but it did exactly what it was supposed to, clear the palette on our way to the cooked dishes
Ribeye with Japanese mushrooms: Little flat cubes of well done meat, again in a rich gingery sauce.. The mushrooms were perfectly cooked and honestly my favorite part of the dish
Seafood bouillabaisse, lobster, manila clams, salmon in a rich miso soup base: This soup, looked, felt and tasted a lot more French than Japanese! The broth was VERY rich almost creamy The flavors were very well balanced between the miso, clams and lobster. I enjoyed every last drop
Uni Dessert: Three little rolls of cream, raspberries and UNI yes, there definably was uni in this wonderfully light dessert A guest even unwrapped one because she had to see for herself the Uni that she was slightly tasting
Cream Puffs with fresh berries: The FINAL course, which was a grand way to end it A puff pastry, lined with custard and lots of fresh berries Again, a light dessert that was a good way to end the meal
Jschyun was kind enough to take pictures of all the courses, which are now in the LA Chowhounds Yahoo Group! Thanks to the hound who organized this great event and thanks everyone who came for their wonderful company (And wine and sake! :D). Yup! February has been a great month for the hounds, and the best part it's not over quite yet! :D