Saturday I took the future Mrs. Joypirate out for a lovely birthday dinner in the delicious yet swank Uni sashimi bar, off of Clio restaurant, in the Eliot Hotel. Strangely, I think we might have been the only ones who took the #1 bus to get there. Ahh well. We had 6:30 reservations but we didnt really need them. It was slow to start but picked up and was basically to capacity (though still quiet the drunk golfers had left) when we left around 8:30pm. So we begin our meal, per usual, as idiots and not really sure how to pace things but our objectively handsome and un-intrusive waiter was very helpful and told us to keep things tapas speed. So we put in 3 orders to start, 2 more and then 2 more to finish.
To drink I started with the Enter the Dragon (stoli orange, Kalamansi lime juice and cayenne pepper) and the incipient bride had a drink off the specials list, which contained passion fruit, and perhaps flavored sake, Im not sure. Both were quite sassy and set the mood for spicy and exotic fun. The only previous time Id had cayenne in a beverage has been in much more, shall we say, lowbrow college situations, and I was happy to see Id come full circle and now such things were considered sophisticated and classy.
To start we chose items that were sort of appetizer-y and had tempura vegetables, which included red peppers, green peppers, some cauliflowers (which I liked the most, nice and meaty and not at all bitter) some onions too I believe, and a soy-dashi dipping sauce as well as a miso aioli. This was a decent size portion, which quelled my initial fears that everything was going to be micro-sized and Id have to either get a burger later or go bankrupt having a full meal. We also got the pizza which was zucchini blossoms fried sort of tempura style with tuna, sliced cherry tomatoes (which were astounding fresh) and anchovy mayonnaise (its almost like they knew of my crippling addiction). And yes, I licked it off my fingers, society be damned. The pizza was also of a really good size. We capped off the first round with the crab rolls, which I lack the vocabulary to describe in detail though frick-ass amazing comes to mind. It was peekytoe crab with shiso, wild mint, and umeboshi. The wrapper was really crisp yet not fried, or at least I dont think it was. It was cut into 4 sections and served on edge with the crab heaping out of the wrapper and topped with the mint.
They then let you sort of hang out as you prep for your next round. We dived in with an order of Fish tacos, which were grilled halibut, avocado cream and tomato salsa. There was wasabi in them too though the menu didnt mention it. The taco shells were lightly fried wonton wrappers. These were the incipient brides favorite. Also this round we hit the tuna ceviche, which was served with coconut, chilies and lemongrass though I swear a tasted a bit of peanut in it but I was the only one who suspected this. They serve the tuna diced up into tiny little squares in the sauce, which makes it good for sharing and also, coupled with the chopsticks, slows you down so you dont mow through everything in a flash. Something we had to work on all night.
We ordered another round of drinks, thought about splitting the Scorpion bowl (passion fruit, lychee juice and rum) but I wanted sake so she went with the Ginko-bai, which was a plum-infused sake with mountain peach and a sugared rim. It was garnished with some strange piece of fruit which was, as best as I can describe, a sake-engorged ultra-tiny plum. Tasty as hell. I decided to try some straight sake as Im an admitted sake ignoramus. I had a glass of the Moriko Daigingyo (yamaguchi), which was, as billed, a soft aromatic and slightly minty sake, served cool. The handsome waiter was correct it mentioning that as it warms its flavor developed into more of a warm fruit, raisin-y taste. Very delicious but Im not sure Im ready to buy a bottle anytime soon.
To finish the bride was getting full but I had room so I was hoping Id get to get something that only I wanted. I was flirtatiously eyeing the Shabu-Shabu, which was foie gras and Maine lobster with dashi, enoki mushrooms and daikon. But alas, it was not my day. She wanted to get the Hamachi with Chrarantais melon and tobiko vinaigrette. And she wanted to REPEAT an order and get more fish tacos. But baby! Shabu-Shabu! Shabu-Shabu! was met with the stern stares of a woman celebrating her birthday and pulling rank. Fair enough. The hamachi, whatever it is, was, again, frick-ass amazing. It was a subtle melon sauce which slaked our curiosity as we couldnt figure out what the menu meant by w/melon (big wedges for us to bite into?). One of the smaller portioned dishes but at this point in the meal that was a-ok.
All in all a fantastic dinner, one of the best Ive had in Boston. 7 course between the two of us, $135 before tip, $49 of which was the bar tab. They didnt have the pico roco on the menu, which I wanted to try, nor did they have Matsusake mushrooms, which I also wanted to try, but only if it came domed and someone would pull the dome off Iron-chef style and announce them. I suppose Ill just have to return, if only for the Shabu-Shabu. The night ended with many friends dancing and sucking Red Line dry of gin once again and sadly Tommys House of Pizza was closed when we stumbled by, denying us their sesame-seed coated crust at the end of a long night.