Nanzan Giro Giro – May 10, 2013

I got to join my friends in another meal at Nanzan Giro Giro in May, and I thought it would be nice to share a part of that evening.

If I wrote this much sooner, I’d probably remember more about each dish. But that’s okay. Sometimes a detailed description gets in the way.


Lychee Sake with Soda
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A Lychee Sake with Soda starts the dinner. Sparkle it up.


Steamed Monchong
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Sakizuke: Steamed Monchong, Takenoko, Kinome with Kahuku Corn Sauce and Arugula Sauce and Sweet Vinegared Paprika

The most colorful presentation of the bunch, the corn sauce was more like a refreshing cold soup. Nice touch with the pepper.


Crab Fritter
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Wan: Green Peas and Crab Fritter Zucchini Tempura in Crab Miso, Clam White Miso Soup with Karashi Mustard

The fun thing about this course was that the fritter encased a little tempura of zucchini. Almost missed it.


Cured Ahi & Tai
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Mukõzuke: Cured Ahi, Seared Tai, Trout Roe, Shiso, Wasabi over Corn Sprouts, Snow-Pea Sprouts, Radish Sprouts and Soy Bean Sprouts Sauce

This sashimi course took a slight detour using slices of cured ahi, and seared tai. Beneath the slices was a gentle crisp of assorted sprouts. Being that the theme of the month’s kaiseki was the planting of rice sprouts, it was appropriate.


Hamachi Udon
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Oshinogi: Grilled Yuan Hamachi over Kanbun Gonendõ Inaniwa Tenai Udon, Men-Tsuyu, Vinegared Cucumber and Sesame Seeds, Myõga Daikon Oroshi Ponzu Ginger Ichiimi and Sesame Seeds.

I’ve been particular to hamachi for a while now, especially since I like that it’s so buttery. But the noodles made it my favorite. The nuttiness of the sesame seeds danced with the refreshing bits of cucumber tossed in the udon, and when dipped, a splash of savoriness joined in the fun. I’d love to have a much bigger bowl of this by itself someday, hamachi included.


Unagi Dashimaki
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Kuzushi: Unagi Dashimaki with Foie Gras Sauce, Potato Olanda-Ni and Microgreens

I don’t really think of omelettes as dinner material. Even when I’m eating an omelette for dinner at an all-day breakfast place, I’m merely replacing dinner with breakfast. Hope that makes sense. This omelette though, made me rethink about that position a bit. Generous cuts of unagi in kabayaki sauce was smothered in egg, with a swash of foie gras sauce, making this the most luxurious course of the dinner.


Katsu, Eggplant & Shrimp
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Hashi-yasume: Pork and Gobo Katsu with Karashi Mustard, Eggplant in Sesame Vinegar with Myõga, and Shrimp Sunomono with Yuba and Wakame

My favorite of this trio was the spoonful of eggplant in that sesame vinegar. I’m liking the use of sesame more and more.


Duck Uni Don
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Shokuji: Duck and Uni Don, with Onion Yakidate, Nori and Wasabi

It’s weird for me to think that the only way I’ve been eating duck all my life was that plate of chopped roast duck at the local chop suey. So it was a delightful surprise to try it with some creamy uni. I wanted more.


Tai Broth
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Tomewan: Tai Broth with Fried Tofu, Mitsuba and Ginger

It’s a good thing that this tai broth was joined with the duck and uni don. While that dish was a finale that urged me to stand in ovation, the broth was a gentle tap on the shoulder to sit back down and reflect. Without the duck and uni don to calm down, its place in the meal might have been lost to me. Warmth, comfort…Those words came to mind.

The kaiseki ended with that duo, but for a little more, you can add a pleasant coda to your meal. I obliged.

Dessert Trio
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Amami: Chocolate Gateau with Strawberry Custard, Lime Macaròn and Jasmin Ice Cream with a Honey Whip

Tiny touches gave gentle nudges. Dinner is winding down, and it’s time to go.

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Along with dessert comes a bowl of Green Tea Foam. And the goodbye.


Sometimes I wonder about meals like this – Not really about the price (Nanzan’s pretty affordable for this kind of meal), but more about how much to taste in one sitting. It can be overwhelming. I had that fear when I went there for the first time in December 2012, but after two meals, it’s not much of a concern. But still, I wonder. Maybe I just need to go to McDonald’s or something to keep things in perspective.


Note: Most of these shots were taken with my iPhone 4S using the Hipstamatic App, mostly with that Loftus camera lens filter.

Related Links:

Nanzan Giro Giro – Nanzan’s Giro Giro’s official site. Kind of surreal, and in Japanese. I can’t read it. I just stare at it.

 Vintage Cave Honolulu – This will probably be THE place to taste a multitude of unique flavors. Opened in the bottom of Shirokiya in late 2012, this restaurant helmed by Chris Kajioka is scheduled to turn into a members-only club in late 2013. Will I have a chance to try this place? Maybe, if I find a rich old lady (preferably not a hag) to get me in. I simply can’t afford the minimum $50,000 membership.