Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nijo Castle

39888 Balentine Dr
Newark, CA 94560
(510) 657-6456

One of my bosses from Delaware came to visit my team and I today. So the team went to Nijo Castle for dinner together. My boss who had been to Nijo Castle several time ordered omakase for each of us. It was a colorful and delcious meal.

We started with assorted pickled vegetable. The dish was very pretty and vibrant. I always thought Korean cuisine has the most pickled vegetables, but never realize there are so many kind of Japanese pickled vegetables also.

The waitress then served each of us a bowl of sushi rice with tobiko, ikura and uni in it or so to speak, flying fish roes, salmon roes and sea urchin. The roes are very salty but they go very well with the sweet sushi rice and toasty flavor of the seaweed and sesame. I'm not a sea urchin fan, so after a bite, I gave my uni away. It's too fishy for me.

After that, we were served with one of my favorite Japanese dishes--Hirame Sashimi!!! I love it because the hirame is a very sweet fish. The sashimi was sliced thinly and was paired with a ponzu sauce. Delicious! It takes skills to cut the fish so thin and transparent.

After the delicious hirame, we were served namako or sea cucumber sashimi. It looked very slimey. I never had raw sea cucumber before, and being adventurous, I decided to try one. The first couple bite was chewy, kind of like raw squid, then as I chewed, the texture got mushy and globby. The more I chewed, the fishier it got. It was quite disgusting in texture. I forced myself to swallow it. I don't think I'll try that again. I didn't have the acquired taste for it.

We were then served with oysters and sashimi! The presentation was very grand--the colorful fishes were served on a bowl made of ice, keeping the sashimi fresh and cool. I love how they gave us two different cuts of hamachi because the textures are different among the two. The sashimi was very fresh, colorful and delicious. None of them tasted fishy at all.

 Next, we had nigiri or sushi. Again, the presentation was really pretty and everything was really fresh. It was amazing how the fish on the rice all looked very uniformly cut! The only thing I dislike about it was the rice. It was a little too mushy for sushi.

After the raw part of the omakase, we were served with cooked food. I was pretty full by now, but cooked food sounded really good especially after eating all the cold raw fishes.

Several sushi rolls were served along with the bacon wrapped scallops topped with house special sauce and tobiko. I usually don't like bacon, but that tasted really good. It was better than steakhouse made bacon wrapped scallops. Like the raw food, the cooked items were also very colorful and nice in presentation.

A lot of the cooked items were deep fried, like the deep fried mushroom, which was also served with the house special sauce and tobiko. It was also orangy in color, but really great in flavor! I was really full at this point, but I wanted more of the mushroom after eating one.

The last dish before dessert was grilled salmon collar. It was flaky but it was a little bland after eating all fried food covered in the house special sauce. My coworkers and I couldn't finish it because we were stuffed!

We ended our dinner with green tea ice cream and many thanks to our bosses for the delicious meal!

The service was great and the food was delicious! I would definitely want to come back again and again, especially when I want some good quality and fresh fish.

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