Had a terrific dinner with proftlb and mumpish Saturday night at Starfish. Three of us opted for the omakase, while my husband went for the regular menu. I've only done omakase a couple of times, but I can say without a doubt that this was the best I've had thus far. The chef seemed to care deeply about what he was serving, and very kindly gave us an informative overview of each dish. Here are a few pictures. I apologize for the quality -- my cell phone camera doesn't handle dim light well at all. Click the thumbnails for a larger view.
Miso soup with fresh mushrooms
|Our starter soup. Much better than your average miso soup.|
Crab and cucumber salad with many other things in it.
|At first, I thought there were cellophane noodles in here, but they were crunchy enough that I wonder if it was some sort of clear radish. (David maintained that they were the innards of Lugo men, but I'm pretty sure that fresh ones became unobtainable after 1967 or so.)|
|Our chef called this red snapper, but I believe it may be red sea bream, judging by the color of the skin. It might have been actual snapper, as crummy as this picture is. Regardless, it was tasty.|
Otoro with gold leaf and what I believe to be hon maguro.
|One of my favorite courses. I love otoro.|
Clockwise from top: Ikura with cucumber; a cooked crustacean of some sort; uni, and ama-ebi.
|I believe there was a cooked shellfish of some sort in there, but my food was problematic. Jim seemed to have the greatest success with it. I adored the rest of it. Uni is a favorite of mine. Yum. The ama-ebi was the best I've ever had. So good.|
Unfortunately, I got lax with the camera during certain courses. I blame the Dreamy Clouds sake, which tasted almost like an unsweetened banana cream pie to me at times. Quite palatable.
Between the snapper and the otoro, we had an interesting and delicious serving of monkfish liver and scallop accented by the same spicy radish that dots the snapper in the photo. I'd never had monkfish liver before, but it was oddly rich without being heavy and dense. Light and rich may seem to be a contradiction in food, but it was.
We also had a nigirl sushi course of horse mackerel, salmon, and giant clam (we were informed that the mirugai had been alive just before being turned into sushi). The horse mackerel was topped with tiny scrolls of very finely chopped scallion, which was a wonderful complement. It softened the slight fishiness of the mackerel ... it reminded me of the way pairing wine with food can change the taste of both for the better.
I especially regret neglecting to snap a picture of my favorite course of the entire evening: the kampachi (its plating was similar to that of the snapper). Oh, my. The thin, tangy sauce that accompanied it contrasted its buttery flavor, and it was terrific. We also received a small dessert course of bite-sized cheesecake and strawberries.
Here's the unbelievable part: we got all that for $55 apiece, not including the sake. The chef was honest with us, and let us know that he'd given us several freebies because things had been slow, and the fish would have to be discarded otherwise. I'm not one to look a gift horse (mackerel) in the mouth. :)
I would definitely return to Starfish. In fact, it may be my new favorite sushi place in that price point. Next time, I might try the regular menu options -- David's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory roll (Spicy tuna roll topped with beef tataki, avocado, and special sauce) was a silky umami bomb - the bite I had was excellent.
Everything was outstanding. After writing this up and reliving the experience, I'm ready to return right now!