Friday, June 24, 2011

Parisian Japanese

As luck would have it, we were staying in the Japanese food district of Paris.  Coupled with the fact that France gets some pretty damn fresh fish, well, this cat was in heaven.  We did Japanese food I think at least 5 times.

Funny thing is that most of these places are run by Japanese people.  However, they don't use Japanese nomenclature for their menu items, just a translated version of what it is.  E.g. You won't see tuna on the menu as maguro like some places do here, but rather thon which is tuna in French.  However, special items like toro (tuna belly) will stay as toro on the French menus, or words like teriyaki.

You can SEE the moisture oozing out from the fish :P~
From top left: red tuna, toro, hamachi, sweet shrimp, scallops, omelette
@Yamamoto Sushi - Opera

Mr. Meow got an encore of red tuna.  This was a first that
HE eats this much raw fish let alone ordering an encore.
Have you ever SEEN a cascade of colors on a tuna like this?
@Yamamoto Sushi - Opera

If Paris sushi joints are run mostly by Japanese people, then they should have decent ramen!  We found this place on Google Maps.  It was pretty good, but disappointed that it didn't have much ramen choices, it's more of a soba/udon house.

Tempura udon.  Excellent noodle texture
@Naniwa-ya - Opera

Takoyaki.  Store-bought frozen stuff.  Deep fried.
@Naniwa-ya - Opera

Pork cutlet curry.  Reminds me of Glico packaged curry.
@Naniwa-ya - Opera

This stuff is INSANE!!
Super spicy (they don't lie) konnyaku.
@Naniwa-ya - Opera

Next, we hit up an Ikazaya, or Japanese tapas bar.  There's none like it in my town, but there is one in Calgary.  It still didn't measure up to this one in Paris.  Both the one in Calgary (Globefish) and this place, Isse Izakaya, was bloody expensive!  Much fun was had though.

Don't bother.  The tuna wasn't fully defrosted even.
Frozen fish, THE NERVE!! :P
@Isse Izakaya - Opera

Korroke, but on a stick.
Everything is better on a stick.
@Isse Izakaya - Opera

Teriyaki duck...on a stick!
@Isse Izakaya - Opera

Spicy pork (spiced with Shichimi)
@Isse Izakaya - Opera

Agedashi tofu
@Isse Izakaya - Opera

Black sesame ice cream.
I've never had this kind of ice cream before, but it was so smooth
and the flavours were just the right balance, I might have to try
and recreate it at home some time.
@Isse Izakaya - Opera

Green Tea Creme Brulee
The tea flavour is SO subtle, you would have to let each bite sit
in your mouth for a few seconds before you can taste it.
It was a perfect marriage of green tea and creme brulee.  Well done!
@Isse Izakaya - Opera

At the end of the night, the bill came to 100 Euros even.
What are the odds?
@Isse Izakaya - Opera

We keep walking by this ramen shop that has a giant pot of soup base brewing in the window.  Well, we just HAVE TO try it.  The shop looked very small on the outside, just a few 2-person tables and a row of bar seating, but there's another room in the back with a handful more tables.  The ramen tasted pretty authentic to me, but then again, I don't remember what "authentic" Japanese ramen tasted like, but it agreed with my taste buds to say the least.

Our "go-to" ramen - Chashu-ra
@Taishoken - Opera

Their giant pot of soup base that's brewing in the window for all to see.
I can see the apples, daikon, carrots, shitake, and god knows what.
@Taishoken - Opera

Their noodles have a good consistency, it's not mushy nor too "hard".  It has a certain elasticity to it.  Soup was not too salty nor overpowering.  They had a good cut of the chashu, BBQ pork, so there wasn't much connective tissues or gristle.  We ate the gyozas before I remembered to take a picture of it, it was good too.

Shit, I have a ramen craving now.  Never write a food blog when you're hungry...

Next stop is another sushi restaurant, Toyotomi, also in Opera district.  Hey, we gotta take advantage of the fresh fish that's available for this sort of thing.  This place is bustling pretty much every night.  If it's busy, it's a good indicator that the food is good.

Chopsticks with maneki on them?
You KNOW you're in an awesome place :D

The salmon they have was so good, it melts in your mouth.
Mr. Meow was going to let me order some toro (tuna belly)
because he knows I love that stuff, but the fats and texture from
the salmon was sufficient for my cravings.

 The combo meals come with these kushiyaki.
There's grilled pork and chicken, and then there's this strange thing:
grilled beef wrapped with cheese.  The flavour was just odd.

Dessert: coconut ice cream in its shell.
I don't think these are made in house.

Toyotomi was so good, we went back there a second time before the end of our trip.  The second time was no disappointment either; the salmon still melted in my mouth.  The people sitting half a foot away from us were entertaining too.  They spoke English, I guess they are working/living there for a bit.  But some of the conversation we overheard (it wasn't hard to do when you're 6 inches away) went like this:
       Guy: What's "net weight"?
       Girl: It's like the weight of the stuff inside.
       Guy: Like, what do you mean?
       Girl: The weight of JUST the stuff inside.
       Guy: *still semi confused*
       Us: *WTF?*  ಠ_ಠ  *The weight of the stuff WITHOUT the bottle!!  UGH!!*

       Guy to waiter: Arigato
       Girl: You know, they might be offended if you do that.
       Guy: Why?  I've lived in Japan for x years, I know some Japanese.
       Meow: *You moron, these people are obviously Chinese, 
                  they may not know what you're saying*
       Girl: Well, in the States, if you do that they would correct you and   
              say "no, thank YOU". Trying to get you to speak their language.
       Guy: Oh!  Well... *astonished*
       Us: *You're a keener tard*

They sure made the night more interesting.

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