Saturday, April 26, 2014

Coulis, Shintomi

After several lunches, I finally managed to make good on a dinner at Coulis. It turns out they really do serve you 10 courses for Y5.5k, and the vegetables are still great. I recommend setting aside a solid 3 hours for the kitchen to push out those dishes, and getting in quick since I still think bankruptcy is the likely outcome at these prices. As an aside, they just celebrated 5 years in business.

Here's what they're going for - artistic plates with a lot of vegetables and a little fish or meat, prepared simply. It mostly succeeds, and again, see also, in regards to, the price.

Fried baby fish. Bread crumbs. Blue cheese sauce.
Oyster, delivered from Mie this morning. Salad. White wine jelly. Fabulous oyster.

On the 'wine' front, they have a decent little list and fridge, and good selections by the glass, but if I was going here more seriously I'd be exercising the Y2k BYO policy vigorously.
Smoked duck several ways. Actually 'kamo negi', which is both an expression something like "setting yourself up for failure" and a reference to duck and Japanese leeks going well together (as they do in soba restaurants).

So a duck and leek meatball on top, with a fried leek sliver serving as a 'stem' to make the whole thing cherry-like. Delicious.
Underneath, a cloud of smoke with a piece of smoked duck and chips of fried duck bacon. There were two smoky courses in the dinner, and there was always a little smoke in the air as different tables got those courses at different times.
Little white fish, cooked, with a cauliflower mousse and stalks of green things. Delicious, especially with the fish, of which there was not quite enough. The cake is fukinotou-flavored, which continues a series of vegetable-flavored cakes that they've done (none of which I've had, but I've heard from Samwise that he's had radicchio and even moreheya-flavored cakes). The turnip slice is present.
It's a rare bagna cauda that doesn't make you think the kitchen is lazy. Here's one of them. Vegetables included some sort of mutant 4-inch bean sprouts with a strong, distinctive taste; fiddlehead fern sprouts; purple asparagus shavings; and deep-fried udo. The crumbs around the plate aren't pepper, which would be lazy; they're spiced bread crumbs, and cheese. The single shrimp is wrapped in kataifi and fried. The orange sauce was delicious. This dish was a highlight of sorts.
There's a salad in every meal at Coulis - the '15 vegetable' kind. They also come with a little surprise of rice and meat at the bottom. In this case, they also come with cheese, I think, that's been frozen in liquid nitrogen and smokes all over when it's spooned onto the salad. Not sure why it needs to be this way.
This awful-looking plate is some delicious firefly squid, nanohana, and a leaf that's either dehydrated (I thought) or fried (someone thought). Good stuff.
Another multi-layer dish - snapper in lemongrass broth on top, scallop underneath.

The fried mushrooms were the best part of this, really good. The fish was a little fishy to me, and the lemongrass broth wasn't sufficiently Thai or anything else distinctive - an unformed thought.
The spaghetti technique is maybe also lifted from these guys - halfway down the page you'll see hazelnut spaghetti. In this case it's scallop noodle on a piece of shiitake.
Delicious pork, terrific meat jelly, smoking hay underneath...inappropriate strawberry-vinegar sauce. But delicious pork.
Tomato and strawberry cake. Everything wrapped around the cake to make a tight little ball. Someone thought (correctly) that this would have been better with the tomatoes peeled so it was easier to cut and smoother to eat. Kind of a weak ending, honestly. I was expecting more multi-flavored, multi-layer, ice cream-laden goodness like I've seen in other reviews.


That, then, is Coulis for dinner. I think you'd enjoy it, and it's certainly interesting and good value for Y5.5k. I can't help thinking though, that you get a lot of the benefit for way less money if you go for lunch. The crazy vegetables are the highlight, and a big lunch salad plus some snacks is an agreeable way to proceed.

Choose your own adventure. 
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