Nodoguro is a small place where Chef Ryan Roadhouse has served cuisine inspired by Japanese cooking for 3 years. They changed locations about a year and a half ago. It is a tasting menu only and reservations are by pre-purchase tickets. They have a regular tasting menu as well as theme based tastings and a SupaHardcore menu, which we were lucky enough to snag reservations for, but each night there is just one tasting served. The tasting menus change depending on what chef finds freshest and best to work with it, thus we were not surprised to meet some other diners who had been to the place numerous times. The set up is a U-shaped wooden bar that seats about 16 with a prep table in the middle and a door adjoining to the major part of the kitchen.
In the back there is a room with lounge type furniture, a bar and lots of interesting decorative items. The main dining room is well lit but still very intimate due to the small number of guests and the chef and his lovely wife, Elena distributing and explaining the courses as they come out. It is casual and relaxed, just like having dinner in their house. We were especially excited as the Chef had purchased a large piece of A5 Kuroge (Japanese Wagyu) beef ribeye from Kagoshima to feature that evening.
The tasting started with Washington oysters seasoned with onions and herbs. They were almost sweet with a really fun texture. Delicious.
Japanese eggplant was served with charred red pepper, mizuna and a ginger dashi sauce. The sauce was key in enhancing the flavor of the pepper and eggplant pieces. Another delicious offering.
Amberjack with shiso, onions and seasoned with apricot soy was another tasty one.
Chanterelles and crab were served under rice topped with fish eggs. The rice was great on its own but mixed with the eggs it soared to another dimension. The different textures added even more to this wonderful dish.
Next was an array of a half dozen taste bits. Tomato was with wasabi (sweet and delicious), beef tartar was with gel and caviar (YUM!), duck was with yuzu and marinated nettle (little spicy and nice), fig with miso milk and pinenuts (yummy with a wonderful strong fig flavor without it being mushy), octopus with avocado and Japanese turnip (very nice), and a candied walnut finished out the tray (toasted and simply amazing).
Monkfish liver was poached with seaweed and served with garlic chives and parsnip chips. This was unlike any monkfish liver I’ve had. For the first time I could understand why it is called “foie gras of the sea”. The liver had an amazing texture and taste. An outstanding course.
Seared A5 was served with ginger blossom and grated daikon. Yum x3 here! Searing absolutely brought out the fine flavor of this terrific beef. Like nothing else – so wonderful and silky. If butter was meat…
An egg custard was dashi sauce with buckwheat. It was savory and very nice.
Poached potatoes were served with dried fish roe (bottarga), baby arugula and millet. The potatoes were soft and creamy but still had just the right amount of firmness. It was a nice combination of flavors.
Everyone was given a dish of pickled ginger to eat as desired with the next round of courses and a warm wet cloth to wipe the hands before more eating.
Japanese Sea bream was served with skin on and Japanese chilies.
Santa Barbara supplied the sea urchin that was served on top of rice with wasabi.
A scallop from northern Japan was way good with a mild texture served on the wonderful sushi rice.
Salmon roe was next on the rice with black cod which had a bit of a smoked taste.
Amberjack was with aged soy sauce and rice.
Porcini was on rice and absolutely wonderful.
An older style of sushi was for the wild Japanese mackerel served with kelp heart. Really fresh and not strong as mackerel often is – a nice course.
The scrumptious Waygu beef had been seared over Japanese charcoal and then served with onion and rice. Delicious.
Creamy scallop and mushroom miso soup tasted almost of mayonaisse but was lovely.
Pan roasted green tea finished the meal.