Exploring sea urchin creativity at three local restaurants
Slick, tongue-like uni, or sea urchin (part of the same clan as sand dollars and sea cucumbers), earned its urchin moniker from a Middle English term for hedgehog due to their similar spiny exterior. Uni is an acquired taste. My adventurous palate took a couple years to come around to appreciating its briny richness (to be fair, the initial uni I tried was less than fresh, tasting more like a stale tidepool - yes, it matters where you have it). Three upscale dining destinations have been sourcing immaculate uni and giving it the inventive treatment.
FIFTH FLOOR’s Mendocino uni flan -- With executive chef David Bazirgan recently on board at Fifth Floor, there’s a number of noteworthy new dishes, particularly Mendocino uni flan ($16). It arrives unceremoniously, a little bowl of foam. Dig into that “saffron air” and underneath lies lush Dungeness crab fondue and silky uni flan. Heightened by aged Kaffir lime and Sichuan pepper, you’ll be dreaming about it all week.
COMMONWEALTH’s seah urchin with sweet potato tempura -- Commonwealth just gets better and better. Chef Jason Fox shines with a progressive menu that borders on the experimental and molecular, yet remains ever satisfying. Garden-fresh chrysanthemum leaves and shiso illuminate Fox’s current menu offering of sea urchin ($15) with the comforting contrast of sweet potato tempura, while yuzu kosho adds a gentle tart.
BENU’s risotto topped with sea urchin -- Pricey, austere Benu is a gourmand’s dream, especially when it comes to decadent dishes like Chef Corey Lee’s risotto ($28). Creamy, laden with butternut squash, celery and black truffle, dollops of sea urchin dot the dish as its crowning glory.
Most Commented On
- and you are just one person, - May 22, 2013
- So where is this increased tax base then? - May 22, 2013
- The same way you keep your job: - May 22, 2013
- I look forward to reading Johnny Angel's - May 22, 2013
- "very funny--but I notice - May 22, 2013
- Great work, looks like you - May 22, 2013
- awesome. i love this. - May 22, 2013
- No more Manhattanization of - May 22, 2013
- Union's mayoral candidate soundly defeated in LA....?! - May 22, 2013
- Kevin, I promise that the minute I feel a need for a - May 22, 2013