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We Went to Nombe!

It just opened, and we are a curious, curious pair. Nombe is primarily a Japanese grill, though its menu seems pretty evenly divided between grilled items, fried items and revolving, sometimes seasonal entrees. All servings are small plates and shared, which definitely works for me. There's also a nice selection of steamed rice with toppings and pickles to go with your food, including a fried trout skin and salted trout chazuke I want to try at some point. They even have onigiri! And pickled bitter melon! And ramen! Late at night! With all-Californian sashimi! So many exclamation points here!

Their menu also includes a variety of animal parts, like beef hearts and grilled chicken hearts -- grilled food items I never thought I'd see on a menu outside of East Asia, which are, admittedly, a little too much miscellany even for me. Grilled chicken livers though. Mmmmm.

We had the relatively non-scary fried salmon skin and seaweed chips, grilled tsukune (chicken mince) with egg and scallops in tomato terrine, with a sake flight. Salmon skin chips were great, flavoured with what tasted like 7 pepper mix. Just a hint of salt and not at all fishy. Grilled tsukune was very juicy and tender, also coated in what tasted like 7 pepper mix. The minced chicken meat had some kind of herb paste mixed in. Tasted like pesto, actually, with spring onions. For some reason, I expected the egg to be on the skewer with the meat, but they sent us a poached egg on the side, with a pinch of sea salt, chopped spring onions and a hint of what I believe is mint. It tasted interesting with those toppings (might want to try that combination of herbs at home,), but I do wonder if I was missing something in all this. Perhaps I was meant to use the egg as a dip? The scallops were the clear winner this evening. Delicious, fat raw scallops chilled in a tomato aspic, immersed in a thin cucumber-flavoured broth, and served with a lovely selection of cresses and grated roots. Just the right amount of salt, seafood flavour and crisp peppery cress. The seafood actually went really well with our choice of sake, really helped enhance what makes seafood so rich and tasty.

Dessert was chocolate ice cream truffles. Like all the servings here, this was also small, shareable and nicely composed for appreciation. Once again, I expected something slightly different, that is, chocolate ice cream in chocolate shells. Instead, small scoops of ice cream were rolled around in toasted sweet rice flour. I liked the way this was served overall. The rice flour helped round out the flavour of the ice cream, stopping it from being cloyingly sweet.

Nombe does regular dinners, late night suppers (ramen!) and weekend brunches. The brunch option is definitely interesting, with at least one set of flavoured rice, soup, house pickles and fish side that just seems so very heartwarming and comforting. Service was always friendly and fairly efficient, though I do wished they'd given us a bottle of water sometime at the start of our meal (pepper on the chips got a little much) rather than with our dessert. At the very least, refill our water glasses. Our bill came to around $45 for two people, even with the sake flight. We had a lovely meal, just enough to be satisfying without making us feel to full. I'd totally come back to this place, late even. It's about time the Mission had ramen.

Edit: Forgot to mention that Nombe's menus all include delicious vegetable options -- not just for vegetarians, but anyone who likes a well-made, tastefully prepared vegetable dish, as I do. They really do very nice mixes. Things that combine contrasting, delicate flavours, like pear and cabbage kimchee or potatoes with wild nori and ponzu with scallions. Yes, yes, I did manage to think about food in my sleep.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 10th, 2010 05:29 am (UTC)
*drools on keyboard*
Jul. 10th, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC)
Take me with you! *drools*
Jul. 10th, 2010 06:41 pm (UTC)
If you're ever in town! :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )