|Sushi, oysters, shumai and rice cakes|
Wow. I wasn’t going to write about this one because it was kind of a special dinner—some friends of ours had won an Omakase dinner at H2O at last year’s Taste of the NFL fundraiser, which raises money to fight hunger locally. Omakase, if you aren’t familiar, is just a way of saying you’ll leave the dinner to the Chef’s discretion. The dinner was for four, and they were kind enough to invite us along. After checking out the menu, most of the items we had were available individually on the specials (although I never would have been able to order so many of them just on my own), so I figured I would go ahead and talk about them. Also, I asked Eli Anderson, the Chef and owner, if this was something people could get if they came in for dinner and he said absolutely. I would just let them know in advance.
Our dinner also included Sparkling wine and wine but I am just going to stick to the food here, although I really enjoyed the wine pairings as well. We started off with an oyster shooter for each of us—the petite oysters (how I like them best when they’re raw) and topped with a bit of masago. Next were two versions of Hamachi crudo with two different flavor profiles. The first had more of a delicate Asian flavor with lime vinaigrette, thin slices of jalapeno and micro cilantro. Loved the slight heat the jalapeno gave as well the sour taste from the lime. We had another version that had a different type of vinaigrette and was topped with capers and chopped jalapenos as well. I loved the briny taste of the capers with the fish—I had a hard time deciding which I liked better.
At this point, the food just kept on coming and I was loving it. We each had a shumai dumpling, which was filled with beef and topped with the perfect sauce of soy, sambal and sesame. I liked the sauce so much; I picked up the bowl and drizzled it all over my dumpling. That’s what I do. Next was seared tuna with ginger/caramel pineapple, pea shoots, and a slightly citrus tasting chili sauce. It was interesting, because pineapple isn’t always my favorite thing, but this was great with the tuna. The sharp flavor of the fruit was softened and sweetened by the cooking of it. The tuna on it’s own was just seared and needed the combo of flavors. It was one of those dishes with just the right amount of variation of flavors that needed to be eaten together.
Next were roasted rice cakes with scallions, caramelized onions, sesame seeds and red dragon sauce. These reminded me a lot of the ones hubby and I had at Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC. These were spicier though and had a decent kick to them. I love the slightly chewy texture of the rice cake. These were quickly followed by a riff on something else we had at Momofuku—the pork bun. H2O often does pork belly in a bun, but these were like spicy pulled pork. I enjoyed these as well—my favorite part is the thin pickles that balance the spicy flavor just a little.
The next thing is maybe something I have never had singularly as a dish and it was beef tendon—I loved the rich beefy flavor of these, and can see how they add flavors to broths and things like that. I wasn’t a huge fan of the chewy consistency of them on their own, but it was certainly an interesting dish (and one of the ones that was not on the menu).
After the rich hearty flavors of the pork and beef dishes (and the rice cakes), it was a refreshing change in the pacing to be given a couple of sushi rolls and the bright apple salad. The sushi included one of my favorites—the crazy ho roll (read about it here) and something I had not had in this particular combo—the Joe Pesci roll (shrimp, jalapeno, avocado and cilantro) and topped with some of my all time favorite tuna tartare. Not sure this is a regular item on the menu, but I bet they would make this for you since they have all the stuff on hand. It was a fun combination.
|Apple salad, tuna, monkfish|
The apple salad was really delicious and a great palate cleanser. It was julienned apples, cilantro, peanuts and dried blueberries in a light vinaigrette. It had that great mixture of sweet and tangy that I love with the crunch and slight saltiness of the peanuts. Not sure this one was on the menu either, which is too bad because it’s delicious. The last savory item we had was roasted monkfish with roasted garlic and lemon lentils. This one was probably my least favorite dish of the evening, just because the monkfish didn’t have a ton of flavor—normally it has a sweet flavor similar to lobster, and this one was kind of bland. The lemon lentils were a nice contrast in texture and added a light citrus note.
At this point, we held our hands up and told them we were completely stuffed, but we still managed to force down a couple of the famous H2O cookies. It is really hard to pass those things up that’s for sure.
This was one of the best meals I have had in Indy in quite awhile and I really enjoyed the mystery of what was coming next. I was told based on what we had, a meal like this would likely run just under $50 a person (without drinks and gratuity) and that they would be happy to do this with any size party, as long as the whole table goes along. And I highly recommend it.
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