Thursday, June 8, 2017

Fun Asian flavors abound in Reno

I enjoyed a fun, inventive dinner at Kauboi Izakaya on S. Virginia with a patient dinner mate who allowed me some indulgences. We savored such Japanese/Fusion delights as shishito peppers with sea salt, seasonal vegetable tempura, Kurobuta pork gyoza, and Okinawa taco rice with shishito crema.

Shishito peppers with sea salt, left. Most were mild, but some come off a little fiery. Best shared with a group, there's so many on the plate! Right, Seasonal vegetable tempura with 'Wild West' dipping sauce. Clean, crisp coating to this fine example of tempura done right. Wasn't quite sure what was in the dipping sauce but it was quite delicious, even slurpable IMHO.

Kurobuta pork gyoza on a bed of ginger-applesauce, left, was the most comforting dish of the meal. My lone regret was not ordering another plate. Okinawa taco rice with shishito pepper crema, center and right, was fun and whimsical! Aside from familiar taco spices like cumin, a layer of kimchi was an added flavor bonus. We needed more lettuce leaves for wraps.

A few nights later my dinner mate took me to bab café, where Korean 'mixed rice' bowls were the house speciality. 'Bab' bowls feature white rice, choice of protein and sauce, and shredded spinach, carrot, cucumber, radish, egg, and zucchini. You then mix it all up and enjoy, as a looping video on a large monitor instructs.

Tofu Bibim-Bab, left, features fried tofu. The tofu squares have an appealing chewy texture; far more enjoyable than what I had days before on the train. Jeyuk Bibim-Bab, right, comes with spicy pork. The pork isn't too spicy, but there's plenty of sauces of varying heat to flavor up your 'bab' bowl.

Miso soup, left, came complimentary with our main courses. Right, Mandoo – fried pork potstickers with an aioli drizzle – were crispy and delicious.

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