Well well, it certainly has been a while since I’ve contributed to this wonderful Eden of food experiences. Don’t you worry though, I’ve always got something tasty hidden up my sleeve to share with you. This restaurant review/wonderfully delicious culinary experience, comes from Boston, MA, at the Uni Bar in the hip neighborhood of Back Bay. My wife sniffed out this 4 table establishment, and somehow managed to get us a table on a Friday night. As far as atmosphere goes, it couldn’t have been any better, there was cool music softly playing in the background, 4 small tables and a sushi bar with a lone chef providing all the fresh sushi for the whole restaurant. There was also a small kitchen in the back for the few hot dishes that were on the menu. So to start, we ordered a nice bottle of sake, Chikurin Junmai Ginjo. It was nice and dry, with an earthy nose, and a slight hint of tropical fruit on the finish. We tried to make it last all the way through the meal, but that proved to be difficult. The menu was set up similar to Nobu, with lots of small dishes to choose from, both cold and hot. While they weren’t as numerous, after sampling some, they were on par as far as quality, which is saying a lot. So I started ordering at a frenzied pace, my eyes wildly darting back and forth between words, blue fin toro, duck liver, broiled eel, fresh uni, osetra caviar, and so on. So to start, I had what was called, an “Uni Spoon”, this wonderful creation consisted of a lone spoon containing a healthy portion of fresh uni (sea urchin), a quail egg yolk, osetra caviar, and chives, needless to say I took the whole thing in one bite. I can’t say enough about the quality of this tiny dish, amuse bouche even. I have had my share of uni, and this was the finest I have tasted outside of Japan. It was sweet and creamy, but you could still taste the ocean in the background, absolutely amazing. It pained me to swallow but there was more to come. Shortly after returning from my uni high, the rock shrimp tempura arrived. It was accompanied by a spicy red pepper aioli and Korean pepper threads. I’ve had a dish like this before at Nobu and Matsuhisa, and I have to say Uni pulled it off. I don’t care who copied who, but it was a delicious take on a classic dish. Each shrimp was nice and tender and the aioli added just the right amount of heat. The Korean pepper threads seemed to be more of an aesthetic addition than a taste choice, but either way it was fantastic. Next was the Yellow fin Chu-Toro sashimi plate (which we ended up ordering a second of!). This was the medium grade fatty tuna belly, and it was dressed with a black truffle vinaigrette, pickled cucumber, and aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow chile). As with all of these dishes, it was hard not to just inhale the plate in one shot. We made a special effort to savor each marbled piece of toro, trying to focus on the earthy truffle notes and the crisp, clean cucumber. The flavor combinations in this dish were well balanced, and refreshingly different from the normal flavors paired with toro. On deck after the toro plate was tuna two ways, first was a tuna ceviche with coconut, chiles, scallions, and lemon grass. It had a wonderful Polynesian feel to it, and was curiously cooling and spicy simultaneously. The second was a Yellowfin tuna poke with sweet onions, sesame, seaweed, and pickled mung beans. It was hard to choose a favorite between the two, but I would have to go with the latter. This dish had a wonderful tang to it with the onions and mung beans, and the seaweed added a little taste of the ocean which tied the whole dish together. Our next stop on this fantastical sushi convoy was a sashimi platter with six different fish, dressed in six different ways. First up was a Bronzini (Greek sea bass) with kimchi. I wasn’t too crazy about this one, the fish was a little tough and the kimchee added little to the taste of the fish. Second was two pieces of ultra fresh Scottish salmon with Chinese black bean tapenade and fresh ginger. This…was amazing, another flavor combination that I never would have thought to try. The black beans added almost a rough, earthy texture to the fish and the ginger crisp tang cut through it to highlight the freshness of the salmon, definitely a winner. Next was Japanese octopus with hot oil, soy and ginger. The octopus was still sizzling under the oil as it arrived at our table allowing it to almost caramelize before our eyes. This was a simple dressing that packed a big punch, the octopus was perfectly tender (fresh!) and needed nothing more as the natural flavor of the cephalopod was allowed to shine through. Fourth was a yellow fin tuna with pickled mung beans, somewhat of a repeat from the ceviche but who am I to turn down another helping of that tasty tuna?! A Hamachi was next with creamy ginger vinaigrette, sour cherry, and seagrape. Another creative combination, the cherries were the real power player here, adding such an interesting flavor to the Hamachi. The tart cherries along with the crisp spice of the ginger brought the taste of the fish out in a whole new way, and seagrapes. which I’ve never had were fantastic. Finally, a pink sea bream with Shiro ponzu, wolfberries (aka goji berries), and shiso, rounded out the platter. And last but so not least, the piéce de résistance, a laquered foie gras and barbequed eel with green apple slivers and kabayaki glaze (sweet soy sauce). If you know me…even a little bit, you know that I have an ongoing love affair with foie gras. I’m sure my colleague here at Eat a Duck would share my sentiment. Even my wife, who never eats foie gras, had to admit that it was one of the tastiest dishes we had that night. The liver was perfectly cooked with a creamy texture. Along with the eel, which fell apart at the touch of our chopsticks, it was a match made in heaven. These two proteins should always be together, ALWAYS! The glaze tied the whole dish together, with the perfect amount of sweetness to just push the dish from good to great. The flavor of the foie gras and eel was not lost in the sweet sauce, and the savory notes of each paired well with it. A dinner of this caliber must be finished right. How else would one do this but to have a dessert worthy of the meal. Ashley chose “Strawberry Fields”, which consisted of a hill of chocolate crumbs, a canelle of vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries perched on top of the hill. My choice was a Japanese yuzu curd with lychee sorbet, coffee crumble, and elderflowers. Definitely one of the top meals I’ve ever had, and I owe the whole experience to my wonderful wife, as this was her present to me for our 3rd anniversary. Thanks Ash! I’d give The Uni Bar a solid 9.5. I’m nitpicking on the half point, but I would have liked a larger selection of dishes, because I would have definitely ordered more.
Here are all the pictures from our wonderful feast. I only had my iPhone so I apologize for the horrible quality, the pictures definitely don’t do the food justice, trust me. Enjoy!