Dobinmushi, The Essence of Autumn
Danran, a sushi spot in the Sakura-jyosui neighborhood of Tokyo, is no stranger to Umamimart. It was frequented often when Yoko and Washi lived in Japan (on one of their very first dates!), and has been the subject of many a fine blog posts, here and here.
Yoko and I visited Danran tonight, to say hello to the "Master" (the owner/chef), and of course to have ourselves a fine feast. I'll report on the meal, in its entirety, at a later hour, but let me first present to you the creme de la creme of the evening: the dobinmushi.
Washi told Yoko that we must visit Danran as soon as we possibly could, once landing in Tokyo, so we could enjoy the dobinmushi before the season ends. You see, the dobinmushi's belle of the ball is the matsutake mushroom, whose season is highly limited edition.
We were warned to be careful of the teapot, as it was piping hot.
The little tea cup is taken from the lid of the teapot.
Dobinmushi directly translates to, "That which is steamed in earthenware". Mainly, it is simply a liquid that is flavored with matsutake mushrooms and dashi.
Pour the liquid into the tea cup. It is a clear broth, slightly tinted in color. The elixir is indeed piping hot, and it coats your mouth, then pierces your soul. The deep flavors of mushroom cuts through you like a knife. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the essence of autumn. Add a drop of the sudachi (a Japanese citrus), for an added kick.
You may think I am nuts, and just talking about mushroom water. But here at Danran, they add kuruma shrimp, ginnan (gingko nut) and mitsuba (a sort of Japanese parsley) for added complexity and dimensions of flavor.
And of course, the matsutake. So regal.
It just started raining tonight in Tokyo, and the weather is starting to turn. I hope to return to Danran one last time before we leave for another dobinmushi, to celebrate the season.