Event - PYE at Sushi Noguchi

Aw yeah - it's not a Yelp party until Sidney S. makes it a Yelp party! We were invited to a neat private Yelp event hosted by the guy that everyone and their mother seems to know at one of the places that we love, love, LOVE! Sushi Noguchi is the place to be. What a fabulous turnout and great way to meet people from all walks of life. With nearly a full house, I could not believe how Sushi Noguchi was able to provide everything for everyone with perfect execution and pacing. Also, $40 pre-tax per person for this particular omakase is honestly too good to be true.


We started off with some introductions and announcements from Jun Noguchi herself and then all proceeded to chitchat with those we were seated around. Somehow the assigned seating worked out perfectly though perhaps I am a tad biased as my lot was at the sushi bar where I could watch the action (and feel tortured!). As always, watching the meticulous arrangement and assembly of the gorgeous cuts of fish is a treat in itself. I sat with Duc, Roy, and Drew as we drooled over the beautiful work put together by the team at Sushi Noguchi.


In addition to Hiro-san's omakase menu for each of us honored people, Yaegaki Corporation USA was there presenting their award-winning sakes for an optional sake tasting. Ever curious about the alcohols of the world, I opted in and got to collect some neat "trading cards," as we called the sake info cards. Each pour was accompanied by an explanatory business card-sized placard that showed a map of where the sake was made and listed details on its SMV, classification, polishing rate, and grain. The ones tasted were the Mu Junmai Daiginjo (our favorite as it was sweet, fruity, and delicate), Hatsumago Junmai Kimoto (the cleanest and crispest of them all that had a distinct bright taste), Shichiken Junmai Ginjo (bitter upon first sip but my palate warmed up quickly to it), Kawacho Junmai Ginjo (not as sweet as the first one but still subtly sweet with a sharp finish), and the Yaegaki Nigori Sake Unfiltered (smooth and creamy with a refreshing aftertaste). We ended up buying a 300ml of the Yaegaki Nigori at the end. They were all very great, and if you're interested in getting them, it looks like Mitsuwa,  Marukai, and Whole Foods carries them too!


Anyhow, we crunched on fried eel bones as we talked and watched preparations. These salty bones were a nice starter, serving the spot of perhaps pretzels in a sports bar or chips at a house party but with a bit more refinement. I was curious myself as I picked up each deep-fried spine to think that I was gnashing my teeth together on what was the backbone of a sea creature but it wasn't too long of a ponderous moment each time as I just enjoyed the food and show behind the bar.


The wait was worth it once the first plate came out in all its glory. Would you take a look at the beautiful, beautiful fish? Forget about the freshness for a moment and drop your jaw at the presentation. What lovely planning. With arguably the freshest, cleanest uni in Orange County as an eyecatcher as it sat in its own urchin couch, the plate contained the wonders of sweet shrimp, scallop, amberjack, toro, and snapper. Each very well melted in my mouth as I got bites of the freshest cuts the market had to offer.


After the raw goodness, we were treated to some courses of cooked meats as the kitchen prepared for the next round. The first to come out was a fantastic and large red snapper head with peel-away white flesh upon a plate of onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers in a tangy sauce. Next were juicy morsels of Kurobuta pork that were perfectly pan-fried and salted just right. In all that deliciousness, we were surprised even further by the tender and flavorful cubes of Kobe beef that got chomped up in mere moments.


Then everyone was treated to individual plates of nigiri five ways. There was shrimp, albacore, hamachi, red snapper, and salmon. Once again, perfect execution. It was a nice change of pace to have a little bit of the vinegared rice (what sushi "actually" is) this time around. The shrimp was smooth. My favorite of the bunch was the albacore which was highlighted with some crunchy tempura. The hamachi oh so fresh. The snapper had a big kick to it from the garnish. Lastly, the salmon was melt-in-your-mouth buttery. I've never had it do that before to me but wow, this was something else.


When it seemed like there could be no more, Hiro-san treated us again with some crunchy, salty prawn heads to get our primal instincts going. I saw that some people seemed either hesitant to bite into these bug-eyed deep-fried creatures or were too full to stomach anything more. I had no problem myself though just destroying each head between my gnashing teeth. The crunchiness and saltiness definitely satisfied. Lastly, we received one of the most famous things Sushi Noguchi is known for - their mille feuille crepe dessert. Think of a light and delicate dessert that was crafted with meticulous care. This dessert takes hours to put together, and you can taste it in each mindblowing bite. Loved it!

Thank you to Jun & Hiro-san for hosting us for this event and Sidney for putting it on. It was a fabulous time with the best sushi around and the coolest people!

Photography by Duc Duong. More photos available on Facebook.