Each week on the Food Chain, we ask a chef to describe a dish he or she recently enjoyed. The chef who prepared the dish responds and then picks his or her own memorable meal. On and on it goes. Last week, Aliza Miner at L.A.’s Canele delighted over Sean Rembold’s brick chicken at Marlow & Sons in Brooklyn. What’s blown your mind of late, Sean?
My socks we knocked off by an awesome meal I had last time I was lucky enough to be eating my way around San Francisco. It’s always inspiring to have an experience in a restaurant where the concept is fresh and you can tell that everyone working there is totally drinking their own Kool-Aid. When Nick Balla prepared and served Japanese breakfast to us at Nombe in SF it was one of those moments — a super refreshing meal topped off with chicken wings. The wings were simply amazing and has the whole sweet-salty-a little bit spicy thing going on. And I think maybe rice flour was used. I think that whole meal was killer. But the wings pummeled me.
Nombe chef Nick Balla responds:
The Japanese breakfast that we serve at brunch is a feast — seven items come with it: broiled local black cod, miso soup, Koshihikari rice with wild nori seaweed, house made pickles including umeboshi that I made last year, onsen tomago (slow cooked egg), mixed bitter greens, and sliced fruit. Just like a traditional Japanese breakfast, it changes often depending on the season.
Jordan Mackay from SF magazine was here with friends from NY and was talking up the wings, so I sent some for the table to try. We don’t serve the wings with brunch but soon may have to start!
The wings come from Fulton Valley Farms. They are first soaked in buttermilk and tossed with a toasted rice flour that we make with Japanese rice. This rice flour gives the wings a crunchy exterior and works well with the honey and togarashi pepper sauce. The sauce is made with honey from San Francisco, fish sauce, serrano chili, ichimi togarashi, lime, corriander, and mint. These wings have been a popular item for me at Nombe, just like they were at my last restaurant [O Izakaya Lounge].
Below, Nombe’s Japanese breakfast.
Earlier: Aqua, Gitane, and Ubuntu Drop Off Chron’s Top 100; Adesso, Frances, and Nombe Join the List [Grub Street]