Japanese Extravaganza - April Full Moon Dinner
For the first full moon of springtime, the Pink Moon on April 20th, Lucky Chops hosted the Japanese Extravaganza Full Moon Dinner in partnership with St. John Catering. It was Larry Parnell, the Sushi Chef from Lucky Chops, that created the eight course menu which sampled dishes from across Japan. The Japanese Extravaganza dinner was paired with sake for diners enjoying the meal’s optional drink pairings.
The April Full Moon Dinner began with a Chef Larry specialty, a course of chef choice sushi and sashimi. The lightness and freshness of the raw course was paired with the subtle, fruity flavors of the G Fifty Sake. The sushi and sashimi course was followed by the second course, aged dashi tofu. The dish featured crispy fried cubes of tofu in house-made tsen tsuyu sauce topped with sesame seeds, scallions, and shaved daikon radish. Hakutsuru Draft was the drink paring for the tofu course with its harmonious notes of sweet rice and nuts.
The third course was Chef Larry’s take on a classic Japanese soup, shrimp egg drop miso soup. He added whipped eggs and head on shrimp to a rich miso broth for the dish then paired it with Ban Ryu Sake.
The fourth dish, Saikyo Miso, harkens back to Kyoto where Saikyo Miso was developed. For the dish snapper was marinated in the white Saikyo Miso then pan seared and served with a ponzu sauce. Sayuri Sake with its soft floral and fruit flavors was chosen to match the sweeter notes of the Saikyo Miso in the snapper dish.
Chef Larry used a classic Japanese cooking technique for the fifth course making chicken kushiyaki, a grilled teriyaki chicken skewer with spring onions served with house pickles. The drink pairing for the course was Joto Junmai from the Eiko Fuji Brewery in the mountainous Yamagata region of Japan where the Kato family has been making sake for 13 generations. Joto Junmai was selected to be the sake pairing for the fifth course because of its strong ripe plum notes that complimented the chicken’s teriyaki marinade.
Beef Tataki was the sixth course for the Japanese Extravaganza Full Moon Dinner. The dish featured seared beef in a spicy sesame soy sauce with local sprouts and shiso. The shiso was generously provided by FarmPod, a company revolutionizing farming with the use of their vertical aquaponic food production system that produces healthy, organic produce with a minimal environmental footprint by utilizing a natural cycle between fish and plant life. Learn more about FarmPod, including their efforts on our sister island St. Croix, on their website www.farminapod.com or follow them on Facebook @FarmPod. G Joy Sake with its peppery finish was served with the Beef Tataki dish for diners indulging in the drink pairing.
The final savory course of the evening was the seventh course, a plate of Pork Katsu. The traditional dish featured breaded and fried medallions of pork tenderloin served with Japanese barbecue sauce and sliced tomato. Diners enjoying the evening’s sake pairing were served Moonstone Plum Sake, a ginjo grade sake, with the pork katsu.
For dessert, the eighth course of the meal, Chef Larry made Matcha Mushipan, steamed green tea cakes. The final course had a cocktail pairing, a house-made Yuzu Blini utilizing Japanese yuzu fruit instead of the blini’s traditional peach component.
Thank you to all our guests who came out for the Japanese Extravaganza Full Moon Dinner, and to Chef Larry and his team for executing such a wonderful meal. Also a special thank you to FarmPod for their contribution and their innovative work with farming that brings fresh, organic produce to the Virgin Islands where it is so appreciated.
The next Full Moon Dinner is Sunday, May 19th themed Eastern Bloc Party! The meal will feature cuisine from Ukraine and Eastern Europe with a seven course meal designed by Chef Lori Dudkin whose extensive knowledge and experience living in the region will bring an authentic taste of European cuisine to St. John for one night only (see full menu below). As with all the Full Moon Dinners at Lucky Chops seating is limited and reservations are required (340-690-3868 or Office@StJohnCatering.com).