Want natto? New spots have opened up — you can RSVP here or via Twitter or Facebook.
To all who are coming to Friday’s (belated) Natto Day dinner, consider this your official warning: The menu is insane. This may be the only time you’ll see the words ‘natto’ and ‘mignonette’ together. How about ‘natto foam’? ‘Natto jus’? And the one that just about screams brilliant: ‘Natto brittle.’
Yes, we’re having a natto dessert. Check out the menu. “We’ve been eating a lot of natto and just brewing on it,” says Andrew Le, Pig and the Lady’s chef. “We oscillated between Asian, French, Asian, European. But this is us. The menu is totally us.”
OK. Notice the pork belly crusted in miso and natto and served with natto chicharron. And the natto andagi (“for obon season,” Le says) with Guinness anglais (he says natto and Guinness turn out to be the perfect combination). And the two amuse bouche starters featuring — what else? — natto.
For all of which, believe it or not, I have pairing recommendations. If you’re bringing sake, Nadine Leong of the Sake Shop on King Street recommends Tamagawa tokubetsu junmai, $26 and tasting of roasted nuts; Kamoizumi Shusen junmai, $30 and mushroomy; Dewazakura Omachi ginjo, $35, rich and ricey; and Kurosawa kimoto junmai, $20 and tasting of chestnuts and honey.
If you’re into wine, master sommelier Chuck Furuya offers the following recommendations. “In general,” he writes, “since (natto) can be salty and pungent, I would recommend a slightly sweet German Riesling (feinherb to medium dry in style). The CF Euro-Asian Riesling Medium Dry, for instance. Because this Riesling comes from red slate soils (and resulting earthy/pineapple-like qualities) it would work with a more Asian styled preparation. If the preparation is more savory (and less strongly Asian) I would then suggest a lighter, more ethereal styled Rose such as My Essential Rose, a Cinsault-based blend from Aix en Provence.”
Then Furuya saw the menu. Here are his course-by-course suggestions:
- Amuse bouche dishes — Sommariva prosecco
- Charred shallots — assuming a savory flavor profile, Furuya recommends a dry rose, like My Essential rose
- Pork belly — German Riesling like Josef Ieitz Dragonstone
- Confit egg yolk — Dry, slightly heavier rose like Fontsainte Corbieres Gris de Gris
- Dessert — Filippo Galino Birbet
If you’re bringing beer, Lemongrass Cafe does have a bar with basic beer and wine selections. Which brings up another detail: The natto dinner is BYOB, but there is a $9 corkage fee, all of which goes to the programs of the Pacific Gateway Center, which runs Lemongrass to benefit immigrants, refugees and low-income residents. So consider the corkage fee a donation to this non-profit.
Also, please be ready to pay for dinner by cash or credit card. The $45 does not include tip.
Finally, dinner starts at 7, but Lemongrass will open at 6 so anyone who arrives early can hang out at the bar.
Come hungry, natto fans. I’ll see you at the feast!
What: (Belated) Natto Day dinner
When: Friday, July 12 at 7 p.m.
Where: Lemongrass Cafe, 83 N. King St.
Cost: $45pp not including tip
BYOB: Yes, $9 corkage
Parking: Municipal lot on Smith Street behind Lemongrass