No ingredient blurs the line so hard between food-porn and actual porn like uni does, whether exposed in photos, or enticing the imagination and appetite of the eater. The actual gonads scooped from a sea urchin, this provocative-looking delicacyin immodest shades of yellow and orangetrembles with a rich, creamy lushness; plump and bumpy in a luscious fleshiness, no doubt high among the reasons siren Dita Von Teese shares our love for the shellfish. Though uni is still best when fresh from the shell or slipped on a bed of semi-firm rice, this coquettish urchin continues to captivate the minds of today's chefs, adapted to an uni-lardo crostini at Marea and an uni panino at El Qunito Pino in New York, to Jordan Kahn's uni porridge at Red Medicine in Beverly Hills, and La Guerrerense's sea urchin tostada in Baja. This past Sunday, Ricardo Zarate joined forces with Melisse chef Josiah Citrin and bartender Matt Biancaniello on a four-course dinner stacked with uni, as a preview of the Peruvian master's forthcoming Marina del Rey project, Paiche. The results, as expected, were both sublime and seductive. Take a look at what this threesome cranked out in our slideshow look back at Mo-Chica's first "Ceviche Nights" dinner.
Black Bass Ceviche
With oxtail and smoked sea urchin, by Josiah Citrin.
"Sabor de Mar"
Geoduck, scallop, uni, and seabass ceviche with wasabi tobiko with leche de tigre, by Zarate.
Chupe de Gratinado
Lobster and scallop gratin with sea urchin ceviche sauce, by Zarate.
Citrin's lime and orange beef cheeks, with uni, potatoes, and tomatoes.
Citrin and Zarate
Fish Out of Water
Biancaniello's cocktail included sesame-toasted nori with tequila, cumin simple syrup, uni puree, lemon, and applewood smoked salt.
At work. The former Library Bar bartender recently hinted that, like Zarate, he may be headed west with his own project in the near future.
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