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First-timers to connoisseurs can enjoy goat dishes with wine at Bistro Le Bon Gout in Asato, Naha City
post : 2017.10.16 07:00
The Sakaemachi district, located near the Yui Rail’s Asato Station, is home to many bars that have the nostalgic atmosphere of the Showa period. It is a popular destination for local bar hoppers yet, here there is an old two-story house, that doesn’t seem to fit into the landscape.
Bistro Le Bon Gout celebrated their three-year anniversary in January 2017. The restaurant specializes in Italian and French style goat meat dishes. In Okinawa, goat is traditionally eaten as soup or sashimi. The dishes go well with wine.
Chef Shinichi Yamaguchi is from Tokyo and has been living in Okinawa for over 30 years. He was asked to create a tasty recipe for goat meat, and that was the inspiration for him to open his restaurant. He received many positive comments at a food tasting event from people who usually don’t care for goat and that is how he came up with an idea of opening a restaurant specializing in Italian and French style goat dishes. At the same time, he made connections with goat farmers and also the livestock division at the local city office. He was encouraged to continue with his plan and so decided to go for it.
Yamaguchi is a member of Okinawa Amami Slow Food Association, a food director at the nonprofit Shokunokaze and also holds licenses as Awamori meister and Okinawa shokuzai specialist. He is no ordinary chef. His hope is to help stimulate local economies through his use of local ingredients and to support farmers. In order to do that, he conscientiously keeps himself informed about local ingredients and inspires future generations to support the local economy.
Yamaguchi teaches a class for future chefs once a month. In it, he not only teaches cooking techniques, but also the basics such as choosing cooking methods and even how to sharpen knives. “People are more aware of food safety these days,” he said. “Unfortunately, many restaurants appreciate the benefits but forget about basic rules. As professionals, we need to ensure safety.” He chooses his ingredients himself at farmers markets so that he knows how they get to the markets from where they are grown.
The Coppa Romana (pork and goat jelly) was tasty. I enjoyed the dish even though with its aftertaste, which was subtle.
The Goat Carpaccio is prepared with avacuum cooking method after searing the meat’s surface. Care is taken so that the temperature at the center does not climb to over 58 degrees. He controls the temperature down to single degrees. There was no strong goat flavor that I could detect; the taste and the texture was just like a lean roast beef. Goat meat aficionados even object to the dish’s mild flavor. Both appetizers had wonderful flavor.
The Shimayasai (local vegetable) Waltz is so decadently flush with fresh island veggies that you can’t even see the white of the plate. The presentation looks like splash of ingredients but in fact each piece is individually prepared and carefully placed. Once served, it always inspires a “wow!” from diners. Edible flowers, carrots, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, red radishes, zucchini, Chinese okra, beans, purple spinach and more grace this dish with sauces made from bonito, tomato and basil.
Yamaguchi’s goat stew with red wine contains goat tripe for a more intense flavor. The taste and texture are reminiscent of Okinawa’s own heejaajiru (goat soup). Goat flavor is evident from the first spoonful. This dish goes well with red wine.
The goat meat comes from the Arakaki Goat Farm on Ishigaki Island. Besides goat, other dishes are made from mozzarella cheese from Ishigaki Island, local fish, young Yanbaru chicken, pineapple pork from Itoman City, duck meat from Ie Island are used in various dishes. Yamaguchi’s dishes are created combining French style (finding the best combination of ingredients) and Italian style (getting most out of the ingredients) with local ingredients.
The restaurant also features great selections of domestic and natural wines from all over the world.
When you’re inspired to try other than traditional goat dishes, visit Bistro Le Bon Gout. Also, since Chef Yamaguchi often visited and enjoyed his time in Okinawa during his student days in Tokyo, after your meal you may ask him for his advice where to go while in Okinawa.
Bistro Le Bon Gout
Address: 379-15 Asato, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 18:00-25:00 (last order 24:00)
Okinawa CLIP photo writer: Sachiko