Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sapporo's Summertime Menu

If you're like me, then you're always looking for things to do in AZ to stay out of the heat during the summertime. So when Sapporo reached out to me to introduce their new Summer Menu, 3-courses for only $35 I jumped at the chance to meet with Executive Chef Mark McLaughlin and Sushi Chef Michael Tam; who opened Sapporo 15 years ago, to talk about his inspirations in the kitchen and also get to taste-test the menu, there was nothing to say but a big fat HELL YES!

All of the menu options are inspired by Chef Mark's favorite summertime dishes then fused with Sapporo's signature Pacific Rim flavors. So be prepared to feast on a variety of seasonal favorites from your choice from 3 different dim sum options to your selection of a main course, and don't forget to leave room for dessert, all prepared with the season's freshest ingredients.

We were even lucky enough to taste some dishes not on the summer menu, so I just had to grab some shots of those as well, so if you're looking to feast outside of the box, there are plenty of options as well. And yes, that is a rose made out of tuna that you see!

Let's begin with the Dim Sum course. Your choice of Tasty Roll (grilled tuna, tempura shrimp, asparagus, and avocado), Hoisin BBQ Ribs (tender pork ribs with a hoisin BBQ glaze; and my personal favorite), or the Wonton Poke Taco (ahi tuna inside of a wonton "taco" shell, with wakame salad and wasabi cream).

And hopefully that first course warms up your decision making skills because you choice of entrees, the Izakaya course, is downright impossible to choose from. First there's the Grilled New York Strip with melty blue-cheese, demi-glaze and seared vegetables. Then there's the Grilled Salmon with a teriyaki glaze, coconut basmati rice, and asparagus. Or your third option is the Panang Curry Shrimp with crispy egg noodles and habachi grilled summer vegetables.

But don't think you're done just yet, because then the friendliest staff in town asks you if you are ready for dessert, which you will excitedly answer "yes" to, and then you get to choose from the Oolong-Poached Asian Pear, served with a side of vanilla ice cream in a cinnamon sugar tuile, or the Banana Spring Roll; a banana wrapped in a wonton wrapper and fried until nice and crispy, served with a side of vanilla ice cream and a caramel raspberry drizzle.

Oookay, so I am just recovered from my food coma, and now writing about it has me itching to go back for more! And the best part about my trip to Sapporo was getting to learn the recipe for their Coconut Basmati Rice; perfect to make at home and pair with chicken, fish, or even grilled vegetables. So run, don't walk to Sapporo to get in on the Summertime Menu while you can, and for those of you not local to the Phoenix area, be sure to try your hand at their Coconut Jasmine Rice!

Coconut Jasmine Rice:

  • 2 cups Jasmine Rice
  • 1/2 cup dry sweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
Wash the rice wall with water in a large fine mesh sieve and drain. In a bowl, mis together the coconut milk with the water. 

Add the rinsed rice and the coconut milk/water to a large 4 quart pot, bring to a simmer, and cover with the pot lid. Cool until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring every few minutes to keep the bottom from sticking.

While the rice is cooking, toast the coconut flakes in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 450 degree F oven, or in a large skillet on your stovetop. Toast for about 5-10 minutes, stirring often to prevent it from burning. Remove from the heat. 

When the rice is done cooking, stir in the toasted coconut flakes and allow to cool for 5 minutes or so before serving. 

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