#2. Uni Spaghetti at Cafe Hiro

uni_pasta_bowl.jpg
Edwin Goei
We're one spot away to the #1 dish on our list of 100 Favorite Dishes. Stay tuned for that tomorrow. Then, next week, make sure to pick up a copy of our Best of OC 2010 when it hits the newsstands Thursday, October 14!

#2. Uni Spaghetti at Cafe Hiro

Uni, or sea urchin, or more specifically the reproductive organs of the sea urchin, is one of those delicacies that, once you learn to love it, you love it for life. Crack open the sputnik-like creatures, get past the spikes that make it look like a medieval weapon, and you find one of the most naturally sweet things the ocean produces.

The taste is akin to the richest egg yolk, an orange-glob of almost indescribable flavor, except that it's like sea urchin. It has a texture that is texture-less. It's cold, wet, and sexy--the sea-water saliva of a mermaid's kiss (Yes, I lifted that last part from my own haiku). Once you've eaten it raw at a sushi bar, cuffed around a belt of nori or laid down on a ball of rice, try it at Cafe Hiro, where it's dissolved into sauce for pasta.

It seems impossible, but having it this way, coating strands of al dente spaghetti, extends a preciousness that usually only lasts a fleeting bite.

Italians on the country's coastal region of Puglia know it as spaghetti ai ricci di mare; but in OC, the best place to slurp the dish is Cafe Hiro, a Japanese/Italian/French bistro owned and operated by Chef Hiro Ohiwa, a fusionist who also adds a crowning dollop of wasabi and a few wispy shreds of nori. He also supplies some bread--bread you will need to wipe down the bowl once you are done.

Cafe Hiro, 10509 Valley View St., Cypress, CA 90630, (714) 527-6090

The rest of the list!

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#21. Falafels at Kareem's Restaurant
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#15. Grilled Steak and Lobster Mashed Potatoes at Mastro's
#14. Strawberry Croissant at Cream Pan
#13. Fresh Sangak at Wholesome Choice
#12. Banh It Kep Banh Ram at Ngu Binh
#11. Banana Blossom Salad at Xanh Bistro
#10. Any Ice Cream at Stricklands Ice Cream
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#8. Vietnamese Ceviche at S Fine Dining
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#6. The Whole Sha-bang Shrimp at Boiling Crab
#5. Coconut Sambol at Wadiya
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#3. Smoked Salmon and Eggs at Break of Dawn

Location Info

Venue

Map

Cafe Hiro

10509 Valley View St., Cypress, CA

Category: Restaurant

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