The Mystery of the Hon Shemiji Mushrooms

by Ryan @ MRPR on April 21, 2010

In a post yesterday, Short Order, a blog which isn’t averse to actually picking up the phone and *speaking* with a restaurant owner or chef (they’re not one of those dreaded “aggregators”), reported that Chowdown Grill, the forthcoming creation from BLT Steak ex-pat Joshua Marcus, will be opening mid-May and will be serving some crazy mushroom (the elusive “honjamishi mushroom”) “that doesn’t even exist on the Internet.”

Well, that can’t be right.  I mean, everything exists on the Internet.

And as I began my Wednesday morning ritual (eight KFC double downs and a read of Sam Sifton’s weekly restaurant review), imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the following: “The escolar, with basil seeds, a Thai basil foam and hon shemiji, a nutty mushroom rich in umami that performs nicely against the oil-rich fish.”

Holy Hon Shemiji!  The very elusive fungus that even Google, which has 243,000 results for “white truffle” and 33,800 results for “unicorn meat,” could not find.

Anyhow, to make a long story short, here’s the Wikipedia article on the ‘shroom and, with the proper spelling, you can find about 54,000 links online.  So much for a magic mushroom.  I’ll stick to the one that makes me trippy (a/k/a baby portobellos).

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