Chef Johnnie Yip at Yanyu and Bill Tu, the executive chef at Spices (both Cleveland Park restaurants are under joint ownership) joined forces in the kitchen at Yanyu for their preparation: a lobster salad with sunumono dressing. Their dish was the simplest and quickest of all. And they even used the packaged slaw mix.
Again, the whole lobster was taken apart, and its meat separated into tail, knuckle and claw. The corn was steamed, set aside to cool, then removed from the cob and mixed with a little melted butter and salt.
Hong Kong-born Yip (pictured to the right of Tu) then transformed the slaw mix by combining it with shreds of raw carrot and green mango, gradually adding a traditional Japanese vinaigrette dressing (rice vinegar, soy sauce, Japanese mayonnaise and sugar).
For the more substantial lobster salad, Yip and Tu decided to use the larger chunks of lobster and the whole claw meat with a dressing of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, chili soy bean paste, shredded scallions, cilantro and ginger. "Now you can get [in the Washington area] almost 85 percent of the products you could get at home," said Tu, an ethnic Chinese from Vietnam.
After selecting a square blue plate, Yip positioned a small portion of slaw in one corner.
By now the corn had absorbed the butter and salt, and Yip placed it in the middle of the plate. He placed the lobster salad on top of the corn, lifting up the full-sized claw meat for a sculptural effect, finally adding two standing stalks of flowering chive.
For Yu, the plate wasn't perfect yet. He pushed the chives to a firmer stance, and then very gently positioned individual kernels of corn across the plate. The yellow accents transformed its appearance. "When you decorate the plate, you want it to be balanced," he said. "You don't want to leave everything in the center."
-- Judith Weinraub