August 3, 2008

Another sushi joint

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Last night I paid a visit to Sushi Hiro with a couple of colleagues. This establishment has been around for a few years, and in general it is excellent value for its lunch sushi set, but I always felt it was mediocre for dinner. Nevertheless, I was happy to give it another try.

They were obviously doing well enough to take over the floor immediately above their original location, and the space now includes tatami rooms.  We sat at the counter and asked for omakase - knowing what this would do to our bill at the end of the evening. I must say I don't have many regrets for doing this.

As usual one starts with sashimi. There was the usual selection of fish, including a very nice piece of o-toro. We were also served a gigantic oyster from Hokkaido - one of the largest I have had in a very long time. The oyster had been sliced in half, and even then each half required at least 2 big bites...The oyster was obviously very fleshy and creamy, and yet there was enough brine to give the creaminess a good balance.

The botan ebi (牡丹海老) was pretty large and reasonably sweet, but unfortunately not live. We also had some grilled fish between the sashimi and sushi - a small ayu (鮎) and a reasonably large aji (鯵). I had meant to ask the chef to serve us the aji as a tataki, then deep-fry the bones. But oh well... it's pretty good as a grilled fish, too.

Sushi was pretty decent, and towards the end we started ordering our own favorites. The uni (雲丹) was pretty fresh and we were served slightly larger and fresher pieces. I got a pretty large piece of unagi (鰻) which was coated with sweet soy sauce, and two of us shared a large and fat scallop (帆立) that was just so fresh and sweet. I ordered some ikura (いくら), thinking that they wouldn't have the untreated sujiko (筋子)... The ikura was so-so, but just as I finished my piece I noticed that the chef takes out a plastic container and out comes a chunk of sujiko... Aaarrgh!

We were all pretty full, and I settled for a Japanese white peach while the ladies chose peach sorbet. As expected, the peach was very ripe - sweet and juicy - and reminded me of the peach I had at the market in Bukhara. Wonderful stuff.

I brought along a bottle of Dassai Junmai Daiginjo 23% (獺祭「純米大吟醸」磨き二割三分). This fruity and slightly sweet (甘口) sake is one of my favorites, with the rice grains having been grown down to only 23% of the original weight. The nose was very fragrant with notes of banana and apricot. At a rating of +5 (日本酒度) it was nicely balanced between sweet and dry on the palate.

The bill came out to be just less than double of what I thought it would be before dinner started, but understandable since we chose omakase and had many yummy pieces. It doesn't quite measure up to my favorite Imamura (今村), but nevertheless is another nice place for sushi near my home.

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