March 17, 2019

Tokyo hop March 2019: a question of time

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We didn't have to think about what to have for breakfast when we got out of bed this morning.  It was sitting in a box on the floor by the door of our hotel room.

Mrs. Oshima had suggested last night that we put our sandwiches near the door, as the hotel fridge would no doubt help to dry out and harden the bread.  Given the higher fat content, we chose to put the sirloin steak sandwich by the door and consume it this morning.  And what a glorious morning it was!  We had a great view of the Imperial Palace while comping down on this beauty.

Of course, it would have been better to have eaten the sandwich while it was still warm last night, but there was simply no room in our stomachs.  The tomato and onion sauce had made the thick slices of toast a little soggy, but the upside was that the flavors were now fully-infused into the bread.

Lunch today was nowhere near our hotel.  Sushi Kimura (すし 喜邑) is located in Futago Tamagawa (二子玉川) in the largely residential Setagaya Ward.  In fact, the station used to be called Futago Tamagawaen (二子玉川園) when I was going to school there in Tokyo in the early 80s.  The route from the station to the restaurant took me in the opposite direction from the one I would have taken to go to school everyday.

We sat down at the 10-seat L-shaped counter, and after we ordered our drinks, our food started to arrive.

Roughscale sole (鮫鰈) - a little overcooked towards the center of the fish, but the wing (縁側) was very nice and jiggly.

Oyster soba (牡蠣そば) - the oyster was so fatty and plump.

Shirako risotto (白子リゾット) - FISH CUM!!!! WTF!!!!  How did this happen??!!  When I booked my seats through Tableall, did I not specify that I don't eat shirako (白子) or beetroot???

As it turns out, when Tableall confirmed my booking, they had asked me to fill out a form to confirm my dietary preferences.  I guess I kinda ignored that request - thinking that I had already told them when I first requested the booking.  So the restaurant did not receive my list of forbidden ingredients.

So... I looked at it for about a minute or so, and decided to swallow a spoonful.  At least there was a sprinkling of pepper flakes on top to add some fragrance... so that I didn't have to smell cum...

Marinated raw blue swimming crab and sea urchin (渡蟹  雲丹 の塩辛) - normally I avoid raw crabs like the plague, and the two times I've had it in recent memory have both been at Japanese restaurants.  This was pretty alcoholic, and spicy with black pepper.

Blowfish soup with blowfish milt (河豚スープと白子) - FISH CUM AGAIN!!!  This time it was the whole sperm sac dropped into a bowl of soup.  To be honest, the soup itself - no doubt made with blowfish bones and all - was delicious.  And the thin, gelatinous skin of the blowfish was pretty nice.

We then started with the sushi portion of the meal:

Shari with nori (シャリと海苔) - starting with this to get us used to the warmth and the acidity of the shari (シャリ).

Cherry salmon (桜鱒), aged 2 weeks - the texture here was starting to get mushy.

Japanese halfbeak (細魚) - pretty thick neta (ネタ). Thought I felt a little crunch on the first bite. The shari was still a little starchy and hard in the middle.

Splendid alfonsino (金目鯛) - very good texture.

Thread-sail filefish (皮剥) - the soft fish was sliced very thin, and there was a piece of the fish's liver between the fish and the rice.  The liver was also liquefied... and so creamy.

Horse mackerel (鯵), aged 4 days - with some minced ginger and diced spring onions under the neta.  The shari fell apart while I tried to pick this up.  Flavor-wise this may have been a little more fishy from the aging.

Surf clam (北寄貝) - this was a huge piece, and surprisingly much more tender than usual, with a slight bit of crunch on the side with the smooth membrane.  I could really taste the warmth of the shari on this.

Hokkai shrimp (縞海老), aged 4 days - the color was clearly darker from aging, and the texture was definitely softer as the cellar structure was broken down a little.  Flavors were stronger with the soy sauce.

I noticed that one of the fish in the box had a greyish color on the outside, and figured it's gotta have gone through some extended aging.

Yellowtail (鰤), aged 2 months - with spring onion whites.  Very, very soft.

Sardine (鰯) - a pretty big piece.  Lots of acidity here as it was marinated in vinegar like gizzard shad (小肌), and surprisingly a little firm still with the skin.

Swordfish (目梶木) - obviously gone through extended aging, as the texture was very, very soft and mushy.

We got a little bowl of rice, which had been mixed with some diced bonito (鰹) cubes, sesame, chopped chives, and myoga (茗荷).

Finally, a small piece of egg sponge (卵焼き).  This was, in fact, the smallest piece I have ever received from a sushi chef in my life.

I didn't want to drink too much at lunch, so I just ordered 1 go of sake.

Biden Aijo Yamahai Junmai Ginjo (美田 愛醸 山廃純米吟醸) - seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 60%.  Very smooth on the palate, very elegant, but not at all bland.  Nose had a deeper, fermented note.  Sweet on the attack but gets spicy on the back.

This was a very interesting experience, and I finally got a little taste of what extended aging can do to raw fish.  We thanked Kimura-san for a delicious lunch, but told him we needed to rush back and make our train to the airport...

Once we were airborne and dinner time came around, I pulled out our box of tenderloin steak sandwich (ヒレステーキサンド) from Shima (西洋料理 島).

Even though it's now been nearly 24 hours since this was prepared, and we were eating it cold, it was still miles better than the surprisingly crappy airplane food that Japan Airlines decided to serve us.  Methinks I should make sure to take this on the plane with me on all trips to Tokyo going forward!

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