June 26, 2021

The second stuffing

Pin It

A mere four hours after lunch, I'm sitting down for another meal big - this time at my favorite sushi restaurant in town.  Our last dinner here was a few months ago, and I was happy to be back at Sushi Saito (鮨 さいとう).  Once again, we had seats in front of Kubota-san.

Northern purple sea urchin with Japanese green sea urchin (北紫雲丹 と 馬糞雲丹) - with kobuzake (昆布酒) which, unfortunately, kinda changes the flavors of the sea urchins... and actually brings them closer together. The green sea urchin has stronger iodine flavors while the purple sea urchin was more elegant, as I would expect.

Bonito (鰹) - the bonito was lightly grilled to impart a smoky flavor, and this was very, very delicious. On top we've also got katsuobushi (鰹節) flakes, myoga (茗荷), spring onions, red perilla leaves, and something that was surprisingly salty.

Octopus (蛸) - always very, very tender... with the exterior half-liquefied.

Abalone (鮑) - with liver sauce. Always wonderfully tender.

As usual, we got a rice ball and extra liver sauce as a second serving. Chomp.

Mantis shrimp (蝦蛄) - this was marinated in sake, which made it sweet and came with a touch of citrus.

Pen shell (平貝) - the slices of pen shell were grilled and came piping hot, and immediately softened the nori (海苔) wrapper. Surprised that Kubota-san sprinkled some ichimi (一味唐辛子) powder to give it a real spicy kick.

The pickled radish was sweet as usual, with the fragrance of yuzu (柚子).

There was a big Japanese lobster (伊勢海老) on the chef's counter, and we could see the raw meat had already been separated from the shell.

Lobster shabu-shabu (伊勢海老  しゃぶしゃぶ) - the chunks of raw lobster were placed inside the bowl, and Kubota-san ladled hot broth over the lobster to cook it - not quite shabu-shabu (しゃぶしゃぶ) style. The sauce was made with lobster tomalley and sea urchin. The starchy broth reminded me of something familiar... perhaps egg drop soup in American Chinese restaurants?

Rosy seabass (喉黒) - I have always loved the grilled rosy seabass here, and tonight was no exception. This one was dry-aged for a week. It's such a beautiful fish, and when it's grilled just right the fat melts... which makes the fish so succulent. Soooo delicious.

We then started on the nigiri...

Marbled flounder (真子鰈) - the shari (シャリ) was definitely firm and warm. The neta (ネタ) was chewy and springy, and definitely felt the sinew.

Chicken grunt (伊佐木) - the neta was pretty thick. Still pretty soft.

Gizzard shad (小鰭) - firm and a little more salty than I had expected. The young gizzard shad (新子) season apparently started yesterday, and I'm sorry I will miss it.

As we don't eat bluefin tuna, the next three pieces were our substitutes:

Glass shrimp (白海老) - substitute for lean tuna (赤身). A few drops of sudachi (酢橘) juice on top of nikiri soy sauce (煮切り醬油). Definitely a little bitter finish.

Clam shell (蛤) - replacement for medium fatty tuna (中トロ). Big and fatty.

Mentaiko kobujime (明太子昆布締め) - replacement for fatty tuna (大トロ). Very salty as expected, and nice and spicy.

Horse mackerel (鯵) - still damn good.

Japanese tiger prawn (車海老) - the tail was very sweet, but the tomalley tasted medicinal like hospital disinfectant...

Northern purple sea urchin (北紫雲丹) - this came from Tachibana Suisan (橘水産) in Hakodate (函館). Like ice cream. Much longer finish, with iodine notes mixed in with sweetness.

Conger eel (穴子) - melt-in-your-mouth, as always.


Futomaki (太巻) - tonight the futomaki had ingredients I don't remember ever seeing before - a fish that I hadn't heard of before, plus some mentaiko.

Egg (玉子焼き) - always my favorite in town.

Tonight we got a couple of Japanese cherries (桜桃) in addition to the usual Musk melon (マスクメロン).

2014 Le Petit Cheval Blanc - lots of green apple and muscat, flinty, good acidity but also some ripeness thanks to the age. A nice, long finish.

We were so, so stuffed at the end of dinner. This was all the fault of the ladies who lunch, and I really felt like there was a bunch of bricks sitting in my stomach. Thankfully I have a couple of days' break in my feeding schedule for me to properly digest...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map