September 11, 2021

Third time lucky

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We're back at Sushi Saito (鮨 さいとう) for another Saturday lunch. In order to accommodate both My Favorite Cousin and myself, it has to be lunch on Saturdays - which in this case meant booking about 4 months in advance... just as we finished our last lunch here. I have been back for dinner twice since that last lunch, but My Favorite Cousin was happy to wait patiently for this.

We were, once again, seated in front of Kubota-san. Word has it that he will depart in 2022, so I guess we won't have too many more chances to see him here.

As usual, we started with three items of otsumami (おつまみ):

Japanese horsehair crab (毛蟹) - nice acidity from the vinegar to go with the sweetness of the crab.

Monkfish liver (鮟肝) - it's been a while since I last had this here, and it's always been one of my favorite pieces. I could just watch Kubota-san slice into that bloc of liver all day... And the texture is just sooooo smooth. Love the shaved yuzu (柚子) zest providing that citrus fragrance, plus the sweetness from the marinade.

Scallop (帆立貝) - always love the grilled scallop, which came with a little bit of yuzukosho (柚子胡椒) to deliver a little heat.

Now we start with the sushi, of which there are 10.

Stone flounder (石鰈) - with this first piece, the temperature of the shari (シャリ), that first hit of wasabi... This neta (ネタ), though, showed iodine notes like antiseptic.

Greater amberjack (勘八) - the wasabi here just about cleared my nasal passage... Good acidity in the shari.

Sardine (鰯) - from Hokkaido. Surprisingly there were a few pieces of bones left in my neta. Very fatty and tender as expected, but surprising a little crunchy on that first bite. Lovely marinade.

Baby gizzard shad (新子) - O-M-G!!! YASSS!!!! Finally!! On my third visit since the season started, I finally had the chance to taste this! And so, so happy that this was our substitute for lean tuna.

Baby cuttlefish (新烏賊) - this was our substitute for medium fatty tuna. Really interesting texture, as it was clearly aged as expected, but not quite half-liquefied. Firm yet tender. With a few drops of sudachi (酢橘) juice on top, and the wasabi was a lot stronger here.

Abalone (鮑) - our last substitute, for fatty tuna. So, soooo tender. With liver sauce, of course.

Glass shrimp (白海老) - really sweet, even with the nikkiri shoyu (煮切り醤油) on top.

Pink sea urchin (赤雲丹) - from Karatsu (唐津). Really sweet. Ice cream.

Conger eel (穴子) - always beautiful.


Kubota-san laid out the materials for what came next...

Futomaki (太巻) - Sankala calls this the "low carb" version, as there is so little rice in it. Today we've got some monkfish liver inside in addition to the mentaiko (明太子). As always, gone in one bite. So, so satisfying.

Fried egg with seaweed (海苔玉子焼き) - so this was pretty interesting. Somehow I've never had this version with seaweed before.

Egg custard (玉子焼き) - the usual. Really good as always.

Melon - from Shizuoka Prefecture (静岡県).

2016 Cos d'Estournel Blanc - flinty, some green apple notes. Lean, decent level of acidity, crisp but also a little round on the palate.

My greedy relative actually asked for an extra piece of shinko, but I was more stuffed than I had expected. A very, very happy lunch... and very much looking forward to our next adventure in 3 months!

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