Sushi Restaurant: Sushi Ko 2

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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As I will be away to France from August 27th thru September 7th far away from the sea (in Bourgogne), I paid a visit (with my worse half) to our favourite sushi bar/restaurant Sushi Ko in Shizuoka CIty.

We had the usual fare described in other postings, but three orders stood out:
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1) Hot Scallops Roll which I will dedicate to Allison. The vegetables on top are “menegi”/very thin leeks cut just after sprouting. The scallops are mainly seasoned with mayonnaise, chili pepper and flying fish roe (“tobiko”)

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2) “sanma no nigiri”/mackerel pike topped with grated fresh ginger and chopped thin leeks. Dedicated to Barnaby.

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3) “Ikura no Gunkan”/Salmon roe in gunkan (rice ball iside dry seaweed). Notice the extravagant service! Dedicated to Patrick although I wonder if he would appreciate it!

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Shellfish Series: Hotategai/Scallops

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Hotategai, or Scallops, is another worldwide favourite and also a source of dispute caused by illegal poaching, international or domestic.
The season is summer and the shellfish is sometimes called Akitagai, as of Akita Prefecture.
They are caught off Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures.
The domestic production/catch is over 300.000 tonnes a year, while 400 tonnes are imported from China as whole Scallops and 700 tonnes as the muscle part only (“kaibashira”). Japanese scallops will be significantly larger than the Chinese.

Of course, they are much appreciated as sashimi, but also as sushi:
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(pic taken at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City)

They are also much appreciated cooked/grilled in the shell with just a little shoyu and sake:
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Actually, a good-class sushi restaurants will serve the muscle part as sashimi or sushi, and will serve the rest of the shellfish cooked in light brothe inside the shell later!

Shellfish Series 1: Awabi/Abalone

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Awabi or Abalone is delicacy all over the world, but especially in Japan and China. This unfortunately cause a lot of friction between the latter countries as more and more Chinese are caught inside Japanes waters illegally catching and smuggling abalones irrespective of their kinds or sizes.

The peak season is the summer.
one can roughly divide abalones into three kinds: “Kuro awabi” (“Black Abalone” Picture at top), also called Ongai or Aogai;
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“Ezoawabi, also called Mengai; “Madakaawabi”.
Kuroawabi is best as sushi or sashimi.
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Others are probably best cooked.
Incidentally for all the Chinese illegal poaching, Japan imports a lot from China and Australia.
As the size does not have any incidence on the taste, the bigger, the cheaper (proportionally!).
Abalones come from Chiba, Hokkaido and Fukushima Prefectures, although plenty are found off Shizuoka Prefectures shores

Seasonal Fishes 9: Shimaaji/Striped-Horsemackerel

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Shimaaji, or Striped Horsemackerel is one variety of Aji/Horsemackerel-Saurel.
Although the season is said to be in Summer, the taste varies little with the time of the year.
Striped Horsemackerel caught by anglers off the Izu Peninsula are said to be the best in Japan.
It is known under the other names of Ookami, Kose and Katsuoaji.
It is very popular as sashimi:
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or as tataki (tartare), my favourite, with a dash of fresh grated ginger:
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Of course, as a sushi, it has many lovers:
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The best sushi restaurants will prepare the sashimi or sushi from live specimen swimming in their tanks and kater served the bones and head deep-fried.

Recently, breeding the fish from their eggs off Chichijima Island has been successful, meaning more on our plates in the future!

Seasonal Fishes 8: Suzuki/Seabass

Please check Shizuoka Gourmet Blog for all the gastronomy in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Suzuki or seabass is a fish so popular with anglers all over the world that a lot of people forget it is an extremely popular for sashimi and sushi in Japan.
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(Pic taken at Tomii Restaurant in Shizuoka City)

Like any other fish, it bears many names: Madaka, Hakura, Shiibasu.
In the Kanto area, including Shizuoka Prefecture, it is called Seigo when under 25cm. At 3 years of age, when it has attained a length near 60cm, it is called Fukko or Suzuki.
In Kansai it is called Seigo, Hane, and Suzuki.
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As you can see above the colour and texture are slightly different (Fukko is on the right)

A summer fish par excellence, it is caught mainly in Central and western japan.
The bigger and the older the fish, the better it is considered. After a decline in the 1980’s, catches have increased recently, reaching more than 9,300 tonnes after 2000.

Of course it is a fish you can appreciated cooked or simmered, or grilled,although it becomes fragile upon being cooked.