Tag Archives: Japanese Cuisine

Sushi Restaurant: Local Fish at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City!

Service: Pro and very friendly
Facilities: Very clean. Excellent toilets
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Great variety of seafood from Shizuoka Prefecture and the rest of Japan. Great list of sake

Shizuoka City is located right in the middle of Suruga Bay in Shizuoka prefecture, a bay known in Japan for producing the largest number of seafood varieties in the whole country!
If you happen to come to Shizuoka City, don’t hesitate and visit Sushi Ko in Aoba Koen/Aoba Park Street in Aoi ku, Shizuoka City!
There you will be hard-tried to sample all that is on the menu! And this at reasonables prices clearly shown for all to see!

Now what did we have during our last visit the other day?

Negi toro/葱トロ appetizer coming with the first drink!

Very fat katsuo/鰹/bonito sashimi!

Traditionally served with grated ginger, chopped thin leeks and sliced red onion. You may also order grated or sliced garlic!

Now what is the chef trying to catch alive inside the tank?

We had ordered some fresh Shima Aji/縞鯵/Striped Horse Mackerel!

Beautiful Shima Aji/縞鯵/Striped Horse Mackerel sashimi plate!

The grilled tail from the same fish with grated daikon and lemon!

Kaki Aburi/牡蠣炙り/Seared oysters!

Beautifully sliced cucumber!

Tachiuo Aburi/太刀魚炙り/Seared scabbard fish nigiri with momijiorosi/紅葉下ろし/grated daikon mith chili pepper and ponzu!

Piri kara Hotate Maki/ピリ辛帆立巻/spicy scallops Roll!

Piri Pon Kara Maguro/ピりポン辛鮪/Deep-fried tuna cubes served with momiji oroshi and ponzu!

Magurozuke/鮪漬け/Marinated tuna nigiri. A must!

Another chef caught a live lobster for our neighbors!

The perfect vegan sushi: Menegi/芽葱/Scallion Sprouts Nigiri!

Itaria Maki/イタリア巻/Italian Roll for the Missus: leeks, squid and spicy pickled cod roe!

And Ankimo Gunkan/あんきも軍艦/Frogfish Liver Paste Gunkan for me!
Note that the frogfish/monkfish liver was first steamed in sake!

To be continued…… You bet!

SUSHI KO
420-0032 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 2-3-1 (Aoba Park Street)
Tel.: 054-251-9701
Business Hours: 17:00~25:00. 17:00~23:00 (Sundays)
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (in Japanese)
Smoking allowed. Private room can be arranged for non-smoking (4 people)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Sushi Restaurant: Myouken in Gotemba City!

Service: Very friendly and attentive
Facilities & Equipment: Great general cleanliness. Superb washroom.
Prices: Reasonable~slightly expensive
Strong points: Oshizushi, local sake, traditional Japanese gastronomy.

The other day when I went to interview a local soy sauce maker in Gotemba City (article coming soon) I found myself with plenty of time at noon and decided to explore the vicinity of the Gotemba JR Station!

A few minutes walk away from the station I found this sign announcing Myouken/妙見, a local sushi restaurant…

Gotemba City at the foot of Mount Fuji is quite far from the sea, but you never know, so let’s have better look…

Founded in 1935! Now, that sounds as a venerable establishement but it had obviously been recently redecorated…

I had noticed one very important detail which encouraged me to enter the restaurant… but let’s take a picture first!

Remarkable decoration of the “lobby” created with real local rice stalks!

Now, these are delicious-looking take-aways!
Remember that Gotemba City is famous for its outlets with a lot of visitors from Tokyo!

Modern seating at the wide counter!

Beautiful Japanese tatami mat room!
Actually, there are more private rooms, some of which can be made non-smoking!

The lobby decoration has the added advantage to offer some privacy even at the central table I had chosen!

The all-important detail which encouraged me to discover the restaurant: Myoken has its own sake brewed by Takashima Brewery in Numazu City!

Now, apart of the delicious sake, what did I have for my first visit?
An enormous Hamaguri/蛤/Clam soup!

I opted for the sushi lunch set and one more local specialty!

The local specialty, a must: Fujinomiya no Benimasu Bougata Oshi Sushi/富士宮市産の紅鱒棒形押し寿司!
Rainbow Trout from Fujinomiya City served as pressed sushi, whole!
The founder of Myouken had come all the way from Nara City in 1935, a city famous for its pressed sushi!

For a better look!
I ate the lot, head included (I was complimented for that last detail!)!

The sushi lunch set!

From left to right: Chutoro Maguro/Tuna Chutoro, Tennen Hirame/Wild Sole-Flounder, Maguro Akami/Tuna lean Part and Aji/Horse Mackerel!

From left to right: Uni Gunkan/Sea Urchin as gunkan/mothership sushi, Ikura Gunkan/Salmon’s Roe Gunkan, Akagai Nigiri/Blood Clam Nigiri and Ebi Nigiri/Slightly seared Prawn Nigiri!

And for dessert: Local Japanese-style Yuzu/Lime Jelly!

Simple but perfect dessert!

As I have to visit Gotemba City regularly, expect another visit!

MYOUKEN
412-0043 Gotemba City, Shinbashi, 1983 (2 minutes walk from Gotemba Station Mount Fuji facing exit)
Tel. & fax: 0550-82-0142
Opening hours: 09:00~14:00, 15:30~20:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Credit Cards OK
Car park available

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Sushi: Wagyu Chirahizushi by the Dragon (the real one!)

The other day when the Missus/Dragon cooked her karaage chicken for the family who had come r place she also prepared chirashizushi/decoration susi as well!
The little difference was that when she had asked me to buy some ood beef for another dish found out I had bought some extravagant wagyu beef!

As the Japanese, especially the Dragon’s family, cannot conceive a meal without rice she decided to make a special sushi with wagyu.
She prepared the usual sushi rice (I did have to help with stirring/cutting the rice once steamed and addd with rice vinegar!). Her proportions arefor 2 large tablespoons and a little more of rice vinegar for 1 go/Japanese rice cup.

While the rice was steaming she cut the wagyu beef into small thin strips and fried them in soy sauce, sake and mirin. Once cooked she let it cool completely.
She prepared some sweet egg soboro/fine Japanese scrambled eggs.
Once the rice was ready she added the wagyu beef, finely chopped konbu seaweed, egg soboro and finely sliced cucumber and mixed the lot inside the large wooden sushi vessel.

She topped the whole with plenty of fresh daikon sprouts for decoration and balance.
The sushi vessel was placed in the middle of the table and people served themselves directly for it!

A good idea for a party?
A good accompaniment for a BBQ?

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Sushi: Shizuoka Chirashi Zushi at Ekimae Matsuno Sushi Restaurant!

Shizuoka Chirashi Zuzhi!

Service: Very friendly, attentive and informative
Facilities: Overall clean if a bit old-fashioned
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Mainly local fish and seafood. Local sake. Always ready to improvise!

Chirashi Zushi/散らし寿司 means “Decoration Sushi” in Japanese.
It can be considered as one of the oldest ways to make sushi in Japan!
The great advantage is the total freedom of design and inspiration!

Last Monday after having tasted many sake at the Shizuoka Sake: 2012 Shizuoka Prefecture New Sake Tasting Annual Meet, I and my good friend Marcus Grandon decided we had to eat something to help digest all that sake before we resumed work!
I had been wanting to eat Ekimae Matsunosushi Restaurant’s Shizuoka Chirashizushi lunch for a long time and this was the right occasion!

It is a full lunch indeed with small cockles miso soup.

Also featured are ginger and daikon pickles and a small dessert under the form of home-made kumquat compote!

The Shizuoka Shirashi zushi plate!
Let’s have a closer look and see what we can recognize!

Tuna, tamagoyaki/Jpaanese omelette, Soboro/sweet crumbled omelet, dried sakura ebi/Cherry shrimps, nori/dried seweed.

Tuna, shirasu/boiled sardine whiting, tamagoyaki/omelet/ anago/conger eel, shimesaba/pickled mackerel, dried sakura ebi.

Tuna, freshly grated wasabi, shirasu, tamagoyaki, anago, shimesaba, soboro and nori!

And it is a different offering every day!

To be followed…

EKIMAE MATSUNO SUSHI/駅前松乃寿
Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Koya Machi, 3-3 (Just in front of Shizuoka JR Railway Station
Tel.: 054-252-0123
Business hours: 11:00~21:00
Closed on Wednesdays and 3rd Tuesday
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Japanese Gastronomy: Sushi & Sashimi – Eat Local!

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Saurel pike/Aji from Suruga Bay, Shizuoka Prefecture

Very few people will disagree with the notion that Japan is the ideal place to discover and savour sushi and sashimi in the whole world. Nevertheless, there are a few rules of the thumb to respect, even in this gastronomic paradise.
The overriding rule is that you should try and eat only local fish or seafood.
Tsukiji might be considered a sushi paradise by Tokyoites (it has or will be moved to another location), but the cheap prices enjoyed by tourists cannot conceal the reality: the fish and seafood are “imported” from all over Japan and beyond!
More than often, Edomae (Tokyo) sushi is nothing but a clever way to “dress up” ingredients to lure officionados (and customers) into believing they are eating top quality sushi (with the consequent prices).
Now, if you have the chance and time to explore Japan beyond Tokyo, you will discover an unfathomable treasure trove of gastronomic pleasure and knowledge!
After all, this country is a vast archipelago stretched across greatly different seas and climates, making for a diversity difficult to equal.
So, even if you cannot possibly explore all the shores of this nation, make a point to learn about the food available wherever you choose to stay.
The same goes for residents, not only for their own sake, but for that of their visitors and friends!

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Sushi set with fish all caught in Suruga Bay, Shizuoka Prefecture

You also ought to do some homework. Sushi chefs worthy of their salt will be only too happy to answer questions to genuinely interested customers and come up with revelations of their own.
As an example to illustrate the need for some basic knowledge, in Hokkaido “oyakodon” (“parent and child”) is not cooked chicken and omelette on a bowl of rice, but raw salmon and its roe spread on top the same bowl of rice!
Likewise, the same fish will more than often be sold under a myriad of names.
Many morsels will not be found anywhere else suc as “sakura ebi/cherry shrimps” and fresh”shirasu/sardine whiting” in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Sashimi in most cases has to be perfectly fresh as typified by “kubiore saba” in Yakushima Island where fishermen break the neck (“kubiore”) of mackerels (“saba”) to preserve their quality upon catching. The same fish will be served within a few hours, or less, on the local tables.
On the other hand, tuna sashimi is best consumed first thawed and then ripened for a few days in a refrigerator.
In Hokkaido, large shrimps, especially “botan ebi” will be served only raw, whereas “kuruma ebi” will be first boiled in other regions.

If you ask for “tataki”, make sure it means the whole fish, especially “aji/mackerel pike” that will be served finely cut as tartare atop the dressed fish. And if the fish is really fresh such small and medium fish will have their bones and heads served deep-fried for a beautiful crispy snack!

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Flying Fish/Tobiuo sashimi from Yakushima Island

On the other hand, sushi follows different rules.
Fish and seafood placed on “donburi” (bowl) are usually of the freshly brought variety but fish served as nigiri is prepared in a different way.
The greatest sushi (and this cannot be done in Tsukiji!) are made with fish which has been gutted and cleaned live within seconds, then dressed into strips/fillets left to mature in a refrigerator on clean cloth/kitchen paper. This can be done only with fish caught locally!
The same obviously goes with shellfish and other marine ceatures: One cannot sample better “uni/sea urchin” away from Hokkaido or sakura ebi from Shizuoka.

Vegan and vegetarians, upon finding a restaurant willing to satisfy their priorities should also ask for food grown locally, a search easier than one might think at first as there are many non-meat eaters in this mainly Buddhist country.
The same vegetables will make for the perfect combination when associated with local fish!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Sushi: Kawahagi-Filefish Sashimi & Sushi at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City!

Service: Very friendly and always accommodating
Facilities: Great overall cleanliness. Superb washroom
Prices: Reasonable
Strong points: Great use of local seafood. Will try hard to accommodate any requests!

Kawahagi, or Filefish or Leather jacket in the Land of Oz, must be one of the most underrated fish in the World!
Some people go as far as to say that penny for penny it is worth more than overpriced globefish/fugu!

As we sat at Sushi Ko, our favorite Sushi Restaurant in Shizuoka City we noticed “Kawahagi Tsukuri”/カワハギ造り/Filefish sashimi Plate written on the small board featuring the “specials” of the day!

The live filefish taken out of the tank by the chef!
The fish had been caught off Sagara in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Sushi Ko has a great list of local sake, but I had to order one from Masu Ichi Brewery in Shizuoka City as this might well be the last bottle as the brewery closed down following the untimely death of its owner/master brewer. An incredible loss for the Shizuoka Sake World!

Tuna Tartare as the snack for the first drink!

The filefish sashimi plate!

You roll the fine slices of filefish around some thin leeks before dipping it in its sauce!

The dip sauce!
It was made with the fresh raw liver of the filefish finely chopped and mixed with ponzu!
A true delicacy!

The chef had kept apart a little sashimi and liver for two more morsels!

A nigiri with chopped thin leeks under the fish topped with its liver!

A gunkan/”mother ship” with the sashimi topped with its liver and chopped thin leeks!

And the deep-fried jowls of the fish you eat with your fingers (that you lick later!) to cap it all!
Have I convinced you to look for that fish next time you see it on a market?

“Pon kara maguro”/deep-fried tuna cubes with grated daikon seasoned with chili pepper!

Of course the filefish was only the beginning of our dinner.
So for the record here we go including the above picture!

Maguro Zuke/Marinated lean part of tuna!

Hotate/Scallops!

Amaebi/Sweet shrimps!
(sorry for the fuzzy pic, as my mind was getting a bit fuzzy with all the sake!)

Geso karaage/Deep-fried squid tentacles!

The same, to eat with your fingers!

Ankimo/Frogfish liver or “Japanese foie gras”!

Anago to kyuri maki/Broiled Conger eel and cucumber roll!

Ika shiso to mentaiko maki/Squid, perilla leaf and cod roe pickled in chili pepper roll!

Shirako yaki/Baked cod sperm sacs!

Rainbow California Roll!

Containing: avocado, tamagoyaki/Japanese omelet, salmon, salmon roe, prawn, cucumber and akami/lean tuna! Seven of them of course!

Kanpyou maki, the roll for the vegetarians and vegans!
Kanpyou is made with the shavings of a gourd, first dried and then marinated in sweet sauce!

Asari miso shiru/Miso soup with cockles!

To be continued…

SUSHI KO
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho. 2-3-1 (Aoba Koen)
Tel.: 054-2512898
Business Hours: 17:00~25:00. 17:00~23:00 (Sundays)
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Sashimi Plate at Uzu (‘10/02/25)

Service: excellent, easy-going and very friendly
Facilities: great washroom, great cleanliness overall
Prices: very reasonable, good value.
Strong points: Very fresh local ingredients especially organic vegetables extensively used.

Just had our regular visit, the Missus and I last night at Uzu, the talk of the town (on TV nest Sunday!) as far as Izakayas arec ocncerned in this city.

Apart of supremely extravagant vegatables and meat, one can expect the best quality sashimi there, too. And most of it local!

From right to left:
-Isaki/Chicken Grunt (what a name!), both as sashimi and seared sashimi/aburi sashimi (Suruga Bay).
-Kihada Magura/Albacore Tuna
-Madako/True Octopus
-Grated fresh wasabi from up the Abe River, Shizuoka City.
-Benimasu/Salmon Trout from Fijnomya City.

A real treat!

UZU
Shizuoka City, Otowa-cho, 3-18
Tel.: 054-249-6262
Business hours: 17:00=23:00
Closed on Mondays and first Tuesday
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK

RECOMMENDED RELATED SITES:
Warren Bobrow, Bread + Butter, Zoy Zhang, Hungry Neko, Think Twice, Frank Fariello, Mangantayon, Hapabento, Elinluv Tidbit Corner, Tokyo Terrace, Maison de Christina, Chrys Niles,Lexi, Culinary Musings, Wheeling Gourmet, Social Culinaire, Sushi Nomads, Cook, Eat & Share, Gourmet Fury, 5 Star Foodie, Easy Does It Recipes, Oyster Culture, Once A Chef

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi

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日本語のブログ
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Sashimi Feast at Ekimae Matsuno Sushi

Now, what makes sushi restaurants of so high level in Shizuoka?
Tokyoites will say that they have Tsukiji and that is enough…
Have you ever wondered how fresh fish, shellfish and others are “fresh” there?
“Fresh fish” at all costs has become a very misleading notion.
The fact it is alive and swimming does not mean it is fresh.

All fish must be caught first and depending on their kind have to be either eaten right away or…
For example seabreams should be kept at least a day alive in an aquarium/tub to get them rid of unwanted parasites inside their innards. But at the same time keeping them alive longer will result in a loss of proteins and fat with the consequence of a fast quality decline.
Tuna has to be blooded very precisely first, then frozen. Once thawed and cut it is usually left at least a week for maturing/ripening before reaching the perfect taste.
On the other hand, squids must be dressed and eaten alive (still moving!).
It is a “case by case” (said in English) as explained by the chef at Ekimae Matsuno Sushi in Shizuoka City.
Founded in 1930, the oldest sushi restaurant know what they are talking about!

Bachi Maguro/目鉢鮪/Big-eyed Tuna from Ogasawara/Shizuoka Prefecture, Tairagai/玉珧/Pen shell from Aichi Prefecture, Sayori/細魚/Japanese Halfbeak from Suruga Bay/Shizuoka Prefecture

The key to appreciating top-class sashimi at all times and seasons is to savour it locally. Only then will you be sure of its origin and quality.
Naturally you must also discover a trustworthy sushi restaurant and chef. Not very difficult here where the competition is intense!

Tachiuo/太刀魚/Scabbard fish partly seared/aburi/炙り, Aori Ika/障泥烏賊/Bigfin Reef Squid rolled with seaweed/nori/海苔, and Madai/真鯛/Japanese red seabream, red seabream snapper. All from Suruga Bay in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Ekimae matsuno Sushi pride themselves in providing Shizuoka Prefecture fare whenever possible, including Japanese sake (all from Shizuoka Prefecture!), and they make no bones (fish bones!LOL) about that! Shy and reserved, they will quickly warm up to your questions if asked in a gentle enough manner good manners!).

I sudenly felt an urgent longing for more Sayori/細魚/Japanese Halfbeak after having sampled it in the first sashimi set. It is such a great and delicate fish and ripened to perfection as a whole fish inside the refrigerated display window. It canbe manipulated in all kinds of designs.

Sorry for the fuzzy pic. I’m still getting used to the newly discovered possibilities of my old mobile phone camera (up to 2 MB).

Kawahagi no Kimo Ae/カワハギの肝和え/Thread-Sail File Fish sashimi seasoned with its Liver. From Suruga Bay, Shizuoka Prefecture.

Now, here is a fish you must eat as fresh as possible!
Take it out alive (caught the day before maximum) out of the aquarium, dress it quickly, clean the liver, and serve the fish cut either in thin strips or slices with its liver chopped into a dip sauce, or season the cut fish directly (once cut) with its live, and serve it with chopped scallions/thin leeks and grated wasabi!
Ah, I forgot to mention that wasabi is from Shizuoka Prefecture (80% of the total national crop!)! Actually I’m repeating that every time! LOL

The chef had the grace (and pride) of showing me this (small, although reaching more than 20 cm!) Aori Ika/障泥烏賊/Bigfin Reef Squid live and kicking before preparing it for me!

It was still moving (I mean the very strips) under my chopsticks.
The chef gently asked me to taste it first as it is with nothing.
Incredible! Crunchy, not the merest hint of “fishy” taste. An experience!
Then he asked me to try it with a little salt only. Another discovery!

Last, the chef brought an enormous fresh egg yolk in a small crystal bowl and invited me to add a little soy sauce to it before dipping the squid in it. You must try that!

This was lunch and I am not eating much then as a rul these days.
I decided to skip the sushi for another (near) day and asked for tamagoyaki/卵焼き/japanese Omelette as dessert.
It came in two varieties:
the thin slices were eggs mixed with fish paste and the other were plain tamagoyaki fried with shiso.

Now, how much did I pay for all that?
60 US $!
Have I convinced you?

Ekimae Matsuno Sushi/駅前松乃鮨
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Koya Machi, 9-3 (in front of Shizuoka City JR Station, North Side)
Tel.: 054-251-0123
Business hours: 11:00~21:00
Closed on Wednesdays and third Tuesday
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Seasonal Fishes 11: saba/Mackerel

Mackerel or saba is a fish eaten over the whole Northern Hemisphere and does come under many varieties and names.
In Japan it is mainly called “Saba”, “Masaba” or “Sekisaba”.
In this country it is mainly caught off Oita, Saga Prefecture, although quite a few are caught off our coasts, especially off Yaizu.
They feed on plankton mainly.

They are prepared and cooked in many guises. In France, my birthplace, they are steamed and then pickled in white wine and spices before being canned.

naturally tinned tuna is available in Japan,too!

In Northern Europe they also eaten half raw as smorgasbrod and pickled fish.

It can be appreciated as sashimi, but it must be absolutely fresh and is best served with grated fresh ginger and lemon.
As far as sushi is concerned, “masaba” variety is best

Saba Konbujime nigiri.

It is especially popular as “oshizushi” (pressed sushi).

Double oshizushi!

My preference goes for Saba konbujime.

Saba Bogata

The mackerel is kept inside a variety of wet seaweed for an hour or so before put whole on top of a long “bar” of rice, then cut to size.

Saba Heshiko Zuke.
Saba/Mackerel has been a staple fish in Japan since immemorial times.
One way to conserve it for better transport away from the shores was “Saba Heshiko zuke”, that is pickled in miso and sake white lees.

Saba/mackerel is easily grilled, either on the stick as above,

or grilled and served cut in slices.

The same grilled saba can be served as oshizushi/presed sushi!

Saba can be also served to a tatsty crispiness by deep-frying it!

Or simmered the Japanese way with miso, sake, soy sauce, ginger and mirin!

A very versatile fish!

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Seasonal Fishes 10: Sanma/Mackerel Pike

“Sanma” or Mackerel Pike usually comes on our plates with the advent of Autumn, but can be found until mid-winter in Shizuoka Prefecture
Known under other names such “Saira” or “Banjyo”, it is a fish with red meat rich with proteins.
In season, the flesh is fatty and sweet.

Its Japanese name 秋刀魚 means Autumn Sword Fish!

It is mainly caught off the north eastern shores of Japan as the fish swims down from Hokkaido.
But the more south it is caught, the less fat it will contain.
The annual catch exceeds 20,000 tonnes, although breeding is increasingly successful.
If you eat it at a sushi restaurant, you can expect its bones and head served deep-fried.

As sashimi it can be enjoyed straight with wasabi and soy sauce.
But as it is a red-flesh fish it beautifully combines with grated ginger, sliced myoga or chopped thin leeks.

As sushi it does come in many forms and can be pretty spectacular as a single sushi nigiri serving!

Another sushi nigiri sample!

In waetern Japan it is very popular as oshizushi/pressed sushi.

Another popular oshizushi version is “bo-gata/whole fish sushi”!

Bo-gata is often encountered as a sushi bento/lunch box!

As it is a very rich fish, it can be eaten simply grilled with its skin and grated daikon and lemon.

It is easy to manipulate such as the above sanma and bacon roll (later grilled)!

Of course it can be simmered Jpaanese style with soy sauce, mirin, sake and ginger!

As himono/dried fish it is practical for carrying and grilling later!

Tinned/canned it is comparatively cheap and can be accomodated in many ways, such as with kimchi!

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Seasonal Fishes 9: Shimaaji/Striped Horsemackerel

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.

In English it called Striped Horsemackerel, Saurel or White Trevally.
White trevally, Pseudocaranx dentex, is a jack of the family Carangidae widespread in tropical and warm temperate areas between 40°N and 47°S, in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, Indian and Pacific Oceans. It has a deep body, and a greenish colour with metallic overtones and a dark spot above the gills. The fins are yellow.
In New Zealand, this trevally is known by the Māori as araara, and is generally confined to waters north of Cook Strait, although it sometimes reaches as far south as Otago in the summer.

It is a great fish to serve as sashimi, either in simple slices as above,

Or the whole fish as Tataki/tartare!

In Shizuoka, where the fish is usually served still alive, the bone and heads will served later deep-fired. Superb snack!

The fish is easy to manipulate to make beautig\ful maki with daikon as above!

The sushi nigiri will have photograpers on constant alert!

See what I mean?

Of course aji can be enjoyed grilled with a simple seasoning of soy sauce or ponzu!

Like most white-fleshed fish it can deep-fired in batter and breadcrumbs at home!

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Seasonal Fishes 8: Suzuki/Seabass

Suzuki or seabass is a fish so popular with anglers all over the world that a lot of people forget it is also an extremely popular for sashimi and sushi in Japan.

“Simple” Sashimi Plate

Her the seabass was first seared before before being sliced for sashimi!

Like any other fish, it bears many names: Madaka, Hakura, Shiibasu.

In the Kanto (Eastern Japan) 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 (Western Japan) it is called Seigo, Hane, and Suzuki.

A summer fish par excellence, it is caught mainly in Central and western Japan. But it is also caught in winter in Shizuoka waters.

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.
It has been raised succesfully, thus replenishing stocks.
170.000 seabasses were raised in 1992!

Great as a sushi and appreciated for it natural taste. A little salt and lemon juice are enough.

As a sashimi it canbe declined in many ways such as carpaccio!

Raw, it can be combined as a simple and sublime salad with octopus for example.

Italian style as fritters combined with a salad!

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

Grilled, Japanese style, with a aonori/seaweed coating!

Grilled on its skin and served French style!

And why not eat it simply as steamed fish?

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Seasonal Fishes 7: Kawahagi/Thread-sail Filefish

Kawahagi or Thread-sail Filefish (or simply Filefish) is an angler’s favourite in summer, although it is caught almost all year round in Shizuoka.
Like any other fishes, it has other names such as “Gihagi, “Hagi”, “Gyuu”, “Subuta” or “bakuchiuchi”.
It is fairly common in Central and South Japan.
It is called Leatherjacket down in Australia where it is considered a pest!

The skin should be rough like that of a shark and brightly coloured.
Avoid sticky skin fish.
The bigger the size, the greater the taste (anglers, enjoy!)

In Kansai area, it replaces Fugu/Globefish when it is out of season for its similarity as sashimi.

Actually it makes for superlative sashimi as demonstrated by the above O-Tsukuri served at Sushi Ko in Shizuoka City!

012

The same served with its own liver dip!

It can make for a spectacular sashimi presentation as a whole fish sashimi plate!

Both its flesh and liver can served raw!

Australians would be surprised to discover it served as tartare on Italian-style crostinis!

The perfect Kawahagi sushi nigiri must have be topped with its liver!

Cut in small slices, it makes for beautiful sushi gunkan!

Cooked, it is very popular simmered in soy sauce, mirin and sugar. A great accompaniment for a nice bowl of freshly steamed rice!

If you want to serve it as tempura, first season it with umeboshi/Japanese pickled plums flesh of the sweet kind.

Now, what does this remind you of? Foie gras? Almost right! Grilled kawahagi Liver!

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Savouring the full Filfish meal at Sushi Ko, Shizuoka City:

Back in June, as I had to atone for some somewhat egoistical pleasure-seeking, I took the Missus to our favourite Sushi Restaurant in Shizuoka City, namely Sushi Ko,located along Aoba Park.

Although we did order the inevitable favourites, “katsuo/bonito” sashimi, “Shirako to Ankimo/Combination of Cod Sperm sacs and Frogfish/Monkfish liver”, “Pon Kara Maguro/Deep-fried tuna cubes”, “Shishamo/Spirinchus lanceolatus”, “Hotate/Scallops”, “Maguro Zuke/Marinated Tuna sushi”, and “Amaebi nigiri to Shiraebi Gunkan/Sweet shrimp and white shrimp sushi”, the star of the day was “Kawahagi/Filefish”!

The chef took a splendid live specimen (see top pic) just caught off Mochimune coast in Shizuoka City out of the “aquarium” and proceeded to serve the complete fish in three different manners:


“O-Tsukuri”:
After having taken away the inedible skin, the chef first cut the fillets into very thin slices to be served with thin leeks and dip sauce made of ponzu mixed with the fresh liver of the same fish. As now is the best season, those comparatively thin fish come up with enormous livers!


“O nigiri”:
The chef managed to keep four slices aside to prepare nigiri with the fish flesh topped with a piece of its liver, some “momiji oroshi/grated daikon with chili pepper” and seasoned with ponzu!

SUSHI-KO-2008-10-11
“Kara age”:
The “cheeks bones” with their meat were last deep-fried and served as they are with some lemon. Simple and great!
All this with one single fish!

Sushi Ko
shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho. 2-3-1 (Aoba Koen)
Tel.: 054-2512898
Business Hours: 17:00~25:00. 17:00~23:00 (Sundays)
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations recommended
Credit cards OK
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

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Seasonal Fishes 5: Ishigarei/Stone Flounder

Ishigarei, イシガレイ、石鰈 in Japanese, is another popular flatfish/flounder in theis country. For the specialists the Englidh name is stone flounder, and its Latin name Kareus bicoloratus. Interestingly enough these fishes are commonly called flatfishes in Englis, wheeras the Jaapnese write them as “leaf Fishes”!

In Japan, depending upon the region it will be called other names, such as Ishimochi, Ishimochigarei or Shirogarei.
Their season is mainly in Summer in Hokkaido and Eastern Japan, although they might appear a lot earlier in Shizuoka.

Ishigarei is considered the best of all flounders in this country. People generally avoid to catch them during the female egg incubation, but the same egg-bearing fish are a delicacy in Tokyo.

Always choose “lively” specimens when buying them as the taste will soon deteriorate if the fish is not dressed quickly first.
If angler-friend of yours calls on the phone with one of them, don’t discuus and buy the fish!

Stone flounders make for such superlative sashimi that it becomes a bit of a waste to consume in another way.

But who would pass such a Japanese-style carpaccio?

Or an Italian Carpaccio?

Sushi lovers will appreciate it as a sushi nigiri!

A truly extravagant sushi nigiri display. Eat it quickly!

Alright, you were not lucky enough to get it absolutely fresh.
In this case simmer it the Japanese way as Ishigarei Ni (Ni stands for simmer) with soy sauce, sake, mirin and ginger!

Or do it the Italian way with olive oil and dry tomatoes!

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Seasonal Fishes 6: Tachiuo-Scabbard Fish

Scabbard Fish or “Tachiuo” is a summer fish very popular in Japan in spite of its great length.
Tachiuo in Japanese, 太刀魚, means “Great Sword Fish”, not the scabbard!
The Suruga Bay being warmer than the rest of Japan, we have scabbard fish in the dead of winter.
Like other fish it owns other names: Tachi (not in Hokkaido, where the word means ” Cod sperm sacs”!), Shirada and Tachinouo.
It is mainly caught off Wakayama, Ehime and Oita Prefectures.
In Shizuoka it is both caught by line or net.
In 1999, 37,000 tonnes were caught in the whole of Japan, but it fell to 23,000 tonnes in 2000.
It is also imported from Korea and China, although the fish is slightly different from the Japanese variety. More than half of imported fish are eaten west of Kansai.

Scabbard Fish Sashimi Plate

Tachiuo is bot popular raw and cooked.
Raw, it is usually served with ponzu instead of soy suce and topped with momijioroshi/grated daikon mixed with chili pepper.

Raw, it is of course popular as sushi nigiri,

cut into fine strips and served as gunkan.

As sashimi I personally prefer it “aburi” (slightly grilled) with a dash of ponzu and some momijioroshi (grated daikon with chili pepper), or with some finely cut vegetables.

The same applies for sushi nigiri as I like my scabbard fish a little grilled first.

Making incisions into the fish before grilling it will make for another prsentation!

It does not have to be complicated to be yummy!

In the Kansai/western Japan region it is very popular in oshizushi/pressed sushi thanks to its flat and long shape.

How about a combination of both raw and aburi style sushi nigiri?

How about an Italian-style sushi nigiri?

As for the cooked scabbard fish, grilling is the most commoon way here in Japan where it is served as simple and healthy food at many meals.

Sauteed with colourful vegetables (okra) make for great presentation in spite of the simplicity of the dish!

Deep-frying is also very popular especially with its bones when it is very fresh. Such deep-fried bones make for one vital source of calcium for the Japanese.

Fried scabbard fish salad.

Cooked, it is a very versatile fish and easy to prepare!

Grilled with lemon!

Cooked with chili peppers and miso paste, it makes for an intriguing sweet and hot combination!

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