Urasawa

At 6:45, John, a friend and I were seated directly in front of Hiro, completely ready for our adventure. I am hoping that I have identified most of the sushi correctly, but by the sushi portion of the meal, I had already had enough wine so please forgive me if I misidentify an item.The front of the house problems have been solved as Hiro’s sister, Yoshie, is now handling everything; she is wonderful. Hiro’s Korean sous chef has left and is now working at The French Laundry (Corey Lee spirited him away!) Hiro has enlisted his brother-in-law as his sous so Urasawa is truly a family affair.

Hiro-san was as friendly as ever – down-to-earth, warm and willing to explain each and every dish. (As I said earlier, any mistakes in descriptions are my fault entirely.)

April Flower Arrangement

1. Okinawan Spring Seaweed with tiny, little shrimp and topped with Gold Flakes. This was to be consumed in one gulp – spring in a bowl!

2. Kinuta Maki – this was a very labor intensive preparation. Red Snapper and Shrimp is laid on nori with shiso and then very thinly sliced daikon encases the fish to resemble a traditional maki roll. It is topped with finely grated yuzu and a slice of pickeled ginger.

3. Goma tofu, Kyoto-style. Tofu made from sesame seeds, stuffed with sweet Uni (urchin “roe”), topped with freshly grated wasabi and gold leaf, served in a light dashi seasoned with shoyu and mirin. I love this dish.

4. Toro Tataki- Ohtoro, from Spain, lightly seared topped with Shiso no Hana flowers, Shiso buds, Radish and Gold Leaf

5. Uni Nikogori – absolutely unbelievable.  Fresh Uni, Small Shrimp, Red snapper, Fish eggs served atop Yama no Imo (Japanese Mountain Yam), topped with Pure Gold Flakes.

 

Hiro working on a sashimi

 

Incredible Ohtoro.

 

His brother-in-law working on the uni

6. Sashimi served in a hand carved ice bowl. The Sashimi consisted of Ohtoro, Red Snapper and Santa Barbara Uni placed in a manila clam shell. The wasabi is freshly grated, Hiro’s soy sauce is made by him and the gorgeous Iris flower again defined the beautiful seasonality of this dish.

7. Asami Age, a tempura “sandwich” of Fresh Bamboo, Shrimp Paste and more Fresh Bamboo. Many tempura dishes can be greasy – never at Urasawa.

 

8. The next dish was absolutely amazing. Thinly sliced Hokkaido Beef was topped with Matsutake mushrroms, uni and shiso. Then Hiro rolled up the beef in a roll. We were then presented with a bowl to which Hiro added water so that steam immediately erupted. The beef was being steamed in front of us. The beef sat on a grate and obviously the stones had been heated to piping hot. It was served with a “radish” mixture and Hiro insisted that we use a generous amount of radish.

 

 

The bowl steaming

Inside the bowl

Bowl with sauce on the side for dipping

Empty bowl

9. Hoba Yaki – On a giant Hoba Leaf was fresh shrimp, scallop and Hokkaido beef and miso sauce. The dish was being lightly roasted in the Hoba leaf for a couple of minutes over the coals. Yoshie removed the Hoba leaf from the coals to prevent overcooking. Unbelievable.

 

10. Shabu Shabu with Sweet Shrimp (the shrimp were alive and kicking minutes before), Boston scallop, Hokkaido Beef and Foie Gras. Our waiter did the cooking for us – the scallop took only a second with the foe taking the longest. We were given a soup spoon after the foie had been consumed and then had the Shabu Shabu broth as a soup course.

Sushi next. Hiro was very specific that he wanted us to eat the sushi within 10 seconds of plating. This became quite a challenge for John as he was snapping the photos and I was trying my best to keep up with the proper descriptions. Hiro also explained that he uses less rice than Masa, about 175 grains of rice per piece of sushi. (Again, if I have mislabeled the fish, I apologize.)

 

Toro

I wrote beef, but it sure doesn’t look like that.

 

Kanpachi

 

Tai with Sudachi

 

Spanish Mackerel

 

Squid

 

Uni

 

Razor Clam

 

Mushroom

 

Kohada

 

Abalone

 

Giant Clam

 

Scallop

 

Spanish Mackerel Tataki

 

Hokkaido Beef

 

Baby Shrimp

 

Eel

 

Tamago

 

My notes are a mess on this first dessert – all I wrote was Japanese Plum and Jelly

 

Sesame Ice Cream with Azuki (Red Bean) and Gold Flakes

 

Musha – Finely Powdered Green tea

 

It was an extraordinary evening– certainly not inexpensive, but an experience unlike any other.

Wines:

1990   Champagne Krug

1998   Corton Charlemagne Delarche 1.5L
2002   Richbourg, Domaine Gros
1988  Sauternes, Ch.  Giraud

 

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