Hiro described this meal as an end of summer, beginning of fall. As I have mentioned many times, seasonality is the key to a meal at Urasawa from the flower arrangements to the ingredients and the type of dishes served. The wood of the sushi bar is absolutely pristine and Hiro explained that it is sanded everyday.
I apologize in advance if I have messed up the Japanese terms for each fish – just consider that I do my best.
1. Sweet Shrimp, grated daikon radish, yuzu zest, shiso flower, yuzu skin, miso flower
2. Hamo fish (King Eel) that had been deep fried with a sweet and sour sauce served cold
3. Water Eggplant (miso nasu) from Osaka. We were presented with a small towel to be used after eating the eggplant. Stupid me used it before, until Hiro explained that the eggplant was to be eaten with your hands and dipped skin side down into the sauce. It was extremely juicy and yes the towel was needed.
4. Tofu custard studded with baby shrimp and uni, topped with ikura (salmon eggs) and a dusting of gold leaf – there is no way to describe the difference between Hiro’s salmon eggs and those you get at other sushi bars. He marinates them himself and they literally pop in your mouth.
5. Sashimi served in Hiro’s signature ice-carved “sculpture” – Toro from Boston, Kanpachi (yellowtail) from Toyama Prefecture, and Tai (red snapper) from Kyushuu, freshly grated wasabi, shiso flower
6. Dobin mushi – In Japan, dobin mushi is usually served as a medicinal soup made with Matsutake mushrooms – dobin means teapot and mushi means steamed. Included in the dobin mushi were shrimp, uni, red snapper, matsutake mushroom, and gingko nut.
7. Deep fried abalone (awabi) from Northern California. Hiro explained that he boils the abalone in water with konbu for over 6 hours. This is the “trick” to making abalone tender. It was served with a touch of lime.
Hiro had a full sushi bar. To make it even more difficult, we were all on different courses. As most of you know, I ask endless questions; not once did Hiro become impatient. He answered all my dumb questions with a gracious wide smile.
8. Shabu-shabu of shrimp, hamo, saga beef, foie gras, and seaweed – Yoshi did the cooking for us – the shrimp took only a second with the foie taking the longest. We were given a soup spoon after the foie had been consumed and then had the broth as a soup course.
The beautiful Yoshi – Hiro’s sister
An orgy of the Saga beef
9. Grilled Saga Kobe Beef from Southern Japan – A5, Grade 8
When I asked Hiro about the grade, his comment was: “Good people make good beef.” My comment to him was the same thing could be said about everything – good people make good food, good people make good friends – you get the idea.
Now sushi. Hiro is now using 180 grains of rice per sushi piece. I did say that one of these days, I am going to count them. (As a side note, you can see, we were having a lot of fun.)
11. Grilled toro
13. Wild Hawaiian Red Snapper
14. Spanish mackerel from the southern Japan
15. Maguro from Boston
16. Ika (squid)
17. Grilled Shitake mushroom
19. East Coast Giant Clam
20, Uni ( a long discussion followed about how FL is now sourcing their uni from Hokkaido thanks to Hiro)
21. Sweet shrimp
Hiro’s brother-in-law preparing the live shrimp
23. Pike mackerel formed into a sort of deconstructed roll with rice and sansho leaf “cooked” with hot metal rods.
24. Toro roll
24. Kobe beef
26. Asian pear gelee, umeboshi sauce and goji berries
27. Black sesame ice cream with red bean
28. Green Tea
BYO Wines – My husband’s comments
’95 Billecart Salmon Cuvee Elisabeth- smooth, sharp flavor and superb finish.