It has become our tradition to celebrate New Year’s Eve at Urasawa. We make our reservation a year in advance and have plans to spend Dec 31, 2012 in our favorite seats in front of Hiro. I have said this before but it is worth repeating – this is the perfect place to celebrate any occasion. There are only ten seats and your seat is yours for the evening. The quality of the ingredients is exceptional and Hiro is the most gracious and accommodating chef/host. You will again notice the similarity of ingredients from last year to this year as Hiro prides himself on seasonality and uses only those ingredients that highlight each season. (This just gives me an excuse to at least visit Urasawa 4 times a year!)

What made this year particularly special is that a wonderful couple we met last year – Eugene and Sarah were once again seated next to us this year. They were a delight and graciously shared some very special sake with us.

I have tried to be accurate in my descriptions, but my Japanese vocabulary is not extensive, particularly with regard to ingredients.

Seasonal Flower arrangement

Wonderful Hiro

BYO Champagne

Hairy Crab from Hokkaido, Mizuna, Chrysanthemum flower, yuzu zest, white soy and vinegar – a perfect combination of taste and texture.

Prep of the next dish

Shiro toro, Monkfish liver, Myoga, Scallion, Shiso – the toro was wrapped around the monkfish and the combination was luscious and luxuriant.

BYO White wine

Marinated Salmon eggs and Mitzuba on top of edame tofu mixed with tiny shrimp and the whole topped with gold leaf – any resemblance between the salmon eggs you get at a regular sushi bar or the salmon eggs in jars is not even close – these were sensational.

Sashimi – black ink squid from western Japan and Uni from Hokkaido with red radish, 3 different types of seaweed, fresh wasabi served in a hand-carved ice bowl. The dipping sauce is a blend of soy sauce and fish broth.

Hakkaido scallop mixed with white truffle from Italy, shitake mushroom, and Russian caviar with red turnip on the side – this was heaven in one bite with the red turnip functioning as a “chaser.”

The next dish was very labor intensive. The beef served as the outer wrapping and was stuffed with Shitake mushroom and lobster. It was placed in a bowl filled with hot stones. Sake was added and the steaming process cooks the dish producing an incredibly moist plus intricate dish.

On a small brazier, Hairy Crab from Hokkaido sits in the crab shell that is also filled with Santa Barbara uni and scallions.  The sauce is made from the brains of the crab.

Shabu, Shabu – Foie Gras, Red Snapper, Spiny Lobster, Winter Cod Milt – Unlike when this was Ginza Sushi-Ko, we don’t have to cook the ingredients. After you eat each of the ingredients, the broth is perfect for slurping.

BYO Red Wine

Now sushi. Hiro is presently using 170 grains of rice per each sushi slice.


Hama Toro

Spanish Mackerel

Red Snapper

Blue Fin Tuna

Skip jack


Shitake Mushroom

Caviar in a spoon


Medium Toro

Spanish Mackerel

Tiny Shrimp

Giant Clam

Spiny Lobster


Abalone Innards


Dessert Wine

Toro tataki




There is no way to do justice to this meal either in words or photos – it was perfect in every way and I can’t wait to go back to Urasawa.


2 Responses to “Urasawa”

  1. 1 Brett June 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    I do love Urasawa, but it’s not really as “seasonally driven” as people seem to proclaim. He serves alot of the same varieties of fish year around, as you will notice by numerous food blog posts from different times of the year. You can find alot of fish served out of season.

    There’s other sushi restaurants in better locations (i.e. more north-west) where the access to produce is significant, and sushi chefs actually go with the seasons to pick up which fish they use.

    Urasawa is delicious though. Just not really as seasonally focused as people seem to proclaim.

    • 2 lizziee June 24, 2012 at 8:45 pm

      I disagree – we tend to go spring and winter and it is definitely seasonal. This is not your neighborhood sushi bar where you can go even once a month unless you are Buffet.

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