Friday, April 18, 2008

Sushi 101

Daniel and I celebrated our anniversary last night with dinner at what I think I can safely say is our favorite restaurant - Sushi Yasuda. This was our fourth time at this hallowed establish, but our first in front of the magician himself, Yasuda-san. What a way to go out.

We decided to forgo appetizers to focus on just the fish, and other than Daniel's eating restrictions (which Yasuda delightfully clarified with hand gestures mimicking scaled fish, eel, scallops, sea urchin) we left ourselves in his able hands. As he placed piece after piece of smooth, buttery, creamy, delicious morsels sushi in front of us, he schooled us in the ways of sushi. Some important points -

- a proper sushi meal does not include an appetizer

-a piece of sushi is optimally eaten five seconds after it is created to achieve the perfect dance of temperatures between the cold fish and slightly warm rice (making sitting at the sushi bar a purer experience)

-sashimi is a pretty new invention and less complete than sushi as rice is the true art of the cuisine (it's like a hamburger without the bun, he said)

-when you eat a sushi roll, it should have one ingredient, more than that is like polygamy

He also showed us how to properly pick up a piece of sushi if we wanted to dip it into extra soy sauce (he had pre-applied some with a brush, and suggested that we not add more, but if we REALLY had to, this was the way to do it...) He also gave us a history of sushi in Japan and the States. He was altogether delightful. But what really made the evening so fantastic was the food. Just heaven. Some stand outs:

-toro: buttery, melt in your mouth, sigh...

-eel: I had two kinds, I can't tell you which was which, but no one does eel like Sushi Yasuda

-several kinds of yellow tail

-hand rolls : Daniel's was blue fin tuna, I think; mine was uni (sea urchin); both were phenomenal; the seaweed kind of crunchy and more flavorful than you can believe seaweed could be; the rice warm and delectable; the perfect ratio of wasabi smeared inside; and then that incredible, incredible high quality fish

-oyster: half an oyster (Yasuda said they were so big he had to cut them in half) sprinkled with salt

-some kind of Japanese fish that Yasuda said has no name in English: firmer than many of the other fish; it tasted almost shiny

Honestly, there was nothing that I put in my mouth that didn't make me close my eyes with delight and utter disbelief. We hear that there is no place like Yasuda in the Bay Area. It will certainly be fun to search out a place that is even half the sushi fun house as Yasuda's palace. But Daniel has promised me that we will get to go back and visit our new friend the next time we're in NY.

No comments: