This is our seventh installment on our favorite sushi restaurant — Sushi Yasuda Sushi Yasuda (if you haven’t already, make sure to catch article #6). To help provide further perspective for those of you not lucky enough to have visited Chef Yasuda’s land of delicacies, I will tell you about my experience there.

My taste in sushi is different than Jessica’s in several ways. First, I prefer rolls: maki (the common, small rolls of nori and sushi rice), futomaki (the large rolls with unusual fillings), and my favorite, temaki (the hand rolls, typically in the shape of a cone). Not that I don’t love sashimi (thin slices of fish without rice) or nigiri (fish atop a hand-formed bed of sushi rice), but I just love the mix of the nori (seaweed), rice, and seafood. Second, I prefer firmer flesh and fattier taste, with less brine. Salmon is perhaps my favorite, but I love fatty tuna, and other similar fish. And third, I tend to enjoy picking my own items, whereas, Jessica really enjoys omakase (Chef’s choice).

One of the best, non-food aspects of visiting Sushi Yasuda is sitting at the bar and watching Chef Tomura (and the other Chefs, including Chef Yasuda) preparing sushi. Watching them roll the nigiri beds, slicing fish, or carefully brushing sushi with their delicious shoyu (soy sauce) or wasabi is awe-inspiring. The precision is truly art.

The art and tradition of sushi is a special relationship between itamae (sushi chef) and patron. When sitting at the bar, one can truly enjoy okonomi, the practice of ordering/receiving a few pieces at a time. This allows the itamae to gauge your taste preference and hunger. The style also emphasizes the focus on each morsel. Notice the precision cuts made in the kohada (above). Those slices allow shoyu to seep in and make chewing the fish easier, allowing the focus to be on flavor. Different seafood will receive different cuts depending on texture, or none at all. The tuna (left, below) has a single incision down the center, while the gensaba (on the right) has no cut.

There were two types of fatty bluefin tuna listed on the menu. Chef Tomura explained that the latter was fattier; of course, I was sold. It was exceptional. The flesh was perfectly firm and the fat was distributed throughout the meat, so the whole piece melted in my mouth as I bit into it.

On the right (above) is gensaba, a type of mackerel that blows away any other I’ve had. Japanese know how to work miracles with mackerel, an otherwise mediocre fish. When grilled and lightly seasoned, it can taste remarkable. But gensaba needs no more help than a few quick slices of a master’s blade. It is fatty and fine, with just a hint of sea brine.

Jessica and I usually have the Peace Passage Oyster, prepared nigiri style. What we hadn’t realized is that what we were eating is a slice out of a much larger piece of meat (shown below, next to an uncut piece of bonito tuna for reference). Wow!

Before wrapping up this post, the rice (for which Yasuda is famous) and the nori must receive a bit of attention. No one should think they have truly tasted maki unless having enjoyed a hand roll from Sushi Yasuda. A simple grilled salmon skin hand roll will forever change your impression about what sushi can be. Speaking of rice, as an example of the beauty and perfection behind the work at Yasuda, here is an extract from their website:

The rice is cooked evenly, is subtly sweet and is the ideal “stickiness” to conform to the shape of the inside of Yasuda’s hand. He applies six swift strokes and a delicate pressure to the rice to control the amount of space between the grains and to achieve the particular density, size and shape he deems suitable for the kind of fish or vegetable to be placed upon it.

posted by Lon at 09:30 PM Filed under Favorites, Restaurants, Sushi Yasuda. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.