Shochu & Sushi
DOUMAN CRAB AT SUEHIRO-HAMANAKO NO MEGUMII AJI
« Douman » is the name of a very rare crab of fairly large proportions exclusively caught in Summer in Lake Hamana, Shizuoka Prefecture.
Fishermen will be lucky if they manage to find 2 or 3 specimen caught in their nets in a single day for the whole lake!
It has become one of the symbols of the area as demonstrated by the rice/kome shochu of the same name brewed by Hamamatsu-Tenjingura Brewery/Distillery in Hamamatsu City.
Consequently only a few privileged establishments may serve it from time to time.
One such place is Suehiro-Hamanako No Megumi Sushi Restaurant, a little secret place of mine.
As introduced in other articles, it is tucked away from the city bustle south of Hamamatsu JR Station.
I make a point to reserve a seat or two before I visit them as hey will make sure to keep a bottle of Shizuoka Sake just for me.
Last Friday, they just happened to have an excellent bottle from a favourite Brewery of mine, namely Hatsukame in Okabe Cho.
That particular brand, called « Fujisan », is a honjozo made with rice from Toyama Prefecture and yeast from Shizuoka Prefecture, perfect in summer with sushi and seafood!
Light food was on order as it had been an excessively hot day now that the rainy season is finally off our heads.
Pickled myoga, and ham and avocado salad were perfect with the first couple of glasses of chilled sake.
With a kitchen conveniently closed away, Suehiro has the knack to serve the right mixture of sashimi, sushi and cooked fare which ensures you will not leave the place worrying about a still empty stomach.
Mind you, this is an expat notion which does not count for the Japanese habit to visit at least two or three different places in the same night.
We opted for some akami/lean tuna and suzuki/seabass sashimi and a plate of Hamana Lake prawns deep-fried inside Spring rolls.
Finally we were ready for the Douman Crab!
My friend took the opportunity to order a glass of shochu of the same name while I gamely took care of the sake.
In Hamamatsu City they just serve it steamed as it is without any dressing or seasoning.
And our half (can you imagine the price of a whole one?) did not need any whatsoever. It came very full of so soft, tasty, even sweet meat that you naturally take your time savouring a little at a time with chopsticks. Forbid a fork or spoon!
I’m afraid this will be my first and last time I experience such a delicacy. That is unless Suehiriro calls me (and other customers?) next time they chance upon one (two would be impossible, so do not plan a party!)
We still hjad one more morsel before we left for the Liquid Kitchen, a bar held by a cricket friend of mine: Hamana Lake anago/conger eel and ikura/salmon roe sushi.
As this restaurant always comes up with local delicacies on a purely seasonal basis, I wonder what will compel me to visit it again!
SUEHIRO-HAMANAKO NO MEGUMII AJI
Hamamatsu City, Naka Ku, suyama Cho, 360-6
Business Hours: 11:30-13:30＆17:00-22:00
Closed on every Wednesday and second Tuesday
SUSHI TETSU OHSHIO
Every sushi restaurant worthy of its name will come up with a specialty or two making it worth visiting and introducuing to friends.
Well, in the case of Sushi Tetsu Ohshio Restaurant in Shizuoka City, almost next to the large Sengen Shrine (you could combine the two, actually), I was lucky as it was not one but two morsels out of the ordinary which will entice me to come again.
I have in my mind that Chuck and Foodhoe would be definitely interested!
As the third generation, Kazuhiro Ohshio, is also a blog and fishing devotee, I went as far as ordering the following dish by e-mail!
« Shirako Yuzu Kamayaki »/shirako/Cod Sperm Sacs cooked with Clams and mushrooms in a white miso-based bechamel inside a large yuzu/lime!
While I was waiying for it to be ready, I first oredered a plate of sashimi:
Hirame/Sole, Maguro/Tuna, Kuro Ika, Kuro Squid, and Aji/Saurel. Fine little morsels, I can assure you!
I could not resist ordering the Ankimo/Frogfish Liver when I saw it under the show window glass!
Simply served with ponzu, chopped leeks and momiji oroshi/grated daikon with chili pepper. Pefect!
I ordered the private brand sake, a junmai nama by Hana No Mai Brewery in Hamamatsu City, and exchanged a few words with Mr. Kazuhiko Ohshio, the second generation whose father first opened their restaurant about 56 years ago.
I actually noticed later they were also serving a kome/rice shochu from Shizuoka Prefecture from the same Brewery. I have rarely seen any Sushi Restaurant both serving a sake and shochu made in our Prefecture!
My « treat » finally came, and I slowly savoured it with the utmost concentration! What could I call it? A Japanese-style « vol-au-vent »? I simply will have to try and make it at home! Luckily the chef was kind enough to give me the recipe.
I did not have much time for that first visit, so I asked for my bill.
But I was asked to stay a few minutes to enjoy the « dessert » offered on the house to all customers at the end of their meal.
Now, I’m sure that even Chuck will feel he has to sample it!
You will not find this « nothing to get excited about » morsel in the chef’s words outside Shizuoka Prefecture: a mousse (according to the chef, although I would call it a blanc-mange) made with sake-kasu/sake, white lees collected after the sake is pressed, topped with Shizuoka wasabi pickled in sake-kasu and a sweet sauce again made with sake-kasu!
Problem is, as it is a seasonal recipe, it will not be served very long and I might have to wait until next year to savour it again!
Sushui Tetsu Ohshio
420-0862 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Sengen Cho, 1-36
Credit Cards OK
Business hours: 11:00~22:00
Closed on Wednesdays
Why is it that the best places deserve the name of « kakureya/Hidden spots » in this country?
After all, you need some courage to try and entice customers away from their usual haunts.
Or is it because you simply have a lot of confidence?
Mr. Mamoru Miyaji and his sweet mother, Fusae, certainly deserve all the praise and fame for having offered first-class local products and creations in their tiny establishment for the last 34 years.
Sushi Iroha was originally opened by Mrs. Miyaji as a traditional sushi restaurant very close to the sea. Ten years ago her son, having spent a few years learning his chef skills at various establishments, took over under the guidance of his dame and added sushi made exclusively with vegetables grown in the area. Obtaining such produce after all is not so difficult as the Hamamatsu-Iwata vegetables growers are famous in the whole country. But he certainly needed all his savoir-faire to accomodate them.
On Friday, January 18th, I took the opportunity to visit Sushi Iroha as it stands only two stations away from my university. Having gone off at Toyoda JR Station I had to take a taxi (1,000 yen) as I had no clue as to which bus to ride.
I arrived just as it was opening. A good strategy as the place sits only 7 guests and is quickly full unless you had previously reserved your seat, a must on weekends.
Mr. Miyaji is a very friendly and immensely knowledgeable gentleman who will be happy to answer any questions, however tricky.
Not only his ingredients are local, whenever posiible as demonstrated by the succulent kinmeidai/golden-eyed seabream I savoured with the tuna « akami », but he also has the whole range of sake made by Senju Brewery in Iwata City:
Tamaran is actually a private brand used for « atsukan »
Shochu fans are not forgotten as they can enjoy an extravagant kome/rice shochu called Inaizumi from the same brewer:
Ladies also can please themselves with a great umeshu, too!
This said, I chose a junmai sake before ordering the vegetable sushi set I had come for!
Incidentally all vegetables are cooked or marinated, some as far as two days in advance. Moreover, Mr. Miyaji uses only salt of his own making by slowly heating sea water from Yaizu for 48 hours!
The above vegetables are from top to bottom and left to right:
Konnyaku/Devil’s Tongue Tuber
Celery marinated in Amazu/sweet vinegar and pickled Japanese plums
Shiro negi/White leek
Na no Hana/Rape Blossoms
Satsuma Imo/Sweet yams
Daikon/Long Japanese radish
All absolutely perfect! I’m not a vegetarian, less a vegan, but I certainly would not mind becoming one if served that kind of food!
Next I was served a sublime creation concocted with Ebine Imo/Ebine Tuber served mille-feuilles style intersped with sushi rice and presented with dashes of olive oil, seame oil/goma abura and soy sauce/shoyu. Enough to satisfy a hungry gourmet!
To top it all, I was served another of Mr. Miyaji’s creations, which would please anyone with a sweet tooth!
Hot pudding. The top half being a traditional cream pudding, the bottom half sweat meat/anko, the whole decorated with local strawberry!
Who said sushi does not make full? I certainly was, and I was doubly thankful when Mr. Miyaji told me not to bother another taxi as he offered me a lift! (the bill was more than reaonable!)
Iwata City, Kusazaki, 116-4
Opening hours: 11:30~13:30; 17:00~21:30
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations advisable especially for lunch and weekends
Last Thursday (May 17th), my better (worse?) half and I thought it was about hight time to pay a visit to our favourite Sushi Restauarant In Shizuoka City, namely Sushi Ko (not to be confused with its parent establishment in Tamachi).
The main reasons why it is our favourite is because:
1) the fish and all food are of superior quality
2) the prices are clearly posted up
3) it has sake and shochu from Shizuoka Prefecture.
Now for sake lovers, Sushi Ko has the following Shizuoka Jizake among its list:
Kan (hot): Fujinishiki Honjoozo (extravagant for a hot sake!)
By the glass: Isojiman Honjozo, Shosetsu Tokubetsu Honjozo, Kikuyoi Junmai, & Kokkou Ginjo
300 ml bottles: Fujinishiki Junmai Ginjo, Masuichi Ginjo
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae Cho, 2-3-1 (Aoba Koen)
Business hours: 17:00~25:00. 17:00~23:00 on Sundays
Closed on Wednesdays
Credit Cards OK