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Japanese Seasonal Fish: Seabass/Suzuki

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Suzuki or seabass is a fish so popular with anglers all over the world that a lot of people forget it is an extremely popular fish for sashimi and sushi in Japan.

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(Pic taken at Tomii Restaurant in Shizuoka City)

Like any other fish, it bears many names: Madaka, Hakura, Shiibasu.
In the Kanto area, including Shizuoka Prefecture, it is called Seigo when under 25cm. At 3 years of age, when it has attained a length of near 60cm, it is called Fukko or Suzuki.
In Kansai it is called Seigo, Hane, and Suzuki.

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As you can see above the colour and texture are slightly different (Fukko is on the right)

It is indeed a bit early to introduce this fish, but I can’t help thonking about it!
A summer fish par excellence, it is caught mainly in Central and western japan.
The bigger and the older the fish, the better it is considered. After a decline in the 1980’s, catches have increased recently, reaching more than 9,300 tonnes after 2000.

Of course it is a fish you can appreciate cooked or simmered, or grilled, although it becomes fragile and breaks up easily upon being cooked.


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Japanese Izakaya: Bu-Ichi (first visit in 2009)


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bu-ichi-09-b

Last Thursday, the Missus and I finally found the time to make a quick visit to our favourite Izakaya in Shizuoka City, namely Bu-Ichi
Not only the food (most of it local) is great, but the Shizuoka Sake are regularly changed according to the food of the moment!

Moreover, vegetarians (and I’m sure they an make something for vegans! Japanese sake is vegan, by the way!) will be glad to learn that tenpura is one of their specialties. See above picture and try to tell what vegetables are served!

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Now for the sashimi lovers, it is simply first class (and very reasonable compared to the prices in Tokyo!). We asked only for a small set and savoured the following:
-Mejiro maguro/big-eyed tuna
-Hotate/Scallops with their “threads”
-Ika/Squid-Cuttlefish
Incidentally the flower is edible (grown in Shizuoka Prefecture!)

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As the last bite before we headed home, we ordered the “Shio-yaki-niwatori/salted grilled chicken.
Crispy skin and absolutely tender flesh! How they do it, I simply don’t have a clue! No need to say the salad was splendid!

Looking forward to our next visit!

Bu-Ichi
420-0032 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Ryogae-cho, 1-6-10, Dai 2 Matsunaga Bldg. 2F
Tel.: 054-2521166
Closed on Wednesdays
Reservations advisable

First Sashimi Set of the Year at Tomii!


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tomii-09-06

Yesterday evening, being hungry late at work, I just took a “break” and went for a (slightly extravagant!) quick fix at my favourite Japanese restaurant in Shizuoka City.

Apart of the usual appetizer, I was served the following “O-Tsukuri/Sashimi set” (See above picture, from left to right, top first):

-“Buri/Japanese Amberjack” on a cushion of fresh sprouts
-“Hon-maguro no Akami/Bluefin tuna lean part” with “Shiso no Hana/Perilla Flowers”
-“Inada/young Japanese Amberjack”. The difference with Buri is that the flesh is still white. On a “Shiso no Happa/Perilla Leaf” and a radish slice
-“Madai/True Snapper-Seabream”
-“Amaebi/Sweet Shrimp)
-“Uni/Sea Urchin)
-Freshly grated “Wasabi/Green Japanese Horseradish”
-“Kou-Ika/wide-bodied cuttlefish variety

Heavens!

TOMII
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-274-0666
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)

Sashimi at Tomii: The Epitome of Excellency!


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tomii-08-12-16a

Many people have been asking me: “How can you afford that?”
Well, I don’t smoke and I don’t drive, either. I can imagine what some people in the Northern part of the US might tell me… and I don’t care!
All that “saved” money goes into good food, good drink, good travel and improved relations with my (better, ok for this time!) half! And nothing for those “poor” doctors out there!

I’ve been a regular customer at Tomii in Shizuoka City for many, many, many reasons. But the one I value most is that everyone at this great Japanese restaurant are willing to talk about, explain and extoll the virtues of their craft. Craft, I said? It is probably nearer to artistry as Melinda, Etsuko and Tim will vouch for me!

Anyway, to write a story short, I just popped at Tomii this evening (yes, I’m writing this just after I came back to “work”), and asked for a sashimi plate (well, this is not the way to ask it: You should say: “O-tsukuri, kudasai!”). I did not need to tell them what to serve me. I wouldn’t even have dared!
On the other hand, they didn’t mind explaining no less than three times to make sure that the old geezer got his stuff right!

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From right to left:
“Kiiro Ninjin”?Yellow Carrot (sashimi is not all about fish, vegetables are rapidly becoming an essential part of the picture!), “Beni Daikon”/Red (“rouge”) Daikon, “Wasabina/not wasabi, but a leaf vegetable with a similar taste!”, “Hirame/Sole”, “Hime Daikon/Princess Daikon”, “Shiso no Hana/Perilla Flowers (edible as Rowena will agree!) on top of “Toro/Tuna Fatty Part) and “Bakudai No Ki no Mi/Impossible to translate”, only that it is an edible part from a tree (sorry, I was not attentive enough!)!

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From right to left:
“Uni/Sea Urchin Roe” (in front) with freshly grated “Wasabi/Japanese Horseradish” (let me tell for the umpteenth time that wasabi was first grown in Shizuoka City in the 17th Century and that Shizuoka Prefecture still produces 80% of the world total!), “Ishidai/Ishidai Snapper” just behind, the green daikon is called “Uguisu Daikon/Nightingale Daikon”, “Amaebi/Sweet Shrimp”, and “kanpachi/Japanese Amberjack” just behind!

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From right to left:
“Kuroi Daikon/Black Daikon”, “Aori Ika/Aori Cuttlefish”, “Akami/Lean Tuna” on a “Shiso no happa/perilla leaf”. To back it up a mixture of seasonal sprouts: “Kushinsai + Soba no Mi (Buckwheat) + Cress (from Shizuoka like most of them) + Kawaire Daikon + Cabbage + Broccoli” (about time you call a local farmer for explanations!)!

Small servings they might look, but I challenge anyone to find better quality!
Now, for people who really want to know it, you will have to fork out at least three times as much in Tokyo, and as far the US and Europe are concerned, you might as well start riding a bicycle like I do!

TOMII
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Tokiwa-cho, 1-2-7, Tomii Bldg, 1F
Tel.: 054-274-0666
Business hours: 17:00~22:00
Closed on Sundays
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)