One of the fall favorites in Japan

One of the fall favorites in Japan

In Japan, fishing for Mackerel Pike (Sanma, in Japanese) starts early July.  But they are at their tastiest in the fall, as they wear more fat going towards the breeding season.  We have received excellent Mackerel Pike from Japan, and after a day of curing by Chef Maeda, they are ready to be served.  Enjoy as sushi or sashimi (tataki).  The fall mackerel pike contains as much as 20% fat, fat that is both tasty and healthy as a source of Omega-3 fatty acid.

 

 

Chef Maeda has also prepared the Abalone Steamed in Sake, which gained many fans the last time he went through the five-hour process of steaming.  So, please come visit and enjoy the Edo-mae (Tokyo style) Sushi at Maeda Sushi Restaurant.

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One of the more coveted sushi

One of the more coveted sushi

This week, Chef Maeda introduces Abalone prepared Edo-mae (Tokyo Style), steamed in sake.  As a sashimi, fresh, raw abalone’s chewy texture with that distinctive flavor of the ocean is treasured.  But perhaps, as sushi, that chewiness prevents it from mixing with sushi rice quickly on palate.  When a good, fresh abalone is properly steamed in sake, it is no longer chewy, instead it becomes delicately tender, easily melting away and mixing and spreading with the sushi rice in the mouth.  Edo-mae sushi chefs take pride in giving their own touch to the fresh ingredients to bring out the best flavor, and this 4-hour steaming of abalone is one of the most intricate techniques that is passed on from a master chef to the disciple.  It may not always be available, so please do not miss out.

 

 

Californian abalone is steamed in sake

Californian abalone is steamed in sake

 

 

 

 

Available with either Tosazu vinegar or Chef Maeda's Sour Plum Sauce...pictured with no sauce here.

Available with either Tosazu vinegar or Chef Maeda's Sour Plum Sauce...pictured with no sauce here.

 

Mackerel Pike Sunomono – $10

 

As we get closer to fall, mackerel pikes (SANMA in Japanese) in northern Japan Sea fatten up, providing us one of the most beloved seasonal flavors.  Here is Mackerel Pike Sunomono.  Chef Maeda uses these mackerel pikes marinated in sweet vinegar, rolls them up in sheets of daikon radish and shiso leaves with radish sprouts, cucumber, and pickled ginger to create a soothing harmony of flavors.  On a hot day, enjoy it with the vinegar marinade (special vinegar sauce called TOSAZU in Japanese).  Vinegar encourages your appetite, helps your digestion, and helps you fight the fatigue.  We also offer this with Chef Maeda’s original Sour Plum Sauce, which is pleasantly sweet and sour made from actual sour plums.  As we approach the fall season, look out for Chef Maeda to offer fresh mackerel pike sushi (instead of the marinated kind).

 

 

Horse Mackerel Sunomono – $10

 

This same appetizer can also be made with horse mackerel (AJI in Japanese), in season until mid to late fall, another good option to keep in your mind.  Currently with more fat content, it will have a softer vinegar flavor – available in both Tosazu vinegar and Sour Plum Sauce.

 

 

 

 

100% shrimp shumai - carefully made piece by piece

100% shrimp shumai - carefully made piece by piece

Shumai is a Chinese dumpling adopted into Japanese diet.  They often are made with minced pork, and served as a part of dim sum.  We serve shrimp shumai at Maeda Sushi.  We grate the high quality tiger shrimps and carefully round into bite size balls.  Steaming, of course, is a very healthy way to cook (no oil used), but it also helps packing the flavor into the pieces, shumai comes out perfectly moist, juicy out of the steamer.  The shreded skin provides a unique texture.  We place five big pieces on our fallen leaf ceramic plate and serve with soy-Japanese mustard mix.  It started out as a special, but it has been so popular, it will be in the permanent menu very soon.

the must coveted seat in the house

the most coveted seat in the house

When a customer lets the chef choose the content of a sushi meal, we call it OMAKASE (oh-mah-kah-say).  When a master chef tends to a customer at the sushi bar and serves his sushi piece by piece, we call this practice TACHI (tah-chee).  An ultimate meal at a sushi restaurant is to have a seat at the sushi bar, ask for an OMAKASE meal and be served TACHI style.  If you like to have some sake, the chef will start with some appetizers to match your selection.  To give that kind of service, though, the chef must be familiar with the customer’s likes and dislikes, whether he/she tends to have a few drinks, size of appetite, etc.  So the customer hopefully have visited our sushi bar a few times before making a reservation to be served TACHI (a reservation is a must, as you can imagine).  Here is an example of Chef Maeda’s omakase course served tachi style to a Japanese customer and his associate, one late afternoon in June…as they both had to drive, they were not going to drink much.

 

 

 

*customers order Sapporo Beer

Tsukidashi (appetizer)  – Jellyfish with sesame marinade

*Chef asked the customer, “should I make sushi?” and customers nod, “please.”

* If it was a dinner and the customers were to have more drinks before sushi, then Chef might have started by asking, “should I cut a few sashimi?”  Customers may have answered, “Yes, your kampachi looks really good.  Can you cut kampachi and some others?  I’d also like your Ikura Oroshi.” 

*hot green tea is served

Fluke Fin & Red Snapper side by side

Yellowtail & Kampachi side by side

Two pieces of Medium Fatty Tuna

Horse Mackerel

Sardine

Mackerel

Sea Urchin

*Clam Miso Soup is served

Salmon Roe

Abalone

Syako (Mantis Shrimp)

Sea Eel

Egg (sashimi)

*Chef asks, “Should I roll something?”  Customers, “No thank you, it was just right.”

*Agari green tea is served

We feel these customers left very satisfied after enjoying the wide variety of flavors, textures, the different shapes and colors, and of course, conversing with Chef Maeda.  Chef cannot serve everyone this way.  He has to get to know you first.  After all, this is the ultimate experience every sushi connoisseur covets.

An example of the Deluxe Chirashi at Maeda Sushi Restaurant

*pictured – Deluxe Chirashi

 

Chirashi is a very popular style of sushi in Japan. 

ちらし (chee-rahsh-ee) means “scattered” or “spread” in Japanese and the slices of fish and other ingredients are literally spread atop a bowl of sushi rice.  It is popular during lunch time for the busy Japanese businessmen as it is quicker to consume than having the chef make sushi piece by piece.  But some innovative chefs have made chirashi more than just a “lunch special,” and Maeda is one of them.

 

Maeda’s chirashi is accentuated by the marinated salmon roe which he gives a generous potion to every bowl.  The gentle soy sauce-salmon roe flavor sinks into the whole bowl to give it the signature taste.  Of course, the other ingredients are of the highest quality and in abundance (more piled than spread).  The colorful Chirashi features fore mentioned marinated salmon roe, tuna, white fish in season, shrimp, salmon, egg, kamaboko-fishcake, etc.  Add sea urchin, eel, fatty tuna to Deluxe Chirashi.  Ask for the “omakase” chirashi to have Maeda freely create a chirashi with the day’s best ingredients probably including his hikarimono.  He calls his Omakase Chirashi, “a bottomless bowl of fish.”  It is chirashi supreme, an ultimate.  Chef Maeda applies some final touches to his Deluxe ChirashiAnother common thread besides the salmon roe in all chirashi is the shiitake mushroom and baby bamboo shoot.  They are braised in classic Japanese broth and full of smoky, sweet flavor.  We hope that you find the little brown pieces hidden beneath all the colorful fish to be a pleasant surprise.

 

“After working on it for 30 years, I settled on the current style of chirashi back in 1997, and haven’t changed much since.  I wanted the right balance between different fish, between fish and sushi rice, and among all the colors.”  Chef Maeda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Omakase Sashimi & Kikusakari Kurashizuku

O-mah-kah-say means “to entrust” in Japanese. Let Maeda select the best of all his fish with no limits except balance in flavors, textures, colors… This Omakase Sashimi is the same set that was pictured for the Hartford Courant review of Maeda Sushi Restaurant. On this occasion, with color red in his mind, Maeda selected, yellow tail, fatty tuna, tuna, abalone, horse mackerel arrangement, salmon, and sweet shrimp. Accompanying the sashimi is Kikusakari Kurashizuku. It is an unusual sake from Ibaraki, Japan, roughly filtered with remaining rice and koji particles still active in the bottle. The junmai ginjo is a bit on the sweet side and chewy with some champagne-like fizz.