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

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
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.

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.

The Hartford Courant review of Maeda Sushi Restaurant 

A wonderful review of Maeda Sushi Restaurant is published inside the “Flavor” section of the Hartford Courant.  We like to thank Mr. Greg Morago of the Courant.  Please pick up a copy of the paper, or click here.  Or, just click on the picture of the actual newspaper to read.

Marc Yves

pictured: Hartford Courant photographer Marc Yves and Maeda

We have an exciting announcement. The Hartford Courant will have a full review on Maeda Sushi Restaurant inside Thursday’s “Flavor” section. Mr. Greg Morago, Courant’s food writer, had come to experience Maeda Sushi Restaurant (we were told after the fact) and his review will be published along with Mr. Yves’ photographs on this Thursday, the 20th. Please pick up the paper on Thursday.

Sea Eel, anago

 

As in the freshwater variation, sea eel is a cooked ingredient of sushi.  Called anago in Japanese, its characters mean “hole-child,” as they hide in nooks and holes in the sand during the day, coming out only at night to feed.  The freshwater cousin is better known in the United States, but the sea eel is the eel preferred by sushi houses in Japan.  Sea eel is a cooked ingredient of sushi and the all important sauce, called tsume, is also made by the chef – making it a great showcase of the chef’s taste preference and skills.

 

Maeda’s sea eel is poached so softly, it breaks down immediately once in your mouth.  The texture is very fine, much finer than that of the freshwater eel.  The sweet fat is lighter and gentler.   Tsume, the sauce, is made from the broth which the sea eel was poached.  To the broth, soy sauce, mirin, and some sugar among other things are added, and the simmering for a long period thickens the broth into a tsume.  After making the sushi in his hands, Maeda would brush the tsume on the sea eel just before serving it to you.  The sweet and sour aroma of tsume teases you as you bring the sushi to your mouth.  As the sea eel melts, it wraps around every grain of shari (sushi-rice), all seem to meet in a harmony of flavors, textures, and warmth.  It is also a great source of vitamin A.  Now available year-round, sea eel’s natural best season is spring and early summer.

 

“Anago has to melt in your mouth…but if it’s too soft, it will fall apart on the touch of chopstick or hand.  To make it just right, timing is very important during the poaching.  As in any living things, every sea eel is different, so I pay close attention and treat each of them differently.”  Maeda