Japanese fish varieties, and Sushi
- Eric Eto
I was googling around to find out some varieties of fish that I had recently at a sushi restaurant and I came upon this site. It's pretty dizzying the variety of fish expert sushi masters need to be familiar with. I remember reading on these boards and elsewhere that some people's impression is that sushi chefs just cut up fish, and that might be the case in some sushi places, but looking at this page, it might be better to think of them more like fish sommeliers with the added ability to prepare and cook the fish. Poking around the site some more, there's some great photo galleries, most notably the Sushi Koo gallery #7 (I believe: decorative sushi). Here's a sample below. This site has also got me interested in Sushi Koo in Shizuoka, where I have a few relatives. Might be worth checking out.
Been looking for the some of the strange things I have been trying recently. Had a Japanese Pen Shell Scallop that I liked and I can't find it on google or anywhere.
Great link Eric and great pic. Being that this is the general topics board, are there any hounders out there who know of good places to get Saikuzushi or festival sushi? I had it once in the 70s in a place on 2nd Ave around 4th St. in NYC.
Thanks for the link... it is a great reminder that there is so much out there to eat! You think you've *done* sushi?! Not after looking at that site you haven't.
I love your comparison of sushi chef to sommelier. I would extend the metaphor and say I'd love to read someone's "tasting notes" on different sushi and sashimi they've eaten. Most food reviews seem able to comment on basics like fatty/silky toro, or tender octopus, but I still do not know the difference between, say, fluke and sea bream.
Also like wine, it seems that different fish offer different qualities to look for and to value. It's easy to look for butteriness in salmon, but is there some other quality to value in less fatty wild salmon? What should we look for in vinegared sushi like swordfish or Sushi Koo's vinegared tuna (maguro zuke)? Toro seems to be graded by its silky smoothness, uni maybe by its ability to taste of the sea. Fish like fugu (blowfish) and hamo (an eel that reputedly requires 1000 knife strokes to remove all the bones) don't have much flavor--somehow the difficulty of preparation figures into the enjoyment. What should one look for in sea bass or sweet shrimp or geoduck?
btw, it's interesting that Sushi Koo serves a california roll (although the crab stick seems to have been replaced by shrimp).