Excellent Matsutake Soup and Baby Bluefin Tuna at Kiriko
Had a wonderful dinner at Kiriko tonight. One of the highlights of the meal was a wonderful, clean, fresh matsutake soup in a tea pot. I was a little uncertain on how to approach the soup at first (since it arrived in...a tea pot). As it turns out, you pour the soup into a small tea cup and sip as you would fine tea and eat the matsutake out of the pot. There were also 2 pieces of some sort of white fish (probably snapper) to flavor the broth.
Sushi was of a very good quality. I would say a 8 out of 10. The rice, a little weak, probably a 7 out of 10. The nigiri consisted of:
1. tai: good quality but nothing exceptional
2. tuna zuke: very flavorful. just the right amount of shoyu and vinegar.
3. toro (somewhere below chu toro). nice
6. saba: a little fishy and not as oily as it can be
7. baby bluefin tuna: AMAZING. Simply melt in your mouth. I didn't like the garlic chip on top though...it almost overpowered the perfectness of the fish.
8. kanpachi: creamy, delicous
9. shimaaji: a little fishy and lacking the rim of pink fat.
10. house smoked coho salmon: so rich and smokey it tasted like pastrami.
Overall, as everyone has mentioned, excellent quality for a decent price. I'd probably rank the place a solid 7.5-8.0 out of 10 with Mori being a 9. The rice was a little weak and the selection was a tad limited. The saba and the shimaaji weren't on par with the best I've had.
However, the matsutake soup was stellar as was the baby bluefin tuna.
I thought that the atmosphere at Mori was very friendly...especially compared to Nishimura. Everyone was friendly. The rice was flavorful and each grain stood out. The fish was of a pristine quality. The o-toro that night was near white. The quality of the fish itself was a notch better than Kiriko. Both restaurants carry approximately 15 different types of fish. Mori's needlefish was stellar. The kohada at Mori also beat the kohada at Kiriko. Kiriko's fatty fish last night were all a bit off.
Kiriko's baby bluefin was amazing though. It's a shame they sauced it heavily and topped it with a fried garlic chip.
Ahhh sounds like you haven't had dobinmushi before until now which is typically a light but flavorful broth in a teapot and sometimes if you lift the lid you may see a tiny piece of mushroom, veg, and/or other item inside (depending on the size of the teapot). Fuki Sushi in Palo Alto (SF Bay Area) has matsutake dobinmushi on their regular menu, though they probably use the dry or frozen mushroom as opposed to fresh (it is in season now in Japan).