Sato No Mo' !!; Sushi Island Here We Come; Report, Wakefield 11/28/06
- opinionatedchef Nov 30, 2006 02:42 AM
was it you, sal, who steered CHs to this place? well, whoever posted on island sushi recently, Thank You, Thank You, genuflect, genuflect!
FINALLY i have a sh---eating grin on my face because of some SUPERB sushi. i can't tell you how mellow and happy i feel;"shirawasen" as the japanese say.
of #1 importance- this chef/owner was formerly the talented but cantankerous employee-sushi chef at takeshima in cool. corner; ending an 8? yr run there 9 yrs ago. ownership suits him and he is a much friendlier fellow now; genuinely happy to serve sushi to passionate sushi lovers.
#2 - FYI: i am not a young american sushi neophyte who is bedazzled by spicy tuna rolls. i like superb TRADITIONAL authentically japanese sushi. and sushi island has it in spades, PLUS some v unusual traditional specialties.(BTW, I am not saying this to be snobbish; but rather, so that you know that americanizd maki creations are not what i look for in great sushi, and so you won't hear me talking about them.) tonight i had the best hamachi and unagi i have ever had in boston.
and that includes the new oishii and douzo, about both of which i posted long reports last month. the super white tuna (escolar) was also impeccable. the yamakake and agidashitofu were both terrific.the agedashitofu was wonderfully creamy tofu cubes, deep fried crispy and served in a shoyu-touched dashi broth, richer than other Boston versions i've enjoyed.
the 'special spinach', with a sweetish thick sesame sauce similar to the 'gomae' at takeshima, is a fav spinach preparation of ours.
new delights: monkfish liver, steamed, sliced and served cold in ponzu sauce. this was one of the biggest "WOW!!!"s of the night. it tastes a little like salmon. it is russet orange and the rich and silky texture of foie gras (yes, both ARE liver, but i'm guessing that these monkfish are not penned and force fed- but who knows? i'll have to ask next time....) Anyway, Sensai Junji says that season plays a big part in the quality of the monkfish liver, and now is a v good season for it. just amazing- do seek it out!
other specials: spanish mackerel (more like hamachi than regular mackerel); marinated squid w cod roe,and more.
the soft shell crab maki was also first rate(though it is an american phenomenon.)
at 7:30 on a wed. night, tonight, the sushi bar was 1/4full; just 3 couples. service for sake and d's non-sushi food was o.k. but not attentive enough for sake refills. but really, most of our service-attention was on our sushi chef, and obviously we were thrilled in that realm.
note- the chef/owner's wife is a jazz singer and her band plays at sushi island a few nights a week. parking not an issue.
what a delight. i can't believe that we have the good fortune to have our new 'go-to' place 10 minutes from home, AND with the best sushi i've had in boston!! hoorah and thank you to sushi island and the CHs who guided us there!!
I've seen monkfish liver at one of the fishmarkets in Cambridge (New Deal?) and have wanted to try it in a restaurant, so I'm very much looking forward to that. The mackerel (one of my big favs along with uni and hamachi) and the tofu, as well as everything else, also sound very good. Thanks.
I knew you would appreciate the quality, even tho' it might mean an additional 10 minute drive when you are exhausted. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
I have been curious about the monkfish liver so I'll have to check that out. Last time I was in the Chef reccomended the Spanish Mackerel and the Uni which were luscious.
Yup- it is great. Hardly ever go there, as most of my DC are not crazy about sushi. I came to love it after travelling to Japan years ago. I usually go to a small place in next door melrose and get to go orders to satisfy my cravings.
The Duck Walk is right next door to Sushi Island, and has great Thai food. Give it a try sometime.
I first went there about 6 years ago when the Boston Sushi Society organized an outing and it was in a teeeeny storefront on Princess St. It seemed like a long and confusing trek up from where I lived in Brookline at the time but that monkfish liver made it all worthwhile.
Since then, I've moved closer, they've moved to bigger digs and one of his chefs started his own place in Melrose (Sushi Corner). Sushi Island still remains the place I always go to when I want a consistently great meal. I've never been disappointed.
Well it's a mailing list where we discussed sushi tips and planned the occasional excursion. It's not active these days (or else I got booted from the email list). More info here:
but the old BSS webpage is gone- the founder moved away, and asked if anyone else wanted to take the reins and I don't think anyone took him up on that.
re: Chris VR
BTW: I was not the founder of the list although I did create the web pages and ran the list for 10 years. Charles
I think I have to take credit for the rec on Sushi Island. I am very pleased to hear that you enjoyed it. I lived in Japan for seven years and have been travelling there for over twenty years now and Sushi Island comes about as close as I have found in the Boston area to sushi in Japan. I wholeheartedly agree with you about "traditional Sushi" as opposed to "Americanized makis". I judge a sushi experience on the place's ability to do the traiditional things well.
The minkfish liver, called Ankimo in Japanese is a big favorite of minbe and Itamaya-san Junji does it well. Winter is the best season for it and Junji will not even offer it in the summer months. Another house specialty that he does that is not on the menu (you have to ask him for it) is Uni-Tempura. He wraps nori around fresh Uni (Sea Urchin)then dips the roll in a tempura like batter, deep frys it and then slices it into small circles and serves it with a Ponzu type dipping sauce. If you enjoy Uni give this preparation a try. I also like his Uni served with a raw quail egg yolk on the top. He does with both Uni and Tobiko both of which are delicious.
Overall, Sushi Island is a really great place that is a big hit with all the Japanese visitors my company gets. Plus there is ample parking at no charge.