Teraoka (てら岡), Fukuoka/Hakata
If there was one thing I had to have in Fukuoka, it was the live squid dish that makes up the ika-zukushi menus at a number of washoku seafood places in the Fukuoka area. The live squid itself is called ikizukuri (prepared live). As I perused my food guidebook, it looked like Teraoka offered a good quality ika-zukushi set for a good value. We decided to check it out for lunch. The ika-zukushi set isn’t on the lunch menu that they give you during the day, so I asked about it, and sure enough, they offer it all day (you need to get the regular dinner menu). For 3995 yen, you get 9 courses.
The first set of courses: http://static.flickr.com/141/318265186_f84e461f21_o.jpg
I realize that I’m blanking on these starter dishes, probably because I was so excited about the ika sashimi which followed it. The far right is obviously mentaiko (Teraoka’s homemade), the center item, I believe, is jellyfish in a light vinegary sauce, and the item on the left looks like ika (squid) strips, but I’m not sure if that was it.
The ikizukuri squid sashimi: http://static.flickr.com/129/318265206_d783f02a83_o.jpg
This is what I was waiting for. Prepared live is exactly right. The squid was still partly alive, its tentacles flapping lightly each time we disturbed the body by lifting out the strips of sashimi. And when you look closely at the head, you can see that its circulatory system was still operating. Cool stuff. As you would expect of squid sashimi, it’s a little chewy, and a bit squishy, but it was also kind of crunchy from being so fresh. I was very happy. As we were nearly finished with the sashimi, the waitress came by to pick up the body to finish off the cooking: we had a choice of how we wanted the tentacles prepared. Among the choices were deep frying either as tempura or kara-age, and a couple other choices (grilled? and something else?). I chose kara-age. http://static.flickr.com/132/322469278_04341e51df_o.jpg
Can you imagine fried calamari as fresh as this? I couldn’t have been more content.
Grilled iwashi mentaiko: http://static.flickr.com/142/318265245_567b62e5d3_o.jpg
While we were waiting for the tentacles to be prepared, we received the next course of grilled iwashi-mentaiko. While I really enjoyed the version at Tsukasa (the yatai) especially for its rusticity, this one was meticulously prepared, and not an ounce of mentaiko was lost. That first bite of the fish bulging with mentaiko was absolutely heavenly.
Ika meshi (squid sashimi and raw egg over rice): http://static.flickr.com/124/318265268_de04a95041_o.jpg
The final savory course is the rice course, and this ika meshi was a donburi of rice with generous slices of squid (I think the last part of that squid, from what would be the underside of the body), a raw egg yolk, and a lot of kizami nori (shredded seaweed). With a pour of soy sauce, you mix the whole thing together like bibimbap (but not much), and enjoy. The egg yolk adds the right amount of richness, and the nori adds a nice salty and umami addition to the rice.
I wasn’t expecting much for dessert, and getting pretty full, I thought I’d take a few bites and be done. But this soy milk custard really hit the spot after this meal. It was very silky and the hint of fruit was a good backbone for the custard, since it wasn’t excessively sweet. A fine conclusion to a wonderful meal.
Photo of the restaurant: http://static.flickr.com/134/318265330_aabae23279_o.jpg
Teraoka’s website: http://www.teraokagroup.co.jp/
First of all, you've really opened my eyes to the wonders of Fukuoka. I'm a pretty Tokyo-centric guy, and these Fukuoka posts inspire me to travel there...Ok that said, I'm always a bit uncomfortable with the whole live and twitching thing in Japan. What bothers me is that it is semi-cruel and done for spectacle many, not all, the time. I do love fresh seafood though, so I guess I'm not panning it totally... Anywho, this course is really, in a dramatic way, incredibly delicious looking. I love the economy of the whole thing, utilizing all body parts. Kara-age was the way to go. Ge-so age, right? And this whole iwashi-mentaiko thing is new, but exciting to me. Ika-meshi should be a standard item everywhere. I think this is the most appetizing to me...Great post.