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Apr 19, 2007 04:01 PM

Ushi Wakamaru

Sat in front of Hideo and ordered one (or two) of everything while trying to keep up with him on the sake and the beer (he won). There were some firefly squid that were whole tiny squids that were about 2 inches long with some Japanese mustard to start. Wow! Several amazing varieties of shrimp, ankimo sushi, aji, o-toro, fantastic uni, sayori, kani, unagi, even a seared piece of wagyu beef that any steak house wishes it could serve. This place is simply amazing and on a par with Yasuda but with a relaxed atmosphere-we were listening to a Roy Buchanan cd. Incredibly good.

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  1. How did you order? Just an omakase? Oh and how much?

    1. That sounds a great deal like the $100 omakase my GF and I got from Hideo-san and his next-door itamae a month or so ago. The firefly squid really set the tone for a spectacular meal.

      The only beef I remember was actually a seared piece of wagyu sushi (ie, a slice of beef served nigiri-style). Is this how you had it, GG?

      One of my favorite dishes was the scallop served over a candle, in its shell, in bubbling broth with enoki mushrooms.

      People have raved about the chawan mushi (egg custard with shellfish) which is sort of a cross between cream of wheat and bouillabaisse (!). However, the flavor was more muted and delicate than I was expecting. Still a treat, though.

      All in all, one of the best meals I've had in the last year. Worth every penny.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Andrew P.

        The wagyu was a nigiri sushi though he seared the beef first. The chawan mushi is great. Hate to tell you that the sazae in the shell over the hibachi ain't no scallop. I believe it is a type of giant Japanese snail known as turban shell.

        1. re: guttergourmet

          We must've gotten something different. Mine was a 6-inch wide flat scallop shell, ridges and all, not a coiled snail-like turban shell. The meat itself was white and cylindrical, and sliced into rounds. If it wasn't a scallop, it was pretty damn close, and the shell was nothing like a snail's.
          I'd like to go back and check out this turban shell though. Sounds good.

          1. re: Andrew P.

            Hi Andrew and guttergourmet,

            I think you two had two different shell fish indeed. The one that Andrew had was probably a giant scallop. Did he also serve you the coral colored moon-shaped roe? if so, then no doubt it was the scallop.

            As guttergourmet mentioned, the sazae he had was a large shell fish (is it called conch in English? I don't even know....) I have attached a picture, which I think is what you had as tsuboyaki. One of my favorite dishes in the world!

            1. re: Andrew P.

              Yeah, that preparation for the scallop, often with butter as part of the broth, is called "hotate butter yaki" and is considered a Sapporo style dish in Japan. It's one of my favorite comfort foods- especially with the roe. I've most often seen it with enoki, some sliced onions, butter, splash of shoyu, salt and pepper (all in small quantities). It's tough to pass up raw scallop, but this is a great preparation.

        2. In the summer, ask for hamo, which is flown in from Kyoto. It's hard to find in NY, and it is GOOD

          1. Unless he has changed his ways, your firefly squid (hotaru ika) was probably served with a side of karashi-miso-ae ...
            a "dressing" of mustard, red miso and other "savory" ingredients.
            Another "spring-time" favorite here, rarely available elsewhere, is "noresore" (baby anago (sea eel)).

            The shiro-ebi ("white", actually translucent, shrimp) here is another rarely seen and notable selection.

            Hotategai (scallop), a winter-time favorite, is served here "cooked", over a brazier (shichirin).
            Mid-Atlantic coral usually cooks up pale orange/pink while European/Bering catch have a deep red hue.

            Sazae (top/turban shell), a summer-time treat along with "awabi" (abalone), is served here "tsuboyaki" (grilled in it's shell) with kombu-dashi.
            Taken "live" (if you're luck enough to find this), the "wata" (entrails) makes exceptional "gunkan" maki.

            1. I am confused. According to people around here, the place is a shrine on par with the best in NYC. When you go to their website it looks like any dinky little sushi joint. That part is fine as many true finds are like this. But their posted menu reads like any old boring sushi menu. Nowhere do they list the delicious items mentioned here or anywhere in this thread. Let alone pork belly, candle braised scallop and custard with shellfish.

              So a starving man with a taste for something special has to ask "What's up here"?

              2 Replies
                1. re: pulled pork

                  You'd be hard pressed to find any great sushi bar with a written menu that describes the really good stuff. When I'm trying to judge a sushi bar by its menu I consider it a good sign if the menu is boring and limitted.