Japanese Monkfish Liver in SF Area Restaurants?03/08
In the Boston area, my fav. sushi chef prepares a simple dish of great monkfish liver, simply presented w/ ponzu sauce and slivered daikon and shiso.
We had our annual lovely brunch at Sea Salt in Berkeley yesterday , but i was not interested in their preparation because I personally want the punch of considerable acid w/ my monkf. liver ('ankimono' in japanese i think.) While sea salt's presentation is handsome, i do not like uni, and their dish has very little acid (rice wine vinegar) so I didn't order it. So I'm sure lots of you out there love the sea salt dish, BUT is there another plate of this in the area that has my goal of punched up acid component, but not the ponzu i've already had?Much appreciate your feedback.
I've had great ankimo at Sebo and at Uzen.
I think any sushi bar could make it the way you want if you ask them to.
Anko - Monkfish
Kimo - liver
shortened to Ankimo.
Most Japanese sushi restaurants will have this item, either outsourced to a vendor, or they make their own. Some steam them in cylinders (hence the sausage like sticks) but refrigerated for some time so it ends up like a bit of a soft cheese for some preps.
The real real real good places steam them a different way. One of the Sebo chefs told me they do steam them, but not in cylinders but chunks as is, then as soon as the water boils, they turn the water off, cover the lid and let it sit. Not sure where the rice wine marination and other ingrdients factor in. I still think Ino Sushi in SF makes the best ankimo prep hands down (enjoy with or without rice and nori) and the end result is something rich, creamy, with hints of sweet, alchol (from the sake) though not overpowering but excellent all round without the guilt like foie gras. And Sebo's version comes a close second. Both steam their ankimo this way (or pseudo "French style" whatever that means). Ino's ankimo does not even need scallions, minced orange spicey ginger and ponzu sauce, it's perfect as is. I'd say the same for Sebo's.
Supposedly Hama-ko near the Haight does a nice version as some have said but you have to be lucky to catch them when they have it (or maybe it's reserved for the special customers). Stick with Ino or Sebo and you'll enjoy the best in SF.
Other decent ankimo preps in the Peninsula but nowhere near as good as Ino or Sebo can be found at Sakae Sushi in Burlingame, or Sushi Sam's in San Mateo.
re: Paul H
Inoue-san has a knack for picking out the best monkfish liver lobes. Of course his receipe is secret. His ankimo is definitely one of his greatest strengths and offerings and even when paired with his excellent sushi rice receipe, it's a smashing out of the ballpark winner. (Even Danny Dunham of Sebo is a huge fan of Ino Sushi, arguably coowner Michael Black is too).
re: K K
I believe Ino's ankimo has the edge, but you really can't go wrong either Ino or Sebo. Last time I visited Hama-ko (quite awhile ago now), there was nice ankimo there as well, but it would be easier to just go for Ino or Sebo.
Ino and Sebo both generally serve their ankimo as nigiri, occasoinally as gunkan but not with the ponzu prep that OP mentioned. IMO, the simpler preparation of the ankimo is much better, assuming you have a good product. Ino and Sebo's ankimo both have a complex flavor missing from most other restaurants' ankimo, and a ponzu-free prep really highlights the superiority of the product.
my all time favorite ankimo has been at Ino. I've enjoyed it at many other places but Ino was just amazing.