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Nov 23, 2008 07:55 PM

Ask Sushi Man

I've read some brogs on sushi in here and noticed that some of you have wrong knowledge or info about sushi. I've been making sushi over 30 yrs in LA and more in Japan before. I'm here to point out few and give you guys the right info.
1. WARM RICE; It seems to me it's a trend in LA that good sushi must accompny with warm rice.
This is false. Rice should be room temparature so that it doesn't over power each fishes delicate flavor not mention it may warm temparature of chilled fish.
2.OMAKASE; Omakase in Japan means chef's choice of meal suitable for his long time regular customer not the chef's choice of best or unique items of the day. If you are long time customer of that chef, he will know what you like, how much you can eat and most importnatly how much you can spend usually. It doesn't mean pre fix meal nor sky is the limit rip off meal. You have to eat his food at least more than few times in order to ask him omakase. I have fuuny story you may like about this but save it for next time.
I know history about sushi, manners not mention how to make good sushi etc. You can ask me any questions you have about sushi or you can challange me about sushi knowledge. I know I can answer most of the q's. Over all I'm here to help you guys educate and have fun with you sushi fins.
Here is the sushi fyi; Modern style sushi was founded about 350 yrs ago in Edo [ Tokyo now] by Mr Kobei. He was a drop out chef and he only knew how to fillet fish and make rice at the drop out point. So he created the sushi to sell at his food stand to make living. At that time soy sauce was in the community bowl on the counter. Yak!! ha ha. He broke down common meal style[ Sashimi plate and bowl of rice] in to bite size snack.[ Like Taco stand--Smart ha?]

Waiting for your response. Let's have fun!!

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  1. What's your opinion on Yama Sushi on the Lake in Mission Viejo?

    1 Reply
    1. re: JAB

      Hi You Are the 1st one. Well unfotunately I never eaten any place in Mission Viejo. The girl I had crush on 28 yrs ago was from there though. That's the closest I can relate to Mission Viejo. Struck out Sorry.

    2. Do the sushi chefs get angry if you put ginger on your sushi or mix wasabi onto your soy sauce or rub your chopsticks together? These are all things I have heard are offensive. I look forward to your thoughts.

      3 Replies
      1. re: PinotPlease

        Wasabi and ginger for the same reason. To him or any chef trained good in Japan feels that you are destroying the sesnsitive flavor of fish he is proud to serve you. That's the reason he ggets angry. He thinks you disrespect his work. It's just different view towards food we have here and in Japan. It's similar thing that in europe ,they don't have salt and pepper on the table. Get it? Sushi already has decent amount of wasabi in it. You can only mix wasabi in to soy sauce when you have sashimi. Sashimi doesn't have wasabi in it right? But some part sushi chef is wrong. Why sushi is always srved in 2 pieces? You eat first one the way it is only with soy sauce. 2nd piece you are able to adjust to your liking. If the chef still get angly after that, he got ego problem. Chop stics case; It just bad manner. But you have to in order to avoid small wood piaces stuck in your mouth right? You do it under the counter so that nobody sees that. You have to hide the action to avoid pieces of your chop sticks ends up on other's food. Ok?

        1. re: bigtuna27

          sadly, many sushi chef in the US are convinced americans do not want wasabi on their sushi, or only use wasabi by mixing it in soy sauce, or they just think that not being japanese americans wouldn't know any better anyway, but they do not put wasabi on the nigiri. it's maddening, and insulting

          1. re: thew

            I no linger assume it is there. I check then add between rice and fish.

      2. Hi bigtuna,

        It was kind of you to offer to answer questions. I have some for you. What affordable (I'm a student at UCLA) sushi restaurants do you feel offer the freshest, best quality fish? Also, I've recently gotten into making my own sushi at home and was wondering if you knew of a place I could buy shiso (japanese mint)? I love it with scallop sushi but haven't been able to find it in any regular markets. Any other tips you might want to share would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

        8 Replies
        1. re: shoegal

          Hi. Shoegal
          Closest place for you to buy Shiso is probably "Nijiya Market". It's on Sawtell blvd right before Olympic blvd east side in the 3 story biz building . 1st floor. They open untill 11pm I think. About sushi restaurant; They are all some how pricy ,if the quality is good. I don't know your budget so best bet is to hit the happy hour. And settle with california roll or spicytuna. Try Chaya Venice's Happy hour It's pretty good and You can meet the good looking boys and girls too .ha ha.

          1. re: bigtuna27

            Shoegal, I don't know how much room you have but shiso is very easy to grow at home. Just be sure to grow in a container as it's very prolific. It's good in a lot of things.

            1. re: Richard 16

              Good dea. I forgot mention. If you grow in the yard ,it'll grow big. If you want to do it in container pick a large and deep one. 10" and up. if you want to have soft leaves like you get in the market, you have to make it like hot house so that it can avoid wind. Wind make the leaves get harder. There are red shiso too. Don't put green kind close to red kind or colored Basil.The color of the leaves turn to red. Shiso is a Basil family. You can buy baby plant at nursely near by around spring time. When they blossom pinch flowers. Other wise it'll die soon. Good luck

              1. re: bigtuna27

                Thanks! That's a wonderful idea... I will definitely check out my local nursery. I love Shiso, so I am very excited to grow it. Would you know what the plant is called? Is just called a shiso plant?

                1. re: shoegal

                  Green shiso the one you like. There is red shiso too. little different flavor. I like to smell red shiso but like to eat green one. Good luck.

                  1. re: shoegal

                    There are several kinds - green and red (more purple in color, actually) being the biggest distinction. It's also called beefsteak leaf, but more commonly Perilla.

                    The flower buds and seeds are used as well, but I never have. One type of red is used in making umeboshi plums. Korean perilla (kkaennip) generally has larger leaves; green on top with a reddish "blush" underneath.

                    The bigger leaves of any type are tougher; chiffonade them They make great tempura, and lend great flavor to Kim Chee.

                    1. re: Richard 16

                      hmmmm shiso.... is that the herb i can't identify in my vietnamese summer rolls? Or is it mainly a japanese ingredient? On a side note... if it's not shiso, can anyone tell me what it is???? It has a bit of a bite, and looks like a dark lettuce (i think, it's shredded). It has perplexed me for months!!!

                      1. re: kubasd

                        Shiso is mainly Japanese and Korean, although I have seen them in SE Asian food stores. The spring rolls generally have Thai basil, and sometimes, mint. The basil is similar to western basil. If you've had Pho (Fer), it' s usually served on the side with sprouts and lime (and hoisin and a hot sauce, such as sriracha).

                        applehome -

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. I have a few questions:
              1. Sometimes I see big tip jars on sushi bars and sometimes I see patrons tipping sushi chefs outright. Is this required? Do sushi chefs get part of tip from my bill?
              2. When is it OK to offer sushi chefs a drink?

              6 Replies
              1. re: citizenx

                Hi. Q #1 No It's not required to tip sushi man outright. It depends on the system each restaurant have.Tthey'll usually share tips at the end of night with wait personal. Some customer appriciated the food and service that sushi man gave so sometime they tip extra directry to the chef beside the tip they left on the tab. The tip jar probably for that perpose. Direct tip usually shared among sushi man only.Q#2 Just ask them. There are no right time set. If you do biggining of the dinner, they'll probably love you more and you may get freebee. If you don't want them to think you are expecting freebee, at the end or middle of the dinner may be better idea. In japan most of the places prohibit sushi man to take drinks from customer because it may affect thier performance. You know some of them can't hundle drinks well. Not me though. ha ha

                1. re: bigtuna27

                  Ok, Mr. Sushi Man. What happens if you sit at the bar and there's no tip jar? How do you tip in that situation? Do you give it to the waitress and say it's for the chefs? Do you just leave it at the bar? Or does it mean that tipping is not expected?

                  And if you do tip the sushi chef, how much do you tip? Is it 10% of the bill? A flat tip?

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    Some place thinks it's not polite to have tip jar on the bar.I'm one of them. Just hand it directly to sushi chef and tell him it's for him only. They like extra tips of cause. you probably tip on the bill 15~20 % already so amount is up to you. i had few customer said waiteress was hollable but I was good. So they tip few backs for them and gave me a lot and said not to share with waitress. It's all up to you how you do it. You wanna come back and get even better service from him? Then tip him good.

                    1. re: bigtuna27

                      Bigtuna-san, how do we leave tip for itamae when we pay with credit card?

                      One time, there were four of us for sushi. We sat at counter, had two large beers and had lots of good sushi (especially aoyagi/live orange clam). We figured $200-300 for bill; it was only $85 (we asked and waitress double checked with itamae), so we left $100 tip on credit card. Does the staff know it's for itamae? Of course, this was a nice, proper sushi-ya, so no tip jar.

                      Do I need to put itamae tip in otoshidama envelope? haha Thank you.

                      1. re: OCAnn

                        If it's true,you got a hec of a deal. Probably they shared with all of them. Come to my restaurant. ha ha.

                        1. re: bigtuna27

                          Of course, all this is not a sushi tradition but rather an American thing. In Japan, there is no tipping, either at sushi restaurants or anywhere else.