Blowfish Sushi to Die For- Is the Fugu Experience worth it? [San Francisco]
Have always wanted to have a "Fugu Experience". Blowfish restaurant has a 5 fugu dish package, that also includes premium saki and dessert. The dinner for two package is $280.
Is Blowfish and the Fugu experience worth it?
If you're someone who would jump out of the plane & skydive, then go for it.
It's no difference in my opinion.
The Fugu Package is off the menu. It was shared when I inquired about it and they order and ship the Fugu only when a request and need is there. It's overnighted from Japan to some lab that removes the poison and then next day aired to the restaurant (whole fish still in tacted)
The whole thing sounds a bit shady to me.
I am guessing the chances of getting a farmed non toxic specimen in these parts are a lot higher given the strong yen and weak US dollar. Farmed Japanese fugu is bred to be non poisonous (so it doesn't eat starfish and other shellfish/creatures that would create the toxins it is known for). And even if it were somewhat toxic, the fish would have had its organs removed and interior cleaned and clear of blood contamination before the government would allow it to leave the country. Chances are it is already vacuum sealed and flash frozen on top from the processing factories in JP.
Unless you know and can tell the difference between a wild specimen from Shimonoseki Japan (that is toxic and crazy expensive, maybe $400 to upwards of $700++ for a full multi course dinner in Japan), and can appreciate white fleshed Japanese fish in general, you might not like it as much. I'm not saying the restaurant is dishonest, but it is possible to use a substitute with a similar texture to pass it off...e.g. a distant cousin of the blowfish....e.g. kawahagi (filefish of some sort) where the liver is sweet and non poisonous. I'm almost convinced that at $280 for two, that fish is farmed and/or flash frozen with organs cleaned and/or toxin free to begin with. There was a place in the South Bay that offered something similar but with 3 courses...ditto with this sushi place in Seattle back in 2006 (who told me that they required 24 hours notice, primarily the time needed to defrost...)
Also the Huffington post writeup about Ame serving "fugu tea" is a bit overkill and overblown....hirezake (sake with fugu fin, lit on fire to burn in the flavor of the fin) has been served in SF Bay Area before at certain places, and nobody died from it.
I also don't like Blowfish Sushi, and didn't like it years ago when it was at its prime.
I've had fugu (hand carried from Tokyo), and it was okay. Not that exciting.
The fish they will serve you is going to be farmed, and probably was never poisonous in the first place. i'd suggest the OP call blowfish and ask.
the texture and taste of fugu is a bit like squid, but in fish-slice shape. a lot of the flavor comes from the ponzu sauce you dip it in. i think a lot of the appeal of a fugu feast is how they make many different courses from a single type of fish -- you'll probably experience some of that at Blowfish, so it might be worth trying for that aspect.
But I'd strongly recommend trying actually awesome sashimi and sake at sawa in sunnyvale instead for the same price.
we had crazy-expensive wild-caught tiger-fugu from shimonoseki at a famous place in tokyo a couple years ago. we liked it a lot and would go back, but decor / service / dishware / skill in preparing the side dishes was most of the appeal. i don't think fugu itself is more appealing / particularly different from a lot of other white-fish sashimi -- certainly not as drastic a difference as bad sashimi in the bay area and really good sashimi in the bay area.