If you live in the Los Angeles area and consider yourself a sushi lover, there is a fabulous restaurant waiting for you. A word of caution however: if you eat here, it may ruin other sushi restaurants for you! I can hardly find another sushi restaurant that lives up to my standards since I started going to Matsuhisa's.
Matsuhisa is located on "restaurant row" in Beverly Hills. The prices match the location. When I am having a good year, it usually means that I have been lucky enough to eat there once! The first time I ever saw Nobu Matsuhisa was on the Martha Stewart show (on Food Network). I had no idea who he was, but he prepared a dish that looked so scrumptious that I immediately went and downloaded it from the internet. It was a dish called "new style sashimi."
For those of you who have enjoyed this dish, your mouth is probably watering like mine. Nobu's new style sashimi is different from regular sashimi because it explodes with flavor. No plain ol' sliced fish on a plate here. The fish (your choice, I've ordered yellowtail, tuna, salmon, and spanish mackerel) is first sliced extremely thin. Next, a small amount of minced ginger is dabbed on top of the fish, followed by a few tiny pieces of julienned ginger and a few chives. After a few sesame seeds are sprinkled on top, yuzu sauce is lightly drizzled over the dish. Yuzu are a Japanese citrus fruit that are about the size of a tangerine and quite tart. In the US, fresh yuzu are extremely difficult to find, but the bottled juice from the fruit is usually acceptable for most dishes.
Now, here comes the most important part of the process. Just before serving, a combination of olive oil and sesame oil is heated almost to the point of smoking, and then drizzled on top. This last step is so important because it takes all of the individual ingredients and fuzes them together. The fish is still raw and now is a flavor sensation in your mouth. No wasabi or soy sauce necessary at our table, thanks!
For anyone who is adventurous enough to prepare sushi at home (I guess I am too chicken still!), here is the recipe. As for me, I will gladly pay $18 for this piece of heaven in my mouth. At least once a year anyway. And if you think this dish sounds good, you should try: Kobe beef with asian mushrooms, sizzling when they bring it to your table in dish straight from the oven, still rare in the middle but seared to perfection on the outside; lobster ceviche, crisp and fresh tasting with its lime juice and veggies; and finally another favorite of mine, yellowtail with thinly sliced jalapenos and fresh cilantro.
I hope that you all get a chance to enjoy a meal at Matsuhisa's (boy, I sound like a paid advertisement...Nobu if you're reading this, I will work for food!). Join me tomorrow when I explore yet another facet of the foodie: foodie films.
18 ounces red snapper fillet
1 teaspoon finely grated garlic
1 (3-inch) knob ginger, peeled and julienned very thinly and plunged briefly in cold water
Menengi or chives
2 teaspoons white sesame seeds, toasted
Yuzu Soy sauce, recipe follows
1 carrot curl, for garnish
New Style Oil, recipe follows
Cut fish fillet into paper-thin slices using the usu-zukuri cutting technique: Place fillet horizontally on chopping board with skin side up and tail end to left, steadying that side with fingers of left hand. Hold very sharp, long, thin-bladed pointed knife so that the top, blunt edge is inclined sharply to the right and, from the left side of fillet, start cutting paper-thin slices. Keep the blade at an acute angle to achieve a clean cut across the grain. The fish is sliced in one drawing stroke. Let the weight of the knife do the work as you draw the blade back toward yourself. Keep fingers of left hand clear.
Arrange fish slices on serving plate. On each slice dab a little grated garlic and place ginger spears and a few menengi or chives. Sprinkle sesame seeds over fish. Drizzle yuzu soy sauce over top of entire arrangement and garnish with carrot curl.
Just prior to serving, heat the New Style Oil in a small frying pan until just before it begins to smoke. Pour it over fish slices and serve.
This recipe may also be followed using shellfish, beef or tofu.
Yuzu soy sauce: 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon yuzu juice (best if fresh, but bottled available in Asian markets) 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce
Combine in small bowl.
New Style Oil: 6 tablespoons pure olive oil 2 teaspoons sesame oil