The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Friday, 23 January 2009

Sushi @ Fukuzushi, Tokyo

Last week, the tech guys in Rob's office went out to dinner, and although spouses were invited, I was the only 'spouse' who turned up. With a baby in tow. Oh well, at least I got to know a little more of the guys who work with Rob everyday while enjoying good food that I didn't have to pay for. Although I'm now getting used to bringing 3-mth-old Zak out for meals, I have to admit that I'm finding it a bit strange that it seems like we're the only parents in Japan to take such a young baby out to restaurants.

Said dinner was at Fukuzushi, a sushi bar in gaijin-central of Roppongi. Not surprisingly, there were many non-Japanese patrons there for dinner. The decor was nice enough to draw the upper class, and service was pretty good, but when it came down to the food, I have to say that I don't think the food justifies the price tag. I suppose that is to be expected if you insist on eating in Roppongi where the main target audience is well-off expats. Roppongi is a good area to find decent international cuisine, but I think it's better to look elsewhere for better and cheaper Japanese fare. That's not to say that the sushi was bad quality at this restaurant. Au contraire - the quality of the seafood was pretty good, but I'll stick to my favourite sushi place in Tsukiji if I want sushi (it's much closer to our apartment anyway). I did enjoyed the lively company and the chance to socialise, even if it was a miserably cold night out.

You can order a-la-carte or set course at Fukuzushi, and the set courses require a minimum of two orders. For simplicity, our table went for the 6,000 yen course, for which you get a salad, sashimi, sushi, miso soup and dessert. The sashimi and sushi came out platter-style for four people, and I definitely ate more at our end of the table because it seems that the other two (American) guys weren't as enthusiastic about the food as I was. They probably would say they didn't mind eating sushi, but I, on the other hand, *heart* sushi! The other half of our group had two Japanese guys so leftovers was not a problem at that end. It has been more than one week since this dinner happened, so my memory on the names of the sushi is a bit fuzzy, but I think I have most of them correct:

Salad - not much to say here, it was a pretty ordinary and forgettable bowl of salad:

Sashimi - (clockwise from the dark pink flesh at the top) maguro (tuna), tai (sea bream/snapper), aburi-toro (lightly grilled fatty tuna), ebi (prawn), katsuo (bonito), and buri (yellowtail), and in the centre is kani (crab). I particularly enjoyed the fatty aburi-toro, with its fragrant lightly-charred surface and melt-in-your-mouth texture. I would have much preferred ama-ebi which is smaller and sweeter than the ebi on this plate.

Sushi - (left to right from the top row) anago (conger eel), tamago (egg roll), ikura (salmon roe), sake (salmon), buri (yellowtail), maguro (tuna, perhaps bintoro?), and chuu-toro (medium fatty tuna). I loved the slightly charry flavour in the anago, and for some reason, I really enjoyed the salmon.

The guys at our end of the table were wondering what else to have (they probably wouldn't if they'd eaten all of their share of sashimi and sushi!), so a few more pieces of sushi were ordered for those who wanted to eat more. I was already pretty full, but once again there were leftovers on this plate (who wouldn't want to eat uni (sea urchin roe/gonads)?) so I helped finish it. One of the Japanese guys took the other leftover uni sushi, saying he's only eating it because it's the most expensive item on that plate. I guess it requires a bit of an acquired taste even with the Japanese people. Meiji-maguro (baby bluefin tuna - pink one at the top) and saba (mackeral - left on second row, not the uni) were o-susume (recommended) items by the staff perhaps because they are in season now.

Dessert - milk jelly with a caramel sauce. This was very light, did not taste very milky (a good thing for me), and not too sweet. A nice way to end the meal (as much as I like rich Anglo-European desserts, I've always much preferred to end a big meal with something light):

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