Tag Archives: raw

Nikuzushi: Can’t Eat This in America

Michelle and I went wandering Ebisu, looking for a restaurant we had on our intinerary. We walked back and forth along the block, where the restaurant was supposed to be located, but it looked like there was only one restaurant on the block. Looking through the window we could see it was serving noodles , not what we were looking for after two noodle museums. We decided to poke our heads in and ask where our restaurant was located.

We found this. It was a narrow corridor of restaurants, an indoor alley of street vendors. The air smelled of so many flavors, grilled meats and seafood, potent broths, and even some cigarette smoke. We charged forward finally finding our restaurant, Nikuzushi.

This place specializes in meat sushi. While their raising and handling of the animals used is much cleaner than America’s animal factories, there are still inherent risks. A year ago some children died after eating raw meat, so pork and beef are no longer allowed completely raw.

This is pork. It’s not raw, but this amount of pink in the meat would probably scare a lot of people back home. Very tender. I’d like some of this meat in a sandwich back home. Come on, Subway!

The meat on the right is beef, which looks more like roast beef. What’s on the left, however, is something you probably won’t find on a menu in the states. That is horse. A bit chewy, like any raw piece of meat. It’s lighter than beef, but beef is probably what I’d compare it most closely with, although some people say it’s also a bit like venison.

Ground horse, topped with a raw egg.

I liked the horse as a thin slice of meat. Tenderize it by grinding it up and stir in a raw egg, and you have a creamy, delicious dish. The texture on this is out of this world too. It’s soft and delicate, almost melting in your mouth.

The owner is super cool, and although his English is very limited, he helped us out and treated us like any of his other customers. If you get to Tokyo, please check this place out. Expand your mind and try not to think of food as normal or weird. It’s just different.

PS. It helps not to think of Sea Biscuit or Mr. Ed while you’re here.

 

The Playground: Omakase

Michelle and I were fortunate enough to get to check out The Playground’s  Omakase-Style Seafood Dinner. Some pretty unique dishes were in the lineup, and we were excited.

They had some Japanese brews that aren’t very common in the states available to pair with the meal. Hitachino’s Real Ginger Brew is very light and refreshing.

Tai. This dish was inspired by the ocean with sand, surf, and even some seaweed.

Albacore. The mint and tangerine with the fish was a great flavor combination, fresh and sweet.

Mackerel. Fried soba noodle gave this dish an awesome texture contrast.

Pork belly. The only land animal in the meal, with a root vegetable sauce of carrot and soil. Get it?

Skip jack. Pretty lean piece of fish here compared to tuna, complimented with some fat from an egg sauce, done like an aioli.

This torch came out a couple of times in the meal.

Octopus. The broth it’s sitting on is a broth made from Doritos. You heard me. It tastes like ranchero sauce with a faint taste of corn at the end. Combined with the octopus, apple slices, and avocado, this dish had huge texture and flavor.

Watermelon. Combine that with carbonated pineberries, powdered condense milk, and a sprinkle of pop rocks. This dessert was a literal flavor explosion in my mouth.

The Playground is doing some pretty great things with food, but the fact that the chefs are given liberty to produce special meals like this in addition to that is fantastic. Compliments to Chef Frank DeLoach on a fantastic meal.