Thursday, July 06, 2006

Breakfast at Sushizanmai, Tsukiji


An essential part of any visit to the Tsukiji Fish Market is of course getting sushi for breakfast, fresh from that morning's catch. There are a number of 24-hour shops interspersed in the outer market, so we randomly picked one called Sushizanmai, which incidentally turned out to be a rather big chain. Nonetheless, they source directly from Tsukiji every morning, and the meal had some pleasant surprises in it.


We got the usual requisite items, ranging from negi-toro, aji, samon, and the like, which all turned out fine. They had something called me-negi, or "chive buds," on the menu too, which was new to me but nice and different. And of course, we had to get a couple of the flagship items, such as the jo-anago saltwater eel and the ever rich otoro, whose fat just melted like butter (and was not too unreasonable at 398 Yen or US$3.30 a piece).


The clear standout of the meal though, was when the otoro was taken to the next step in the aburi-toro in the form of a handheld blowtorch that the sushi chef used to sear the tuna (and more importantly, the fat). Oh, that provided such a pleasurable twist that we nearly shouted for joy. It made the sushi look more like beef than fish, and honestly when tasting it, it was hard to tell that it was fish tasted more like butter or foie gras. This was something that I did not want to dip in soy sauce, lest it overpower the taste of the fish itself. But we did order quite a few more of these, as they were well worth the 398 Yen/piece price tag.

Kani-jiroFinally, we got a soup to close off the meal. Normally I would have gotten clams, but the crab kani-jiro looked rather interesting too, so I grabbed that one instead. Unfortunately, this was the only letdown in the whole meal, as the crab was surprisingly tasteless and dry. Oh well. This was still a great way to kick off the day.

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