China and my brother invited us to join them last Saturday in Sakura Yakiniku. We’re not really sure, but apparently, they’re the same group as our fave Japanese resto, Izakaya Kikufuji (still not certain if they really are under the same group). The first thing I noticed about this place, is that it seems like time stopped and this shop looked like the interiors were done in the 70′s or something, I think this place has been around for a long time.
We had some sashimi — Chutoro (Medium Fat Blue Fin Tuna Belly), this is one of the higher grades of tuna sashimi. Unlike what most people think, the more expensive grades of tuna are the lighter colored ones rather the deep red color. The most light and most highly prized of which is the Otoro…the chutoro is found just in the peripheral of this prized sashimi. It is tender and has a slightly creamy note when very fresh. It has that melt in your mouth feel (well it better! considering the price we paid for a mere 7 slices!).
Uni (Sea Urchin) – you can tell that this was very, very fresh. It had an unusual sweetness and yes, another melt-in-your mouth feel. It was really creamy, without a single hint of fishiness! I didn’t even really have to dip it into the soy sauce. I used to find this so sick back in the 80′s, but I realized that maybe most restaurants just didn’t have that kind of access to fresh sea urchin, especially in those hole-in-wall Jap places we used to eat in.
Then came the tiny sidedishes…nothing really to write home about. Kimchi wasn’t so great, but at least it was fermenting.
The Beef was good! It was nice and fatty with that creamy, melt-in-your mouth texture. And it was sliced so thinly that it was absolutely tender. I ate this rare. Yum! The marinade they used was soy sauce, with a bit of mirin and leeks. Melt-in-your-mouth means fatty…fatty means tasty & delicious! Sorry guys, I am a big fan of fat! The sauce was a mix-your-own type of thing and it included garlic pasta and this fermented bean. It was really good and gave an entirely new dimension to an otherwise boring yakiniku sauce.