Monday, June 24, 2019

Sushi Shinosuke

Our road trip through Central Japan was not meant to be just about food, but turned out we still had to twist our itinerary slightly to fit in a couple lunch reservations we made prior to our departure. First of those was at Sushi Shinosuke, the 10-seat sushi-ya in Kanazawa on the second day of our trip.

We took out our rental car in the morning in Nagoya and arrived at Kanazawa 3 hours later, slightly ahead of schedule. The restaurant is located in the west side of the town away from the touristy area. As we walked in, a few other groups of customers were there eating already, and they seated us right in the middle of the L-shaped counter with Chef Kenji Maeda working right behind. Nothing special about the décor which resembled just about any other high-end sushi-ya, but it’s spacious and comfortable, compared to one in metropolitan like Tokyo.

As we settled with a carafe of sake served, chef suggested we start with some sashimi dishes, which we obliged. We first began with a pair of seasonal white fish served with soy sauce and a dab of plum puree. I like the delicate texture of kisu (whiting) but prefer the karei (flounder) for the flavor. The awabi (abalone) came in decent size, was gently cooked and served in thin slices plus the crunchy skirt bit. It’s served with a series of condiments and we were encouraged to mix and match. The steamed abalone came in very mild flavor and a firm/chewy texture (I can’t quite say I adore that 100%), and I thought the liver-ponzu sauce worked interestingly well, more for the acidity rather than the intense liver flavor that some might expect.

Chef Kenji-san then passed us a small glass bowl with a small pile of uni/sea urchins (which he carefully spooned in from the wooden box) along side with a ceramic bowl with sheets of nori. The bafun uni was slightly cured in sea water giving it a hint of minerals along with the clean umami flavor – it’s simple but tasty.

Time to move onto sushi as we saw the chef getting the ingredients ready. Altogether nine different pieces were served – starting with the yari-ika (spear squid) all the way to a couple of maki (or hand rolls). A few of them stood out. Nodoguro (blackthroat seaperch) is the specialty fish in this area (well along the coastline of Japan Sea in general) and the one we had has excellent flavor (except slightly sinewy in some part). The ama-ebi (sweet shrimp) was served with its own roes piled on top, and that did gave the piece an extra dimension of taste and texture.

Well, I was a bit mixed with the neta at the place. I like the deep vinegar flavor and the slightly warm temperature, but Chef Kenji-san opted a firm texture – almost borderline undercooked – which I thought was a bit too hard for me.  But that worked best with the piece of chu-toro (which came after the leaner cut), slightly torched for the smoky hint and let the oil came out, combining well with the slight sweetness from the rice. I loved the fatty texture of aji (horse mackerel), served with chopped scallions and ginger on top with a gently brush of sauce, and baigai (Babylon shell) reminded me somewhat of the awabi dish we had earlier, but this was softer (and more flavorful).

We finished with two hand-rolls passed to us by chef, including the chopped negi-toro (scallions and fatty tuna) and the unagi (sea-eel) and cucumber. The unagi piece was a bit hot to hold onto but it’s the one I liked more with a balanced flavor.

Been craving for sushi for a while even before the trip, so this was exactly what I needed.

More photos here:

When? June 8 2019
Where? Sushi Shinosuke, 3-73 Irie, Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan
鮨 志の助, 石川県金沢市入江 3-73
Menu Highlights? Everything sushi
加茂錦純米吟醸 - 新潟県 加茂錦酒造
Kamonishiki Junmai Ginjo, Kamonishiki Shuzo, Niigata Prefecture

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