Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Sushi Night in Fukuoka

We spent most of our time in Fukuoka exploring the casual food scene but we did have a more serious sushi meal one evening at a restaurant called Sushi Kuma. 

The restaurant was located in Daimyo not far from the busy Tenjin District in the neighborhood lined with hipster cafes and shops, resembling Tokyo’s Harajuku and Omotesando areas. Not hard to find with the guidance of Google Map, and we arrived right on time at the shop in a relatively quiet street corner and walked right in. The décor was simple, with a long L-shaped counter which can seat 14 with Chef Takashi Kumagai being the only one working behind.  

We began with something simple, a few pieces served as sashimi, including the Hirame (flounder) served in thin slices, Hiramasa (yellow amberjack) served in thicker slice with richer flavor. Then it was the saba which was slightly grilled, chu-toro (fatty tuna) with excellent texture and fatty taste, and then tako (octopus), with a small piece from the tentacle served. 

We continued with a few more cooked dishes. The bowl of chawanmushi was served with the silky soft egg custard and the seasonal tara shirako (Pacific Cod fish milt) as filling. A piece of unagi (freshwater eel) was steamed and served with eggplant and kiku-ankake sauce, a thicky starchy sauce with garland chrysanthemum. Another steamed dish came next, and this time, a piece of kabu (Japanese round turnip) with zuwaigani ankake sauce (snow crab in starchy gravy), pairing the winter seasonal vegetable (kabu) with the seasonal seafood (zuwaigani) 

Next were the sushi courses. Considered the price, they were of great quality. We started with Hirame (flouder) this time in a thicker cut than the piece served as appetizer, then Kohada (gizzard shad). The shari was prepared on the firm side with mild acidity and served in near room temperature. I thought the piece of Maguro (tuna) with excellent texture merged perfectly with the flavor of the shari. The Yari-ika was another impressive piece, with the piece of cuttlefish carefully carved with the spiky shape and gently grilled on the outside before making into a nigiri sushi. I found it unusual to see uni (sea urchin) turned into a maki roll, but I thought it was decent. And to end, a piece of anago sushi served nigiri style followed by the piece of egg custard cake. (Kuruma Ebi and Otoro were the other two pieces served in between). 

The restaurant have a good selection of local sakes offered in great price, at around 300-600 yen per glass. We thought it was a typo when we first saw the list! Went through a number of those based on chef’s recommendations. The Ubusuna Yamadanishiki was the most interesting one, floral, sweet with a little effervescent texture made with locally grown sake rice. 

Service was nice and friendly – they even wrote some of the more uncommon dishes down in English so they could explain to us being the only non-locals at the counter table. Overall it was a lovely dinner. 

More photos here:

When? November 26 2022
Where? Sushi Kuma 鮨 くま, 1-chome-6-13 Daimyo Chuo-ku Fukuoka
Menu Highlights? Turnip with starchy sauce of snow crab
Komagura Munoyaku Yamada Nishiki Junmai – Morinokura Shuzo, Fukuoka Prefecture
独楽蔵 無農薬山田錦六十(特別純米)- 福岡県 杜の藏酒造
2021 Ubusuna Yamadanishiki - Hananoka Shuzo, Kumamoto Prefecture
2021 産土 山田錦 - 熊本県 花の香酒造
Tanakarokujigo Yamadanishiki Junmai – Tanaka Shuzo, Fukuoka Prefecture
田中六五糸島産山田錦純米酒 - 福岡県 田中酒造
Web: (Tabelog)

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