Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The night I got my JR passes, I prolonged the happy-Japanese mood by treating myself to a late dinner at Itacho in Ion.

I had:

Super-jumbo scallop sushi (looks obscenely huge, draping itself over the tiny ball of rice - but so sweet and delicious!)

Fatty tuna with spring onion 'warship' aka the usual negitoro gunkan (minced toro looked pale but tasted good. Would still prefer the negitoro at the usual Ichiban outlets)

California roll (nothing to shout home about but serviceable. Mayo dribbled on the outside instead of in the roll)

Some clam (okay, this is lame but I cannot for the life of me, remember the name of the this clam except that it is a seasonal dish. I liked it. The texture is not rubbery hard, firm to the bite and sweetish in taste)

Squid and mentaiko warship (hmm, not sure why they call this a warship. Squid was very soft, squishy soft and the mentaiko lent a good spicy kick)

And finally, the two stars of the day...

Wagyu beef sushi (my first time tasting wagyu beef, let alone raw and in sushi form. Famed for its generous marbling of fat, the wagyu was buttery and melt-in-the-mouth. There was only the teensiest whiff of gamey-meet, enough to remind you that this is raw beef. The taste was very rich and while I enjoyed it, I think it can never replace the otoro as the emperor)

Otoro sushi (I was in two minds over whether I should have this first or the wagyu but I was glad I kept this to the last. Lush slab with fat veining through the portion, it was heavenly. Everytime I eat otoro, instinctively my eyes would shut and all my tastebuds just go on wild red alert and the explosion of taste and texture that the otoro commands.)

Truly a satisfactory meal.

Itacho sells its sushi in single pieces so the prices can add up. However, prices for even the premium fish are very reasonable. The otoro and wagyu cost about $6 each. While one may gasp at $6 going down at one pop, bear in mind that most other places will sell otoro in a pair at $22 or more. The ikura warship that I did not order this round, was also reasonably priced at less than $3 a piece but in other places, eg the sushi chains, you're looking at $6+ for a double portion.

Given the quality of the fish and the portion (thick generous servings that drape - this is important! - over the rice) I think Itacho has proven to be good value so far. It seems to be mid-priced sushi that is a notch or so above the kaiten chains we have here. The selection of fish is pretty good and seems wider than what the chains offer, although these are generally the pricier cuts of fish. My grouse is that they offer wasabi in a paste - typical of mid to low-range sushi joints, but still a pity considering the sort of fish they have on the menu. But I guess I can understand too, after all they do not claim to be the high-end boutique sushi restaurants that offer only the best grated wasabi.


mummyof3 said...

aiyo! you've got me salivating! i want!

Anonymous said...

me too and i don't even like sushi!