Edo Sushi: Only for the Master Chefs

I’m a bit of a picky sushi eater.  I prefer authentic “edo sushi” which is typically referred to as Tokyo-styled or “nigri” sushi.  These are hand sliced fish placed on top of a small pad of rice.  The sushi rice is lightly seasoned to balance the fish and only requires the tiniest amount of soy sauce to bring it all together.

Imagine my delight when I discovered the Utamaro restaurant in Sarasota, Florida.  Stepping inside Utamaro is like walking into a typical restaurant in Japan.  Dark walls and a tiny interior give it a very intimate atmosphere.  (You can read my review of the restaurant here).  My surprise heightened when I met the Tsukiyama family, who was warm, friendly and dedicated to the art of sushi making and the preservation of authentic Japanese cuisine.

Because the Tsukiyama family puts so much care and dedication into making such wonderful foods, I would emphasize that patrons should make an effort to return the gesture.  Eat your sushi slowly, one piece at a time.  Do not fill your soy sauce bowl more than half-way up, as doing so can be interpreted as rude to the chef.  Remember, only a tiny bit of soy sauce is needed for each piece of sushi.  Enjoy one leaf of ginger (between sushi) as it is meant to cleanse the palate.  Same goes for the wasabi.  Just the smallest amount per piece of sushi.  Savor each piece of sushi, taking time to examine the balance between the flavors of fresh fish combined with seasoned rice, salty seaweed and spicy wasabi.

Then take a few sips of a cold sake.  Sake that is served warm is typically the lowest grade available.  Medium and higher grade sakes are served chilled.  A cold sake is light, refreshing and delightful!

I captured my visit to Utamaro in my latest video review for Metromix.  If you are in the area and want to experience the best and most authentic sushi, then you’ll definitely want to make a visit.  Kampai!


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