Tag Archives: Seattle Japanese Restaurant

The Skills of a Sashimi Chef

When sashimi appears on your plate, it probably seems like an extremely simple dish. After all, it’s just a collection of small slices of fish flesh. However, the craft of making sashimi is still one that requires a lot of practice to do correctly.

An itamae-in-training needs to learn how to slice fish with superior precision. As easy as it may be to cut a bit of fish flesh, not everyone can do it with the kind of grace it takes to make for an attractive dish. The tenderness of fish flesh causes it to break easily, so a chef needs to be able to cut with less force to produce clean, straight, aesthetically-pleasing sashimi.

Further, a skilled itamae needs to have a heightened sense of how a fish tastes. They need to be able to know, at a glance, how a piece of sashimi should be cut in order to get the best of its particular flavors. Certain parts of the tuna, for example, benefits from thick cuts to bring out its taste. The tuna belly, on the other hand, needs to be cut thinner so as to not overwhelm the diner.

What is Ponzu Sauce?

The word “ponzu” is a combination of “pons”, a word borrowed by the Japanese from the Dutch word for “punch”, and “su”, the Japanese word for vinegar. This sauce is therefore literally “vinegar punch”. It is a popular Japanese condiment that is akin to soy sauce in the sense that it is made with a fermented soy base, frequently mixed with bonito flakes.

It also shares the watery consistency and the dark brown coloration of the more familiar soy sauce. However, it is greatly different in taste; ponzu is characteristic of a tart, acidic flavor derived from the citrus juice used in its creation.

In Japan, ponzu is used as a marinade, a glaze for meats, a salad dressing, and even a dipping sauce for appetizers. At our Japanese restaurant in Seattle, you can experience the great taste of this classic sauce with our grilled asparagus and shiitake mushroom plate, our sashimi roll, our hamachi kama, our ankimo, and more. Come and try it out at I Love Sushi on Lake Union today!