The Austin USENET Guide to Sushi

9/4/95 Release

A friendly guide to undersea stuff served on cute wooden trays. Send updates and comments to me, [email protected]. Austin area WWW and Gopher sites are welcome to post this list for public access purposes.

Some of the information in this guide was lifted from the alt.food.sushi FAQ, written by Keith Cochran and others.


Sushi Related Web Sites

Tokyo Food Page

Roll Your Own Sushi


Sushi Bars

For some reason, almost all the Austin sushi bars are located in out-of-the-way places. Seek and you shall find.

Korea House
2700 W. Anderson Lane
(Inside Village Shopping Center, not visible from street)
458-2477
SUSHI HAPPY HOUR: Sunday-Wednesday all day
Kyoto
315 N. Congress Avenue
(Upstairs from the Elephant Room)
482-9010
SUSHI HAPPY HOUR: Monday-Thursday 5:30-7:30pm
Kyoto II
4815 W. Braker Lane #580
(On the south side of 183, in the shopping center with Brick Oven Pizza, just west of the Arboretum, Circuit City, and HQ Fitness)
346-5800
SUSHI HAPPY HOUR: None
Mister Wasabi
215 E. 6th Street
469-0477
SUSHI HAPPY HOUR: Every Day 5:30-7:00pm
Musashino
3407 Greystone Drive
(Downstairs from Chinatown at the Mopac frontage road)
795-8593
SUSHI HAPPY HOUR: Tuesday-Sunday 5:00-6:00pm
Osaka
13492 Research Blvd
(In the shopping center at Anderson Mill Road)
918-8012
SUSHI HAPPY HOUR: Sunday 5:30-10:00pm
Seoul Sushi Bar
6400 S. 1st Street
(Between Stassney and William Cannon)
326-5807
SUSHI HAPPY HOUR: Tuesday all day

Japanese "fast food" restaurants with sushi

Azuma Express
2501 Parmer Lane
(In the shopping center at Parmer Lane and Mopac)
834-9304
Banzai Japanese Restaurant
2120-B Guadalupe
(On the drag next to Quackenbush)
320-0657

Other sushi sources

Buffet Palace (just some rolls on buffet — all you can eat)
5400 Brodie Lane
(In the shopping center with Home Depot)
892-2550
Karaoke Paradise
(They were selling sushi during lunch hour but they’ve had
staffing problems recently. Call to make sure they’re selling sushi)
115 San Jacinto Blvd.
474-8873
Shogun
(a Japanese restaurant that sells some sushi rolls)
1807 W. Slaughter Lane
(SE corner of Manchaca and Slaughter, next to Albertson’s — not HEB!)
292-1580

SPECIAL NOTE FOR YOU HOMEBREW SUSHI ADDICTS: As far as I know, all the sushi bars in town get their seafood from Quality Seafood, 5621 Airport Blvd, 454-5827. See comments section below for another opinion.

Grocery Stores

Note: These grocery stores usually offer vegetarian sushi as well as seafood sushi.

Some HEB’s, like the one at Hancock shopping center, have sushi. HEB’s "Central Market" has a sushi counter.

Some Simon Davids, like the one in the Arboreteum, have sushi.

Some Randall’s, like the one in Westlake, have sushi.


COMMENTS (from our contributors)

Circa 1995

Musashino has their fish flown in from Los Angeles, according to Saga-san. Apparently they rarely buy from Quality Seafood, since much of Quality’s fish is from the Gulf. When they do, you’ll see $1.50 pieces of Chu-Toro, rather than the outstanding $4.50 pieces we had last night. A definite case of getting what you pay for. If only they’d get better Sake.

I always get pretty upset at the service in Kyoto II. The food is not bad, but the attitude of the waitresses bothers me A LOT. Maybe I am being too sensitive, because I am a native Japanese and when I go to Japanese restaurants I also expect the service in Japanese way… I have no intention to hurt their business, but I hope they will be a little nicer to the costomers. For that matter, Osaka has such a nice, family like atmosphere for me even though some food do not taste so authentic.

Circa 1994

I ate lunch at Kyoto II the other day, priced like old Azuma used to be, good large pieces, some of the California Rolls were missing the sesame seeds though. We got there early, and that was real smart as the place was completely packed by 11:45. Several people with me got some of the cooked dishes and they were good, but the cold ones (non- sushi) were small and sub-par.

The sushi at Seoul Sushi Bar was excellent and the Korean food was outstanding. The guy who runs it is an ex-Motorola engineer. Mister Wasabi is laid back but I don’t like it as much as Kyoto.

I’ve been to Musashino several times since it’s opened. In comparing it to Azuma, it appears to be 30% more expensive, pieces 30-40% bigger, and a lot fresher. I’ve noticed they’ve recently added new variety into the "regular" and deluxe sushi. Big "fin" up.

I went to Musashino for the first time last night and was a bit disappointed. The fish was tasty and fresh, the portions were generous, but the sushi was rather poorly contructed — the pieces were so big and the rice was packed so loosely that they fell apart when I tried to pick them up with chopsticks. I had to eat them with my fingers, which was a messy experience. Also, one of the hamachi pieces had an enormous chunk of wasabi in it that left my eyes watering and my ears ringing. And the soft shell crab in the spider roll I ordered was overdone.
It wasn’t awful (I’ll probably go back again someday), but it just wasn’t up to the level of perfection I usually expect from, say, Kyoto or the old Azuma. Perhaps the chef was inexperienced. Next time I’ll be sure to get the guy who used to work at Azuma.
The food at Osaka is good. The service is a little slow (maybe they are getting better at this by now), the sushi is medium quality (by Austin standards).
The highest quality sushi in Austin is Musashino.

Sushi and food at Osaka. Two words : Very Disappointing. Went out there last night and ordered some sushi and Yaki Soba. The sushi arrived after I was finished with my soup, salad and was half way through my main course. The sushi was poorly constructed and the Yaki Soba tasted like someone had sauteed a packet of Ramen noodles and added some half cooked pieces of chicken. On the plus side, the fish used in the sushi was fresh and the service was good. BTW, if you are ever in San Antonio and crave some good sushi try out Nikki’s Tokyo Inn or Koi Kawa.

As a native from Japan I miss a chef, Okimi-san, who used to work at Kyoto until two years ago. His sushi was state-of-the-art melt in your mouth in a right size and with a right sensation of wasabi. When he was here, even the most popular Japanese restaurant, Azuma, did not attract me at all. Old good days are gone now.

Musashino, which is run by a chef who used to work at the old- Azuma, drew lots of customers at the beginning partly because Azuma’s owner late Tanaka-san helped Musashino’s grand opening invite lots of his old customers of Azuma. Musashino probably uses the most fresh fish in town. But unfortunately it lacks proper size that you would feel comfortable eating with one or two bites. Gigantic sushi obliged me to peel the raw fish off the rice and to eat it as sashimi! What an embarassing moment.

The Japanese restaurant I like the best in town may not have been visible to most of sushi lovers yet. It is Shogun. This restaurant opened in mid-last year as a teppan-yaki restaurant. It serves good teppan-yaki, tempura, and other cooked Japanese foods in reasonable prices. You can also have sushi rolls too. The owner avoids the high-margin sushis like hamachi, eel and other normal fish-on-top-of-rice sushis. They use expensive rice and the rice in the roll has the right taste. Try them.


Austin-area contributors (not necessarily sushi lovers….)

[email protected] (Morgan Witthoft)
[email protected] (Jonathan Wilner)
[email protected] (Amy Moseley Rupp)
[email protected] (Chuck Herrick)
[email protected] (Larry Wolfe)
[email protected] (David Gadbois)
[email protected] (Michael Duane)
[email protected] (Dewey Coffman)
[email protected] (Nancy Knickerbocker-Penick)
[email protected] (Chnag Kyu Kim)
[email protected] (Snehanshu Shah)
[email protected] (John Joseph Medway)
[email protected] (Lindsey Durway)
[email protected] (K Mina LaF)

BOOKS

Sushi Detrick, Mia (1992?). San Francisco: Chronicle Books.
 
Japanese Cooking: The Healthy and Natural Way, by Koji Nakano and Lesley Howard Murdoch, 1991, Sally Milner Publishing Pty Ltd., Birchgrove, NSW, Australia.
Offers a little bit of everything, from thumbnail discussions of etiquette, aesthetics and presentation, to a variety of relatively easy to prepare dishes, from traditional Japanese pickles (hakusai no tsukemono) and dried white radish salad (kiriboshi daikon no aemono) to simple rolled sushi (nori-maki) and egg sushi (fukusasushi).
Japanese Cooking: Pure and Simple, 1986, Exeter Books, New York.
A flashier presentation, but some of the recipes are not at all simple (at least not to my Western cooking sensibilities). The pictures make up for any shortcomings, however, presenting the food beautifully. Again, there are a mixture of recipes from different Japanese cooking styles. The marinated salmon (yok kai sake) and rice salad with mackeral (chirashi zushi) are especially tasty.
Sushi Made Easy Tsuda, Nobuko (6th printing, 1993). Weatherhill, Inc. New York.
A cookbook on preparing many kinds of sushi. Includes recipes for wasabe and soups. Extensive index of sources for Japanese foods.

Step by Step Sushi by Katsuji Yamamoto & Roger W. Hicks. Apple Press, London 1990. ISBN 1-85076-167-1.

This book has beautiful illustrations and clear instructions. No compromises are made in terms of using pow- dered stock etc. It explains the cultural and historical background of the various sushi dishes. One of my all-time favourite cookbooks.
A First Book of Japanese Cooking Masako Yamaoka.
It’s basic but very useful. It doesn’t have very many photographs, but explains the how-to’s of many home-style dishes very well. It’s not very good on Japanese "food culture". 156 pages. A Kodansha publication.

THE TERMINOLOGY

Aburage – Fried tofu pouches prepared by cooking in sweet cooking sake, shoyu, and water.

Aji – Spanish mackerel. Purportedly this is not actually a mackerel, but some other kind of fish. It is small – about 6" in length – and they fillet it and serve marinated in vinegar. Very tasty.

Akagai – pepitona clam, red in colour, not always available.

Ama Ebi – Sweet Shrimp. Sometimes served with the deep-fried shells of the shrimp. Eat the shells like you would crayfish.

Anago – Salt water eel, pre-cooked (boiled) and then grilled before serving, less rich than unagi (fresh water eel).

Aoyagi – Red clam.

Awabi – abalone.

Bonito – Also known as skipjack tuna. See Katsuo.

Buri – Yellowtail. I think Hamachi is only young yellowtails and Buri are the older ones.

Chirashi-zushi – translates as "scattered sushi", a bowl or box of sushi rice topped with a variety (usually nine, nine is the japanese luchky number) of sashimi.

Daikon – giant white radish, usually served grated as garnish for sashimi.

Ebi – Shrimp. Not the same as Sweet Shrimp, as Ebi is cooked, while Ami Ebi is prepared by "curing" in a mixture of juices.

Fuki – Blow-fish. Anybody got any more information?

Futo-Maki – Big, oversized rolls

Gari – Pickled ginger (the pink stuff) that comes along with Sushi.

Hamachi – Young Yellowtail tuna, or amberjack, worth asking for if not on menu.

Hirame – Halibut.

Hotate-Gai – Scallops.

Kaibashira – large scallops, actually giant clam adducter muscle, though often scallops are served, much like cooked scallops but more tender and sweeter. Kobashiri are small scallops and like kaibashira may or may not come from scallops or other bivalves.

Kaki – Oysters.

Kampyo – Dried gourd. Unprepared is a light tanish color. Prepared its a translucent brown. It comes in long strips, shaped like fettuccine.

Katsuo – Bonito, also knows as skipjack tuna. It is usually found in sushi bars on the West Coast because it lives in the Pacific Ocean, and doesn’t freeze very well. [Note: You can get it in Denver, Colorado usually.]

Kamaboko – Imitation crab meat. Generally used in california rolls and other maki, it’s not the same thing as "soft shell crab".

Kani – Crab meat. The real stuff. Always served cooked, much better if cooked fresh but usually cooked and then frozen.

Kohada – Japanese shad (or young punctatus, it’s latin species name).

Maguro – Tuna. Not Toro. Toro is the tuna belly (i.e. the fatty part) and maguro is the leaner flesh from the "sides" of the fish.

Mirugai – geoduck or horseneck clam, slightly crunchy and sweet.

Maki-zushi – The rice and seaweed rolls with fish and/or vegetables. Most maki places the nori on the outside, but some, like the california and rainbow rolls, place the rice on the outside.

Natto – Fermented soy beans. (Not just for breakfast anymore) Very B smell and taste, also slimely. Most people don’t like it. Order it once, if for no other reason that to see the confused look of the chef. >;)

Nigiri-zushi – The little fingers of rice topped with wasabi and a filet of raw or cooked fish or shellfish. Generally the most common form of sushi you will see.

Roe – Fish eggs. Generally, flying fish, smelt, and salmon roe are available in all sushi restaurants. "Roe" is a generic name.

The roes are:

Saba – mackerel, almost always served after being lightly salted and marinated for a few days, so really cooked. Raw mackerel is sometimes served but it must be extremely fresh as it goes off quickly.

Sake – Rice wine. Served both hot and cold. Some people love it, some people hate it.

Sake – Salmon. Prounounced differently.

Sashimi – Raw fish fillets sans the sushi rice.

Shiro maguro – Albacore tuna, white tuna, doesn’t handle as well and can change colour (though doesn’t change taste or quality) so not as common as other tunas. It will probably not be on the menu, ask for.

Spam – yes SPAM, a sushi you can get in Hawaii (maybe Japan too), an acquired taste, perhaps.

Sushi – The sweetened, pickled rice. The fish is sashimi. Wrap the two together in portions and sell it as sushi, and the name still refers to the rice, not the fice. Sushi is indeed the term for the special rice but it is modified, in Japanese, to zushi when coupled with modifiers that describe the different styles of this most popular dish.

Suzuki – sea bass (of one species or another, often quite different).

Tai – porgy or red snapper (substitutes, though good), real, Japanese, tai is also sometimes available.

Tako – Octopus, cooked.

Tamago – egg omelet, sweet and, hopefully light, a good test of a new sushi restaurant, if its overcooked and chewy, go somewhere else. In Japan it is the trademark of each chef. Often potential customers in Japan will ask for a taste of the Tamago in order to judge the chef’s proficiency.

TDU – The Dreaded Uni[tm]. Uni (Sea Urchin) is a remarkable dish, one that must be tried before a decision can be made about it.

Temaki-zushi – Hand rolled cones of sushi rice, fish and vegetables wrapped in seaweed. Very similar to maki.

Torigai – Japanese cockle, black and white shell fish, better fresh but usually frozen (and chewier as a result).

Toro – Fatty Tuna. There are several different types of tuna you can order in a sushi restaurant.

Unagi – Eel (Freshwater) – grilled, and brushed with a teriyaki-like sauce, richer than salt water eel.

Uni – Sea Urchin. If you are lucky you won’t like it, if not you have just developed an expensive habit. The sexual organs (gonads) of the sea urchin. Sea urchins are hermaphrodictic (bi-sexual, AC-DC), so you are getting both roe and milt (the other stuff). The most expensive (start saving now) is red in colour, the least is yellow, luckily they taste the same. Lobsters eat sea urchin as a mainstay of their diet.

Wasabi – Japanese Horseradish. This is the small lump of green stuff that looks sort of like clay. Best done in extremly small doses. Not related to American Horseradish except by name.


MAKING SUSHI RICE

Sushi Rice (Shari Rice)

Note: an electric fan is helpful in making this

3 cups short-grain white rice
3 1/4 cups water
1 small(3") bundle of konbu(dried rolled kelp)
{Editors note: I do not use the kelp.}
seasoning:
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt

Rinse rice well. Drain the rice and then add the 3 1/4 cups water, the kelp, and the wet rice to the covered sauce pan in which you will cook it. Bring to a boil. Remove kelp and discard. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for 10 min.

While the rice is cooking, heat vinegar, sugar, and salt until everything dissolves. Let cool. {Editors note: I do not heat it up to get everything to mix in. I just stir it up.}

Place rice in a large pan(use glass so the vinegar doesn’t react with any metal.) {Editors note: I use a stainless bowl with no problem.} Set the fan up to blow on the rice. With a wooden spoon or rice paddle stir in seasoning a little at a time. Careful not to mush the rice. Periodically dip the paddle in cool water to keep the rice from sticking.

Keep at room temperature covered with a moist towel. Don’t refrigerate. Have a little bowl of 2/3 water and 1/3 vinegar to dip your fingers in to prevent sticking while constructing sushi.

SOME OTHER THOUGHTS:
I use Nishiki branch rice. There is another brand I have used happily called Kokuho Rose, or something like that. Any "medium" grain rice should work. This is the grain which is shorter than long- grained rice (like grocery store rice and Basmati rice) but longer than those little round short-grained rice (like the Italian rice one uses for Risotto). It is not always called medium grained.

I sometimes wash the rice, sometimes not. It doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, although when I get my rice from a bulk-food shop, I wash it to get the dirt off. The big bags of Nishiki rice are clean, but coated with a little glucose. I have a friend who swears that you must wash the rice. He picks it up in his hands and rubs it together under the running water and keeps washing until the water is very clean. He is a very rigorous fellow.

I use a huge metal salad bowl like you can get at a cheapo kitchen supply shop to toss the rice. I use a clip on electric fan to fan it. I attach the fan to a cabinet door over my counter. Very convenient.

One book that I read suggested that instead of water to keep your hands and knife damp, you use water with a little vinegar mixed in. That way you have damp and tasty hands.

Sushi keeps okay overnight (if you use only vegetables and rice). If you make makizushi, it keeps even better if you don’t slice the rolls but just wrap them up in saran wrap. You can make makizushi in advance, and if you do, I recommend that you do not slice them until just before you serve them.

Sushi, like bread, takes a long time to make, but not a lot of actual work. You have to wait for the rice to soak. You have to be patient while it cooks. Other than that, there is just a little slicing.


MAKING SUSHI

Maki-zushi:
Maki, or rolls, are sushi rice, fillings, wrapped with seaweed (nori). Generally, they are done "nori-side out", so you have the seaweed on the outside, with the filling inside. Some rolls, like the California and Rainbow rolls, are done "inside-out", with the filling on the inside, then the nori, then the rice.

Submitted By: Michael Golden ([email protected])

Maki-zushi (rolled sushi)

All of these are wrapped in nori (sheets of seaweed) which you toast by passing the shiny side over flame or heat until crisp. You need a bamboo mat for rolling the makizushi. {Editor’s Note: I do not toast the rolls, nor do I use a mat for "regular sized nori on the outside" rolls. For small rolls and for rice-on-the-outside rolls, I use a mat}

Put smooth, shiny side of toasted nori down on mat. Spread about 3/4 cups of Shari Rice on the nori to the ends A, B, C, but leave the top part of the nori free of rice so you can seal the roll. Place chosen filling in a line between A and C, then roll tightly. Moisten margin with water and roll the rest of the way to seal. It takes some practice, but you’ll get the hang of it.

      ________            _________
     |________|          |_________|
     |________|          |_________|
mat--|________|          |---------|
     |________|    nori--|         |
     |________|       A--|         |--C
     |________|          |_________|
                              |         
                              B

Cut into pieces about 1 – 1 1/2 inch thick. You can cut two ways.

     _____________            ______________
    |      |      |          |            |
    |      |      |    OR    |            |
    |______|______|          |____________|

These are standard varieties as described in Sushi, by Mia Detrick.

Maki-zushi Fillings

Cucumber
Peel and cut into sticks 1/4-1/2 inch thick
Tuna
Cut in sticks about 1/2 inch thick
Shiitake Mushroom
2 oz. shiitake
2 cups dashi stock
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. mirin
2 Tbsp. sugar

Soak dried shiitake in warm water 1 hr., then drain. Blend all ingredients in pan. Simmer shiitake over low heat, uncovered for 1 hr.

Let cool then slice into sticks.

{Editors note: Here is how I do the shiitake —

6 large dried shhitake, soaked in water until soft.
1/2 cup soaking liquid from the mushrooms
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp mirin

Simmer in a pan until the liquid is almost gone. Remove the mushrooms from the pan, let them cool, and slice into sticks. The liquid left in the pan is very tasty. I am sure you will come up with something to do with it.}

Kampyo(gourd shavings)
1 oz. kampyo
pinch of salt
2 cups dashi stock
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. mirin
2 Tbsp. sugar

Soak kampyo in hot water until soft, about 10 min. Drain and rub with a pinch of salt. Rinse well and drain. Place in saucepan with other ingredients. Simmer over medium heat uncovered for 1/2 hour, then turn up heat until sauce is almost evaporated. Let cool and cut to length.

Fishcake (kamaboko)
Purchase colored steamed fishcake, cut into pieces 1/2 inch thick
Vegetables
Carrots, steamed, cut in 1/4 inch thick sticks
Avacado, in 1/4 inch sticks
Pickled daikon, 1/4 inch sticks
Other pickled vegetables
Fried tofu (tofu cutlet)
Purchased and cut into strips 1/2 inch thick
Tekkamaki
fresh raw tuna
Kappamaki
julienned cucumber
Oshinkomaki
yellow pickled daikon
Unakyu
grilled fresh water eel
cucumber
Anakyu
grilled marine eel
cucumber
Umekyu(described as a good way to end sushi dinner)
cucumber
neri ume(tart plum paste)

A Note About Salmon

From: [email protected] (yasuhiro muramatsu)
Newsgroups: alt.food.sushi
Date: 1 Jun 1995 08:45:10 GMT

I am a sushi chef.
I have seen several worms and eggs in salmon fillet.
It is very rare case, but some time salmon has egg of "tapeworm".
It cause serious health problem, if you have it.

We don’t eat raw salom in japan.
Only one exception is "RUIBE".
It is pre-frozen salmon (must be lower -20c, and more than 12hr)
So, you had better ask your sushi chef it before you order their raw salmon.

Salmon is one of the most affordable fish for sushi and sashimi.
and it is also looks good .
therefore, A lot of Japanese restaurants are serving raw salmon .

I hope none of them does just slice and serve it.
I think you had better don’t eat raw salmon except the restaurants
which you can trust it.

By the way, I have never eat raw salmon.
I like Norway style marinade salmon "lox".


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