Enjoy the Seasonal Items of Autumn


By Yuji Matsumoto

There are a lot of delicious foods that become available in autumn. Representing fish would certainly be sanma (pacifice saury) and katsuo (bonito).

For vegetables, it would be mushrooms and eggplant etc. Whichever item you choose goes together just right with Japanese sake. Regards to Japanese sake, there is a draft sake fermented this year called 'hiyaoroshi' that is hard to get overseas but can also be seen on the market.

Seasonal items in autumn are relatively high in fat and many dishes are well seasoned. For Japanese sake that goes well with those foods would certainly be Junmai or Kimoto. Also, many of these sakes are delicious hot which makes them suitable for different dishes.

If it is a lightly seasoned dish then a chilled Junmai would go well with it. If it is a rich dish then the flavor can be balanced with hot Junmai sake. For regional sakes, Junmais of Nada region, Hiroshima, and Hokuriku (northern area towards the Japan Sea) are full body, Junmai of Tohoku area is slightly fruity, and many in Hokkaido and Niigata are smooth and dry.

Even if you are living abroad, with the proper connections in most cities you should be able to find seasonal items of Japan and be able to cook some fine dishes. Hope you will be able to enjoy seasonable items of autumn of your choice and Japanese sake.








“Sake Competition 2016” that was held again this year.

By Kosuke Kuji

This year making it the 5th time this competition has been held, as the title mentions, it’s “a contest to decide the best tasting sake in the world” and would you believe that there were entries from 416 breweries with 1483 sakes from head of breweries from Japan and different countries worldwide this year.

This is a very unusual contest with entries from not only Japan but from Japanese sake breweries from overseas making this the one and only world largest contest.

Entry categories are divided into 5 categories and newly established categories this year were Ginjo category and Super Premium category that were receiving the most attention. There were entries of 401 in Junmai category, 466 in Junmai Ginjo category, 359 in Junmai Daiginjo category, 180 in Ginjo category and 56 in Super Premium category, and judging with blindfolds were done by 24 preliminary judges and 37 final judges consisting of technical managers, experts, and head of breweries. From the results, gold awards were given to the top 10 and silver awards were given to the top 10% below the gold award winners.

For results, please look at the website below.

When we talk about Nanbu Bijin this year, they came in 10th place in the Junmai Daiginjyo category and we were so happy to receive a gold medal!

Award ceremony and party was held at Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Roppongi at end of July and famous head of breweries from Japan attended and for anyone in Japan that liked regional sakes would have felt it was like being in a place like heaven there.

Starting with International Wine Challenge (IWC) Japanese sake category I have written about before and a contest of scale that could never have been thought of before being held in Japan and now being held worldwide. All events are judged with blindfolds and for the regional sake competition these days, there is no doubt that you need to be consistently aware of improving the quality or you will be left behind in no time.

For that reason, head of breweries cannot stop quality improvement and there is no end to putting in efforts for quality improvement. To deliver high quality Japanese sake to the people in Japan and throughout the world, we would like to continue to firmly make diligent efforts. I feel it has become a wonderful age when the results of our efforts can be evaluated at contests in Japan and also throughout the world.


今年で5回目のこのコンテストは「世界一おいしいお酒を決めるコンテスト」という題名の通り、日本国内、世界各地の蔵元から今年はなんと416蔵、 1483点の出品がありました。国内だけではなく海外で日本酒を生産する蔵からも出品されるという、大変珍しいコンテストで、まさに世界一の規模のコンテストとなりました。



酒コンペティション2016 受賞酒





#alljapannews #sake #competition


“Food Art”, world-famous Chefs’ plates you can experience

“Food Art”, wor... “Food Art”, wor... “Food Art”, wor...

By Elli Sekine

In the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art which re-opened this spring after a huge three-year long renovation, a unique restaurant débuted that can totally overturn the conventional image. The restaurant, “In Situ”, is like an edible museum where you can experience not only the dishes by the world’s Michelin star awarded restaurants and chefs, but also a modern interior, a collection of paintings and artistic food plates by the first-class architects, artists, and designers.

Due to the recent big article in the NY Times, this place is catching a great deal of attention from all over the U.S.

Mr. Corey Lee, the owner/chef of the Michelin 3-star restaurants, “Benu” and “Monsieur Benjamin” in San Francisco, oversees this tremendous project. He is a very talented Korean-American chef who learned how to cook in top-rated restaurants in Europe, and worked as the Chef de Cuisine for “The French Laundry” in Napa Valley, which helped him gain the top rank in the chef’s world.

The “Benu”, which he opened after becoming independent, is highly acclaimed for its cutting-edge menu using worldwide ingredients and techniques beyond the range of French-American cuisine. The worldwide restaurants and creators of all kinds of cuisines Mr. Lee has ever encountered with in his career have inspired and polished his excellent taste in his cooking skills. He is collaborating with over 80 chefs here, and the menu shows many items by the recipes of the famous chefs and places including “Noma” of Copenhagen, the pioneer of “Gastronomy”, Mr. Bottura of “Osteria” in Italy (#1 in 2016 World’s Best 50 Restaurants), Mr. Adoria of “Ticket” in Spain, which is another top ranking restaurant in the list, and Mr. Arzak of “Arzak” also in Spain. Then from the San Francisco area, Ms. Waters of “Chez Panisse”, and Mr. Keller of “French Laundry”

The menu always consists of 15 items from the world’s gastronomy list that includes “Japanese cuisine”, one of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. The number of Japanese menu items is a result of Mr. Lee being very inspired by Kyoto Kaiseki and Kappo style cooking, and the second most featured on the menu next to American dishes. The menu shows the names of the top chefs such as Mr. Nakahigashi of “Miyama-So” in Kyoto, Mr. Sasaki of “Gion Sasaki” also in Kyoto, and Mr. Yamamoto of “Ryugin” in Tokyo.

I chose the “Umami Soup” ($38) from the daily menu, which is the recipe by Chef Nakahigashi. It was served in a beautiful Japanese ceramic bowl, and looked more like a gorgeous meat udon than a bowl of soup. The menu name suggests a large umami-filled soup dish, but it’s a simple dish of very light dashi broth with Inaniwa udon and A5 wagyu slices. The beef is so thinly sliced and overpowered by the acidity of the soup, so I could not taste the true Umami of high-quality beef.

The Inaniwa udon is soft and translucent, and easy to swallow. Overall, the volume is too small to satisfy your appetite as a main dish. I also ordered “Carrot Sour Curd” (New York, $18), and “Shrimp Grits”, (Denmark, $14) as appetizers.

Both were nicely flavored, and represented the concept well. The servers were knowledgeable, and explained the menu well, but I wonder how well they and other staff really understand Japanese cuisine. The kitchen staff of about 20 work busily, but maybe merely to complete the process of each given recipe precisely.
On the drink menu, the wine list includes famous European and Californian brands, and in addition, craft beers, and both Yamahai and sparkling sake for pairing.

“In Situ” has a dreamy concept that allows you to experience worldwide famous restaurant menu, but there is a dilemma. The dish creator chef’s spirit can be carried over behind the scenes, but it is not possible to recreate and represent the dish perfectly elsewhere. I wonder how the customers perceive this “World House of Gastronomy”. I am looking forward to hearing the future reviews of this place.


今春3年かけての大改装の末、リニューアルオープンしたサンフランシスコ近代美術館内に前代未聞のレストランが登場した。世界のミシュラン星レストランや有名シェフのメニューが賞味できる「イン ストゥー」は、メニューだけではなく一流の建築士、アーティスト、デザイナー達が手がけたモダンインテリアと絵画のコレクション、プレートに至るまで芸術を統合した“食べられる美術館”だ。最近ニューヨークタイムス に大体的に取り上げられ、全米で注目を浴びている。

この壮大なプロジェクトを統監するのは、サンフランシスコのミシュラン3ツ星レストラン、「BENU」と「ムッシュ・ベンジャミン」のオーナーシェフ、コーリー・リー氏。コリアン・アメリカンのリー氏は、これまでヨーロッパの一流レストランで修行し、ナパバレーの「フレンチランドリー」の料理長(Chef de Cuisine)を経て料理会のトップに上り詰めた天才シェフ。 独立後オープンした「BENU」は、フレンチアメリカンの枠を超え、世界の食材やテクニックを取り込んだ先駆的なメニューが高く評価されている。そんな彼の料理のセンスを磨き上げてきたのが、今まで関わった世界のレストランと料理クリエーター達だ。ここで彼がコラボするシェフの数は80人を超えており、メニューには、「ガストロのミー」の先駆者、コペンハーゲンの「ノマ」、「世界ベストレストラン50」(2016)ランキング1位の「オステリア」(イタリア)のボチュラ氏、同じく上位の「チケット」(スペイン)のアドリア氏、「アーザック」のアーザック氏(スペイン)など、そして地元からは「シェ・パニーズ」のウォーターズ氏、「フレンチランドリー」のケラー氏のレシピが目を引く。


本日のメニューから中東シェフのレシピ、「Umami Soup 」($38)を頂いた。日本製の美しい陶器の椀に盛られた一品は、実際「スープ」というより、豪華な「肉うどん」だった。メニュー名から旨味とボリュームたっぷりというイメージだが、ブロスはあっさりした出汁味と稲庭うどんで具はA5和牛といったシンプルな一品。高級食材ながら肉が薄切りなのとブロスの酸味で本来のジューシーな肉の旨さは得られなかった。稲庭うどんは、透明感があり柔らかくゆであげ舌触り、喉越しも良い。しかし量は少なめなのでメインとしては物足りない。同じく注文したアペタイザーのCarot Sour Curd(ニューヨーク、 $18) やShirimp Grits (デンマーク、$14)は味付けも良くコンセプトに沿った内容だった。サーバー達はメニューを熟知し説明にも問題はないが、彼らを含め、どれだけの従業員が和食を理解しているかは不明だ。厨房で忙しそうに手を動かす訓練を受けた約 20 人の料理人 達はレシピに忠実に仕上げているのが伝わってくる。ドリンクメニュ−は、ヨーロッパ各地の有名なワインとカリフォルニアを組み合わせたワインリストに加え、クラフトビール、日本酒も山廃とスパークリングをペアリングとして揃えている。

「イン ストゥー」は、世界の有名レストランのメニューが体験できる夢のようなコンセプトなのだが、その舞台裏でシェフの精神は受け継いでも作者なき作品は完璧に仕上がるのだろうか。そして客はどのようにこの高価な美食館"を受け入れるのか、これからの評価が楽しみだ。

In Situ
151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Lunch: Monday through Sunday. 11:00 - 16:00
Dinner: Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, 17:00 - 21:00
Tel: (415) 941-6050
#alljapannews #sanfrancisco #moma #foodart #french


Ultimately light-battered various seasonal ingredients that change fixed image

Ultimately light-battered variou... Ultimately light-battered variou... Ultimately light-battered variou...
By Aya Ota

“I’ve never had tempura like this!” – The impressed gourmet New Yorkers rave about “Tempura Matsui”. In New York where you can have all kinds of authentic foods from all over the world, Japanese food is getting more and more specialized. However, as curious as it sounds, there had not been any tempura specialty restaurants. Not only are they the pioneers, you can also say that they changed the stereotype image of tempura. Seasonal fresh ingredients from mountains to the sea are fried and coated in an extremely light batter. Matsui’s tempura doesn’t fit the image of deep fried food. It is more like “trapped in seasonal fresh taste” with skillfully combined ingredients, batter, and oil, to create a harmony. The tempura made and served from across their counter in an efficient and flawless manner was delicate and light. You see no residual oil stain left on the paper under the tempura. It even looks artistic. It is understandable why they have achieved the legendary success of winning the “New York Times Two Stars” rank and the “Michelin One Star” shortly after the opening in July of 2015.

“Tempura Matsui” opened as the fifth store by “America Ootoya Group”. This group opened their first North American store in April of 2012 in the Chelsea District of New York. Subsequently, they opened the second one in August of 2013 in Times Square, and the third one in March of 2015 in Greenwich Village, which is pretty remarkable. Additionally, in 2014, they obtained the right to operate “Robataya NY“, which is a beginning of a new venture for them. The decision to open “Tempura Matsui” came from an incidental reencountering between the late former Chairman, Hisami Mitsumori and the loved and respected late chef, Masao Matsui, who is the legendary chef, and was the chief tempura chef of the famous long-established Japanese restaurant called “Nadaman”. After retiring from a 47-year career, he decided to challenge New York with tempura after meeting Mr. Mitsumori again, and got motivated.

“It is delightful that I can feel how impressed the customers are right there in front of me! I’d like to spread the greatness of tempura more and more,” says the Head Chef, Kiyoshi Chikano. He learned closely under the late Masao Matsui, who suddenly passed away after achieving the goal of opening this New York restaurant. He came to succeed the late Matsui only in May of this year. He insists on the traditional Japanese style without making adjustments with ingredients or the way of cooking to suit the taste of American customers. He prepares the ingredients with great care before coating them with the batter and putting them in the oil. Each ingredient requires slightly different proper timing. He says, “It is impossible to explain in words. You need to be able to feel it by experiencing it repeatedly.” No wonder some say that tempura making is harder than sushi making.

To commemorate the first anniversary, the menu has been renewed. Only one omakase course was offered before, but now the following three different courses are served: “Irodori Course with 6 items that include Tenju” ($140), “Kaiseki Course with 7 items that include your choice of Tasaki - delicately seared sashimi with ponzu dipping sauce - or Ten-Soba” ($180), and “Chef’s Special Kaiseki Course with seven premium items that include sashimi and lobster tempura” ($230). Each course is unique, and regardless of the price difference, all are very satisfying.

“The numbers of both first-time customers and repeaters are increasing,” says Tomonori Takada, the President of America Ootoya Group. Tempura and other dishes can be added to your order from the a-la-carte menu. Tempura is a simple combination of ingredients, batter, and oil, and therefore it is so important to care for the right ingredients. The core ingredients are seafood, which is sent directly by air from the contracted Tsukiji market vendors in Tokyo. The seafood ingredients are so luxurious, and even fresher than sashimi. For the Chef’s Special Kaiseki Course ($230), you have a choice of Tendon, Tencha or Ten-Soba, and the soba is made in a surprisingly particular way in-house using a stone grinder.

As the eating space, there is a private VIP room and a bar in addition to the counter and the tables. The artistic tempura dishes in a sophisticated Japanese style space are presented for your excitement and ultimate surprising pleasure!







Tempura Matsui
222 E 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-986-8885

Open 7 Days: 5:00pm - 10:30pm
#alljapannews #newyork #tempura #matsuri #Japanese


Have a taste of Kyoto elegance in Beverly Hills

Have a taste of Kyoto elegance... Have a taste of Kyoto elegance...

By Keiko Fukuda

Despite the compact space with only 8 seats for the counter and 6 table seats, this restaurant in Beverly Hills called “Tempura Endo” is attracting a lot of attention. A famous Hollywood actress has chosen the place for her birthday party, and Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers’ player, is becoming a regular customer there.

Their website proudly depicts their “Kyoto style” concept. Their parent restaurant located in Yasaka in the Gion district of Kyoto opened as a tempura specialty restaurant about 30 years earlier. The building for the restaurant was renovated from a historic tea house. The place is known as a high-end restaurant that serves excellent tempura dishes using ingredients that are seasonal and locally grown vegetables and locally caught fish. Triggered by the steady increase of customers who are foreign tourists in the past few years, the project to welcome foreign customers outside of Kyoto as well by having Endo overseas has launched. As the first overseas branch, the Endo Beverly Hills location opened in January of this year.

Mr. Takuya Yamamoto, the General Manager, says, “Japanese cuisine is very popular right now in the U.S., and is getting more subdivided into specialty stores such as sushi, ramen, and so on. However, there are still very few tempura specialty restaurants. In order to find the proper location for the first store, I initially looked in Orange County where I live near Newport Beach, then West LA, but I couldn’t find any. I ended up finding this location, and made a commitment in April of 2015 because everybody knows Beverly Hills. I wanted the customers to feel as if they were in Japan while they dine, so it took 8 months before opening to create authenticity by importing Kitayama cedar for the interior, and so on.

”Such authenticity and particularity is created by the corner space where matcha is served in the traditional way, or name plates of Geiko, the Gion entertainers on the walls, etc. To add to the fastidious ambiance, the servers are wearing kimonos. So, how about the tempura itself? Is it just like Japan also? Well, it is a little bit different. He explains, “American customers prefer different things than Japanese customers. For instance, one of the most popular items here is the scallop tempura sandwiched with truffle, which is non-traditional, and even served with caviar instead of salt to satisfy their taste buds.” Another example is the beef tempura which doesn’t exist on the Kyoto menu. Since there is beef sushi in the U.S., beef tempura is very well received here as well.

The most important ingredient next to seafood and meat are Kyoto vegetables. Unlike Japanese seafood such as Kuruma-ebi shrimps and Kisu fish which can be imported by air, the vegetables can’t. So, the chef directly contacts with the local farmers to obtain Kyoto vegetables locally. It is not easy, though. Their tempura is served not with tempura sauce, but 5 different types of salt; rice, yuzu, sansho pepper, matcha, and truffle. The chef can recommend the best match to each dish.

During the interview, the phone kept ringing with reservation requests. However, there is an issue that has to be resolved. He says, “We would like the customers to take time eating, and it usually takes each group of customers two and a half hours to complete, which does not provide efficient rotation.”

They serve only the course menu of 4 different kinds between 150 and 280 dollars until 9PM. After 9 until midnight closing time, you can also order from the a-la-carte menu. The average number of customers per day is only around 10.
Mr. Yamamoto says that the goal will remain to maintain the status as Endo’s first overseas signature store. Even if there will be more Endos in the future all over the U.S. with more seating capacity, or even start serving lunch, the Beverly Hills store will remain unchanged of the premium value with the same small scale to keep providing fastidious hospitality to the customers.



同店のウェブサイトには、誇らしげに「Kyoto Style」と謳われている。京都祇園の八坂にある本店は、今から30年ほど前に、歴史のある茶屋を改装して天ぷら専門店として開業。旬の京野菜や魚介を揚げた、素材の良さで定評のある高級店だ。







これらの天ぷらをいただく時には、天つゆでなく、 圓堂 では 米塩、ゆず塩、山椒塩、抹茶塩、トリュフ塩と5種類の塩を添えている。どの塩をつけたらいいかは、素材ごとにシェフが勧めてくれる。




Tempura Endo
9777 S Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 274-2201

Everyday open
#alljapannews #kyoto #dishes #beverlyhills #tempura #endo


Beautiful Japanese cuisine created by a young chef who won the "Rising Star" award

Beautiful Japanese cuisine crea... Beautiful Japanese cuisine crea...
By Elli Sekine

“Ju-Ni”, which opened recently in the popular NOPA district where more and more trendy restaurants and cafés are coming in, is one of those places which people are talking about for their Japanese cuisine influence, the newest trend.

They have been open only for a short time, but the restaurant is already so busy you cannot make a reservation until three months ahead. All they have as the eating space is a chef counter with 12 seats. Every 4 seats are well taken care of by one chef. The name “Ju-Ni (twelve)” derives from this concept. The owner/chef, Geoffrey Lee, recently won the title of the rising star (the rookie of the year award of the sushi chef division) by the local paper, “San Francisco Chronicle”, which gave him instant fame in the cooking scene. He is only 32 years old. It is quite an achievement that he has surpassed Japanese sushi chefs.

Mr. Lee is Chinese American. He was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. “I want people to taste authentic Japanese food made in San Francisco,” says Mr. Lee. He became enchanted by Japanese food when he was still in school working part-time at a Japanese restaurant. At the beginning of his career, he was mainly making sushi rolls. While he was working at a high-end Japanese restaurant, “Sushi Ran”, he experienced an awakening. He learned the depth of sushi. He decided to become a high-end sushi chef, and started to re-learn and master the basics such as how to make sushi rice, and how to cut fresh fish properly. The places where he worked and learned those skills are all top 10 level sushi restaurants in the Bay area. This is his first restaurant he runs himself, and there is no Japanese staff. All the associates were born and/or raised in the U.S. Here, his creative menu where Californian food culture is reflected is receiving great reviews.

A restaurant with only 12 seats may give you an image of a very small place; however, it actually is unexpectedly spacious. The main counter is wide and deep. The interior decoration is simple and clean with hanging plants and abstract paintings. The food plates served on the counter must be the main art. The menu offers omakase style dishes and a-la-carte dishes you can order afterwards. After the salad and the appetizer, 12 different individual sushi is served. The course finishes with owan and the dessert. The Today’s salad was more Californian than Japanese prepared with fresh Californian vegetables including beets, and looked and tasted elegant. Next, bite-size oysters refresh your mouth and prepare it for the next sushi course. You can also add special menu items to the course at the same time. Today’s specials included a set of zuke maguro, seaurchin, and shirayaki ($34). Food science is used for Mr. Lee’s plates from checking the ultimate temperature of each sushi for well-balanced combination to caring for one drop of soy sauce to maximize umami in your mouth. For example, he slightly scorches, adds acidity with a few drops of lemon juice, salt, herbs, or cooks and sprinkles bonito powder on the food. He is fastidious about such details, and creates plates that are so artistic to look at. The last course item is A5 rank wagyu from Miyazaki prefecture. Despite of the small bite size, it is very satisfying and worthwhile. The general course menu, priced at $90 for these contents is relatively reasonable among other fellow SF restaurants with the tendency of increasing in price.

The vegetables are procured from the local farmers, and 90% of the fish is from Tsukiji. Also, whenever fresh local seasonal fish becomes available, they get it from there. Mr. Lee is very selective about the fish he gets including how it is caught, and the work ethic of the Fishermen. He is also carrying over the rule and spirit of Japanese cuisine – “Do not waste food ingredients!” By using up all the ingredients for 24 people every night, the sustainability of the business is realized. For the customers, it is a big point that they can always expect freshest ingredients.

For drinks, they carry 15 sake brands, wine, and beer. The premium sake Mr. Lee is particular about are imported from all over Japan, and a detailed description of each paring is offered.

Until recently, non-Japanese sushi chefs were rarely featured in the media. Now, we are definitely in a different era. As presented in the comment of Mr. Lee, “Sushi is simple, yet complicated at the same time”, non-Japanese first class sushi chefs who understand the delicate process of Japanese cuisine are beginning to arise. And tonight, four of such chefs were exhibiting the skills in front of the entertained customers at Ju-Ni’s counter.



リー氏は、生まれも育ちもサンフランシスコ、ベイエリアのチャイニーズアメリカン。「サンフランシスコメイドの本格派和食を味わっていただきたい」という彼は、学生時代に日本食レストランでアルバイトをしたのがきっかけで和食の魅力にとりつかれたという。最初はロール中心の寿司を握っていたが、ハイエンドレストラン、「Sushi Ran」に勤めた時ある” 気づき” があった。寿司の奥深さを知った彼はその後ハイエンドの寿司シェフを目指し、米の炊き方から魚の切り方を丁寧に学んでいった。修行したレストランもベイエリアでトップ10に入る寿司屋ばかりだ。今回初めての経営となる同店に日本人は一人も働いていない。全員がアメリカ育ちのシェフとスタッフによる構成だ。ここではカリフォルニアの食文化を取り込んだリー氏の独創的なメニューが高い評価を得ている。


テーブルに置かれるプレートこそが最大のアートなのだろう。メニューは、オマカセと食事のあとに注文できるアラカルトがある。サラダとアペタイザーの後、寿司一貫ずづのコースが12品続き、お椀とデザートで締めくくる。品目に出てくる[本日のサラダ」は、和食というよりカリフォルニアの新鮮な野菜にビーツが加わり、ドレッシングや仕上げもエレガントに飾られていた。次に一口サイズの絶品オイスターが口の中をリフレッシュし次の寿司コースの食欲に備えられる。並行して特別メニューも加えることもできる。今日は漬け中トロ、海水雲丹、白焼きをセット($34)などがあった。リー氏は寿司一つ一つを最高の温度、バランスが良い組み合わせを計り、1滴の醤油に至るまで口の中で旨味が十分味わえるよう食科学をも駆使したプレート作りをしている。例えば、少し炙りをかける、酸味を加える、レモンを数滴たらす、塩、薬味、調理した鰹節をパウダーのように振りかけるなど、細部までこだわり、見た目も芸術的に仕上げる。コースの最後には、宮崎産、A5の和牛の握りが盛られる。一口サイズなのだが、その脂のノリと柔らかさで、満足度の高い一品が価値観を齎せている。この内容でコース料理は$90 ~ と比較的リーズナブルだ。高騰するサンフ ランシスコのレストランの中でも価値が高い。




1335 Fulton Street
Ste 101
San Francisco, CA 94117


Mon-Thu: 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Thu-Sat: 5:30 pm - 11:30 pm
Closed on Sunday
#alljapannews #japanese #cuisine #sushi #juni #nopa


Sake Q & A

By Yuji Matsumoto

1. Cold or Hot
Many people think that high quality sake should be enjoyed chilled, but that is wrong. Compared to not needing to worry about the temperature for the better quality sakes, it is better to really chill the poor balanced sakes on the contrary. For one guideline, if it is a refreshing sake that has a flower or fruit type aroma, it’s better to chill them to enjoy the clean cut taste and aroma. On the contrary, for the dry sake with the fermented taste of rice or aroma of sourness etc it’s better to warm it to bring out the fullness of it and seemly make it taste delicious.

2. Which Sake is Better?
Which sake you like changes if the food you like regularly is rich or light so there is no exact answer, but I feel there is a tendency that someone that likes full body red wine will probably like a Junmai Kimoto or Honjozo type sake and someone that likes a young, fruity chardonnay will like a Daiginjo of Niigata prefecture type sake. Matching with the food is extremely important and if you don’t particularly care for drinking the sake by itself, you might make a surprising discovery if you have it with a particular dish so I ask if you will give a try.

3. Tasting Method
Same as wine, drink it while sipping in air. Choose a glass for white wines type, pouring a small amount and lightly mixing it with air is important. If the temperature of the sake is too low it becomes hard to distinguish the aroma so you can slightly warm it with both hands in that case.

4. Drinking Cup
Not only for sake but for wines or beers, it’s amazing that the taste can drastically change depending on the glass. If you want to enjoy the taste and especially the aroma, a small white wine glass is good. For hot sake, so the steam of the alcohol is not smothering, a ceramic type with a slightly large mouth that holds the temperature is good. A wooden square doesn’t go well with aromatic Ginjo types but for sakes with definite body like Junmai types, you can enjoy them with the aroma of Cypress. Please enjoy cold or at room temperature if you have it that way.


1. 冷か燗か

2. いいお酒はどれ

3. テイスティング方法

4. 飲む器
#alljapannews #sake #japanese #testing


Enjoy Jizake at Tokyo Station Underground Shopping Center

By Kosuke Kuji

Tokyo Station that is located in Tokyo which is also the center of Japan.

Tokyo Station has been newly born and changed with a large scale renovation construction in recent years and Japanese sake is being offered at different locations so there are more opportunities to try Japanese sakes.

With the increase of foreign visitors in the last few years, many foreigners can be seen even at Tokyo Station also. One place where a foreigner will definitely visit when they come to Japan is Tokyo Station.

Within the station, after you go thru the ticket gates and go underground there is a shopping area that spreads in front of you called “Gransta.”

Once you go thru the ticket gates of the station in the past, there were only a few souvenir, convenience or station bento stores, and a small ‘tachigui soba’ (eat noodles while standing) restaurant, but that image has greatly changed after the opening of Gransta.

Gransta has many specialty and unique stores from restaurants that have all kinds of Japanese/foreign/Chinese bentos, special restaurants from resort specialty chains, cakes or Japanese-style confectionery stores, or gift stores with brand name items, there is so much delight just from looking around.

Would like to share that there is a store here where you can enjoy Japanese sake by the glass for reasonable prices. It is Hasegawasaketen Tokyo Station Gransta operated by Hasegawa Shoten which we introduced to you in a previous column.
This bar only has about 10 seats at the counter but there is always a line of customers waiting outside in the evening and is such a popular bar where you can see customers savoring Japanese sake even in the early morning hours.

There is no other ideal bar-style pub that can used during the short time you are waiting for the Shinkansen (Japanese high-speed rail) or express trains and it couldn’t be a better place for the people that like sake.

All of you in the U.S. coming home or for your sightseeing trip to Japan, I think you will have a good time if you stop by Tokyo Station and have a drink at the bar where you can enjoy a glass of Jizake (regional sake) before you leave. Another pleasure is you can certainly buy a bottle of the sake you enjoyed there.








#alljapannews #japan #sake #jizake #tokyo #station


Surprising unification of two trendy cuisines – Japanese and Mexican

Surprising unif... Surprising unif... Surprising unif... Surprising unif...
By Aya Ota

“Takumi Taco”, a fast food eatery in New York which serves unified dishes of Japanese and Mexican, the two trendiest cuisines, has become the talk of the town. The tacos in which various Japanese ingredients are used as an accent are getting a lot of attention from New Yorkers who are flexible and tend to welcome new food cultures willingly.

Mr. Derek Kaye, the co-founder of the shop, told us how the concept of this eatery came about. “I got the idea for the menu from the dishes that used to be served for the employees of a high-end sushi restaurant.” Derek majored in Hotel Management at Cornell University. He took a strong interest in the restaurant industry, and learned about the industry through his experiences in working various jobs from dish washing to cooking in well-known restaurants, hotels, and his uncle’s eatery. He launched a food truck business called “Eddie’s Pizza Truck” in 2010, and has been passionate about the mobile food business. During that time, he met Mr. Mark Spitzer, the executive chef of 10 years at a high-end sushi restaurant called “BONDST” which is the favorite of many celebrities, decided to make him the partner, and launched the food truck “Takumi Taco”, in April of 2014.

They started out in the outdoor food market called “Smorgasburg”, and the quick success there resulted in having three street stores in Manhattan in no time. They are a tenant of Manhattan’s popular establishments, “Chelsea Market”, “Urbanspace Vanderbilt”, and “Starrett Lehigh”. The food truck at the Smorgusburg is still in operation, and their catering business is also strengthening.

The “Spicy Tuna Taco” made with sashimi quality fresh tuna reminds you of the popular tuna sushi roll. Some of the menu items such as “Japanese Curry Beef Taco”, which reminds you of Japanese curry rice, and “Chicken Teriyaki Bowl” are the nice examples of the combinations with Japanese modern tastes that have been well accepted among Americans. The “Sapporo Beer Braised Short Rib” reminds you of Japanese pork Kakuni. Other Japanese ingredients effectively used include edamame, yuzu, and miso. The taco made with “Gyoza Shell”, their original, is also very popular. Most of the menu items are created by the partner chef Marc. His 10-year experience and refined skills as the executive chef for a well-known sushi restaurant is clearly reflected in the well-balanced and unique combinations of Japanese and Mexican foods. The Japanese ingredients are used not to overpower, but to add a nice accent to each item. One of the reasons for their long-lasting popularity may be the fact that the original taste and the casualness of Mexican tacos are well preserved in their menu.

Their strategy to obtain more customers is to have their shop located in a place where people naturally gather, rather than trying to attract them to the shop. In fact, an average of 4,000 people gather at Chelsea Market every day. This market has become a famous gathering place in Brooklyn, and a second location has been added. The Smorgusburg collects as many as 10,000 people a day, and many of them stop by for the “Japanese inspired tacos” concept.

Please try the new taste created by this unique unification yourself.


ジャパニーズとメキシカン、ニューヨークで人気の二大食文化が融合したユニークなファストフード『Takumi Taco』が話題だ。さまざまな日本食材をアクセントに使ったタコスが、新しい食文化も柔軟に受け入れるニューヨーカーの注目を浴びている。


そして、2010年にフードトラック『Eddies Pizza Truck』を立ち上げ、モバイル・フード・ビジネスに情熱を注いできた。そして、ニューヨークのセレブが足繁く通う高級寿司店『Bond St』のエグゼクティブ・シェフを10年以上務める、マーク・スピッツァー氏と出会い、パートナー提携。2012年4月にフードトラック『Takumi Taco』を立ち上げた。

立ち上げ当初は、フード専門野外マーケット『Smorgasburg』への出店からスタートしたが、瞬く間に人気となり、今では路面店3店舗を構えるまでに急成長。マンハッタンの人気商業施設『Chelsea Market』『Urbanspace Vanderbilt』『Starrett Lehigh』にテナントとして入っている。『Smorgasburg』にもフードトラックを出店し続けているほか、ケータリングにも力を入れている。

刺身同様の鮮度のマグロを使ったタコス「スパイシーツナ」は、人気の巻き寿司を彷彿とさせる具材だ。日本のカレーライスをイメージしたタコス「ジャパニーズ・カレー・ビーフ」や「鳥の照り焼き丼」など、米国人好みの現代的な日本食のテイストがうまく取り入れられている。「ショートリブ、サッポロビール煮込み」は、豚の角煮を思わせる。ほかにも枝豆や柚子、味噌などを巧みに取り入れている。同店が独自開発した「Gyoza Shell」で具材を挟んだタコスも人気がある。メニュー考案・開発は主に、パートナーのマーク氏が担当。さすが有名寿司店で10年以上エグゼクティブ・シェフとして腕を奮っているだけのことはあり、それぞれ個性の強いメキシカンとジャパニーズを組み合わせ、絶妙な調和を創り出している。全体的に日本食材は主張しすぎず、あくまでもアクセントとして活用。メキシカン・タコスとしての美味しさやカジュアルさを維持しているのも、安定した人気の秘訣かもしれない。

同店の集客戦略は「自分たちが集客するのではなくて、人が集まるところに出店すること」だという。実際、チェルシーマーケットには一日平均4,000人が訪れるといい、今やブルックリン名物となり開催地も2カ所に増えた『Smorgasburg』も1日1万人以上の来場者があるという。多くの人が「Japanese Inspired Tacos」というコンセプトに足を止めるという。

Takumi Taco
75 9th Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Tel: 212-989-4200

Website: http://takumitaco.com

Monday-Thursday 11am-9pm
Sunday 11am-8pm
#alljapannews #japanese #mexican #restaurant #taco


Fastidiously created steamed pork buns

Fastidiously created steamed p... Fastidiously created steamed p...
By Keiko Fukuda

The Pacific Square is a shopping mall in Gardena which is a city where many Japanese and Japanese Americans reside. After the recent change of the Japanese grocery store there, which has been reborn as “Tokyo Central & Main”, a small pork buns shop that used to be located at a corner of the food court in the previous market has moved to a new location in the new market. Since the new location is 3 times larger than the previous space, the interior of this shop has been redesigned to provide a red and black color-themed brighter ambience, and a large sign of the menu with photos that are visible from everywhere in the food court has been displayed. A designer/photographer was specifically hired to redesign the shop space for better visibility. The bigger space allowed to expand the menu items such as fried rice and an-kake pan-fried noodles that require larger utensils and space.

The number of customers has been increasing every time I visit this shop. It is like I have been witnessing a great example of a successful case achieved by a small effective change – in this case, a change of location, interior, and addition of an easy-to-read menu sign. Although the taste of the buns has been constantly evolving, the basic concept has been the same – serving of very tasty authentic steamed pork buns, the kind you find in the Tokyo area, which has been the purpose of the owner/chef Kenichi Usui since the opening in 2012. Chef Usui’s career spans 23 years. He worked in a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo for a long time, and then came here 15 years ago. After running a sushi restaurant for a while, he entrusted the shop with the partner and left to start a ramen food truck business.

He said, “I was mainly serving ramen, but the pork buns I tried to add to the menu was such a big hit, and that convinced me to turn it into a pork buns only business.”

First, he started out with an outdoor vendor style shop, and then moved to a small corner shop in the market before turning to Tokyo Central & Main in 2012.

The pork buns are made from scratch by chef Usui with the ingredients procured himself. The size of the buns are overwhelmingly large. You cannot help but smile when tasting its tender voluminous pork and crispy vegetable contents. However, I thought that the price, $3.75, for one pork bun might sound a bit expensive if you have not tasted it yet. I asked him if he ever worried that people may think twice about buying because of the high price. He said, “You pay over 500yen for a good-quality pork bun in Tokyo. My price indicates the kind of quality I am striving for to achieve in my creation.”

For the people who don’t eat pork for religious reasons, and for the many vegans who live in the Los Angeles area, he makes Vegan Yasai Buns. He says, “My wife suddenly became a vegan, which triggered the idea of serving vegan buns. Some customers also asked if I sell vegan buns at the shop.” He told me that there is a regular customer who lives far away who is absolutely hooked on both pork and vegan buns, and buys as many as 30 buns each time to freeze them and defrost one by one to enjoy a few at a time.

Other menu items include meaty cheese buns, crab & pork shumai dumplings, veggie spring rolls, pork & takana dumplings, etc. Besides the pork buns, there are even more items that prove his skills as chef such as grilled gyozas which have been highly recommended by the Los Angeles Times, and chicken wings made by a specially developed recipe by Mr. Usui because it is one of his favorite foods. For the noodle dishes, the House Special An-kake Fried Noodles is sold often.

This pork buns shop has stepped up from an outdoor vendor style shop to a small in-market corner shop, and now to a shop 3 times larger. “People say that I am probably taking too many steps (lol).” Mr. Usui, the fastidious pork bun maker told me his prospect, “I want to come up with a strategy as my next step to have more and more Americans try my pork buns”.










1620 W.Redondo Beach Blvd.
Gardena, CA 90247

Everyday open
#alljapannews #steamedpokbuns #thepacific #square #gardena


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