Top non-Japanese sushi chef in the U.S.

Top non-Japanese sushi chef i... Top non-Japanese sushi chef i...
The world presented by the top non-Japanese sushi chef in the U.S.
By Elli Sekine

I found out about the owner/chef Tim Archuleta through a Japanese TV program. He was appearing on a program about gourmet foods I accidentally watched when I was visiting Japan. The program was featuring non-Japanese sushi chefs who work for popular Japanese sushi restaurants overseas, showing the quality and technique of their sushi making, and how they handle their customers. Among the non-Japanese chefs chosen from the three countries from all over the world, Tim, who runs "Ichi Sushi" in San Francisco, represented the United States. His restaurant is very popular, and has been selected for “Diner’s Choice 2015”, and one of the best 100 local restaurants in the local paper in 2013.

This popular restaurant moved to a bigger new location a year ago, and doubled its seating capacity. There are two other Japanese restaurants on the busy street where it is located, but this restaurant stands out with its sophisticated appearance. Tim greeted me as soon as I stepped into the restaurant, and kindly received my interview with a pleasant smile as I remembered from the TV show. He was born and raised in the Bay Area, and first experienced sushi when he was 18. He was so drawn to sushi, and got himself straight into the Japanese food industry. He started to self-study sushi making while working in various restaurant kitchens, and then moved to a high-end Japanese restaurant and diligently studied the traditional sushi making technique for many years under the owner/chef. He feels he owes the owner/chef teacher for what he is now. Tim became independent in 2006. He started as a caterer and gradually gained a good reputation as a sushi chef. From the catering business, he moved to run a delicatessen in a facility to support local enterprises, and at the same time, opened a sushi bar. He currently runs a shop in the Mission district where hip young people gather. He received the invitation to appear on the TV show last year. He is a person of big curiosity, and played the role of a TV cast very well.

The concept of this new shop is “Arts, Sushi, and Drinks”. The displayed arts are pretty unique. The messages about how to eat sushi such as “Eat sushi in one bite”, “Pick up sushi graving the sides”, “No need to dip sushi in soy sauce”, etc., are the part of the arts. Those messages are most important to Tim for his way of offering his sushi. No soy sauce is provided on the tables. He is educating the American customers of the right way to eat sushi by pre-flavoring with yuzu, ponzu, or salt to enhance the original flavor of the ingredients. His menu does not include a lot of sushi rolls you would normally see in Americanized sushi bars. His attitude to mainly serve high-quality nigiri sushi is well accepted. He aims for creating the traditional Edo-style sushi. He says, “Many Americans used to dip sushi deeply in soy sauce with a lot of wasabi. Here, I serve the kind of sushi that is eaten in one bite and tastes delicious without soy sauce.” I bet you can rarely encounter such a truthfully authentic American sushi chef in the whole U.S. Up to a while ago, true sushi lovers would only choose restaurants run by Japanese people. I feel that the times have changed. Just like Tim, more and more American chefs are building sushi making skills, and there will be more and more cases of flourishing sushi shops in the San Francisco area.

"I would like to offer a sustainable and enjoyable dining experience.”says Erin Archuleta, the co-owner, and wife of Tim, cracking a beautiful smile. Erin has studied the long sustainable business operation strategy. All the locally caught fish for the shop comes from the sustainable environment. They are the pioneers in this area who have been maintaining this ideology since 2006. Another reason that attracts regular customers to this new shop is the bar section. The bar menu has a wide variety of sake and wine. The expanded bar area allowed them to offer Happy Hour so people can come after work in a carefree manner. In addition, the owner couple’s cheerful mannerism seems to be contributing to the nice ambience of the store as well as the happiness of the staff who work there.

Aside from the main nigiri sushi selection, the wide variety of the menu includes rolls and a-la-carte plates. One of them, “UMI MASU IRIDASHI” ($13) tastes very classy with a sweet bonito-dashi flavor. The rich and fatty UMI MASU (salmon trout) is so tender and crumbles to the touch of chopsticks. The topping is the traditional grated daikon and ginger. A nice contrast to this dish is the “MISO ASARI CLAMS” ($11), which is flavored in a rich broth combined with ground meat and black sesame. The ingredients of the many nigiri sushi come directly from Tsukiji market. Because they are so fresh, it is common sense to have them with yuzu or salt instead of soy sauce. More and more Americans admit that they have developed a taste for this style of eating, and have become bigger fans of sushi. Their “Omakase” menu ranging between $70 and $170 is created with great passion by Chef Tim.

“Ichi Sushi” is successful maybe because of the owners having a background in American culture, which adds a playful hint to the creation of the shop. Also because of them being Americans, they never stop pursuing and studying their deep interests in Japanese food, and that sincere attitude is definitely reflected in the operation of the shop.

米トップの “ノンジャパニーズ”寿司シェフが繰り広げる世界

私が「Ichi Sushi」 のオーナーシェフ、ティム・アーチュレタ氏を知ったのは、日本のテレビ番組だった。帰省中にたまたま観たグルメ番組にティム氏が出演していたのだ。内容は海外に展開するノンジャパニーズの寿司屋のシェフを日本に招待し、本拠地の寿司クオリティーや技術、接客法などを紹介したもの。世界3カ国から選ばれた外国人のシェフの中で、米国代表がサンフランシコで「Ichi Sushi」を経営する ティム氏だった。同店は、予約サイト「Open Table」の「diners’ choice2015」や地元新聞のベストレストラン100(2013)にも選ばれている人気店だ。





メニュー構成は握り寿司がメインで、ロール、一品とバラエティに富んでいる。その中で「UMI MASU IRIDASHI」($13)は、カツオ出汁が効いた甘みのある上品な味だ。脂が乗ったウミマスは箸を入れると崩れるくらい柔らかく煮込んであり、トッピングには大根おろしと生姜というとても伝統的な一品。これに対抗して「MISO ASARI CLAMS」($11)は、ひき肉と黒ごまオイルを組み合わせたブロスでパンチの効いた味付け。メインの寿司ネタは築地からの空輸が多く、ネタが新鮮なので醤油をつけずゆずや塩で食べるのがここの常識になっている。アメリカ人客もこの食べ方に変えて寿司がもっと好きになったと定評がある。Omakase ($70-$170) はシェフ、ティム氏が腕によりをかけて創作する。


Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar
Address: 3282 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Phone: (415) 525-4750

Mon—Thu 5:30—10 PM
Fri & Sat 5:30—11 PM
Closed on Sunday

NI Bar Happy Hour: Mon - Sat 5:30—7 PM
#alljapannews #sushi #ichisushi #bar


Sushi restaurant The San Fernando Valley

Sushi restaurant The San Fern... Sushi restaurant The San Fern...
A popular sushi restaurant in an extremely competitive area
By Keiko Fukuda

The San Fernando Valley is located just north of Los Angeles County. On Ventura Boulevard that runs miles east to west in the southern valley, there are so many sushi restaurants. A lot of people in the movie and music industries gather in the area, and everyone has his or her favorite sushi place.

In such a competitive area, there is one place which will soon remarkably have its 15th anniversary: that is the restaurant, “4 on 6”. The location is kind of hidden at the very end corner of a mall, but their regular customers love to go there. They go there to have sushi made by the owner/chef, Kiminobu Saito who has 30-some years of experience. 99% of such customers are Americans.

Chef Saito’s method is brilliant and clear. He says, “The taste buds of Americans and Japanese are different. Japanese who are familiarized with sushi since childhood have better sensitivity to the delicate tastes. Americans cannot quite tell the slight differences of tastes in sushi. So, in order to express such delicate differences, I use the help of additions such as yuzu, daidai, natural salt, delicious dashi, etc. to make it easier to differentiate each taste. I need to let them taste those to open their eyes first. The key ingredients of such additions are salt and reduced soy sauce. My sushi is served pre-flavored, so you don’t need the small soy sauce plate for dipping.”

The most popular sushi dish is nigiri-sushi called “Gravlax”. The top is Chilean salmon which is scrubbed with salt, pepper, and sugar, and then marinated in Vodka with dill, etc., for 3 days. Sour cream and chopped wasabi are added to the salmon topping. The sour cream looks more like cream cheese, and the wasabi looks like yuzu pepper. However, once you put it in your mouth, you will be surprised how well each ingredient works with one another; the sour cream plays a sort of nice buffering role to the richly marinated salmon, and the wasabi gives a nice accent.

“The other day, a group of 4 customers ordered 12 Gravlax at once - 3 for each!” Mr. Saito says. It surely tastes good, as you want to eat one after another.
Many of their fish come directly from Japan. One day, when Mr. Saito was watching a Japanese TV program, he saw a fresh fish-delivering service in Japan. He inquired for the possibility of such a service in the U.S. with the local food industry people, and succeeded to realize it. They receive fresh seafood directly aired from Japan twice a week.

Mr. Saito’s career as a chef started in Los Angeles in 1982. After working as a chef at “Sushi on Sunset”, and “Genmai”, he went back to work in Japan for 2 years. After he came back to the U.S., he worked at various places from extremely busy to high-end places including Inaka in Palos Verdes, Shibuya in Calabasas, and Nobu in Malibu, exclusively as a sushi chef to prepare for the opening of his own place.

He finally opened his own place in December of the same year as9-11. He loves Jazz, and the name, “4 on 6”, came from the title of a famous jazz guitarist, Wes Montgomery’s numbers. That might be the reason why their customers include Larry Carlton.

The reason for the popularity of his place among their many regular customers, famous or not famous, seems to be not only Mr. Saito’s ingenuity as mentioned earlier, but also his hospitality. He says, “I keep the customers interested from the moment they sit down in front of me until they leave. I try to manage and take care of the good flow of the food orders so the customers will remember the sushi bar experience as a whole.” It seems to be similar to a live musician’s performance to charm the audience. He has also been striving for the familiarization of Japanese sake culture among Americans. He used to offer 6 big bottles of famous brand sake specifically chosen by his friends in Japan for his customers for free for the New Year’s celebration in the early days.

Lastly, I asked Mr. Saito about his future prospects. He said, “I would eventually like to change my place to be a small sushi bar for only 6 customers or so.” It sounds like “4 on 6” is headed for a new phase.



そのような寿司激戦区にあって、オープン15周年を迎えるのが、4 on 6だ。モールの一番奥に位置し、目立たない場所。しかし、常連はここを目指してくる。彼らのお目当ては、職人経験30数年のオーナーシェフ、斎藤公信(ルビ:きみのぶ)さんが握る寿司だ。その客の99%はアメリカ人で占められている。





斎藤シェフの職人としての人生は1982年、ロサンゼルスでスタートした。Sushi on Sunset、Genmaiで寿司シェフを務めた後、2年の日本での生活をはさみ、再渡米。その後は寿司一筋。パロスバーデスのInaka、カラバサスのShibuya、そしてマリブのNobuと、超多忙な店からハイエンドな店までカラーが異なる店で、独立までの経験を積んだ。

そして同時多発テロが起こった年の12月、今の場所に店を開けた。店名の4 on 6はジャズの名ギタリスト、ウェス・モンゴメリーの曲のタイトルにちなんだ。ジャズファンである斎藤シェフの店には、その店名が引き付けるのか、ラリー・カールトンも寿司を食べに来る。


最後、今後の抱負を斎藤シェフに聞くと、「6人くらいのお客さんを相手にする小さな寿司バーに業態を変更したい」と答えた。4 on 6は次のフェーズに向かおうとしている。

The San Fernando Valley
4 on 6
16573 Ventura Blvd
Ste 14
Encino, CA 91436
(818) 501-7191

Tue.-Fri. 11:45-14:00,17:30-21:30
Sat.& Sun. 17:30-21:30
Monday closed
#alljapannews #LA #sushi #sanfernandovalley


The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake Part 2

The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake Part 2
By Kosuke Kuji

Kumamoto Earthquake that happened at 9:26 pm on April 14th 2016. As mentioned in the previous column, there were many deaths and evacuees. When this Kumamoto Earthquake happened the very first thing that arose in my mind was the condition of "Kouro" which is the birthplace of Kumamoto brewing yeast No. 9.

Brewing yeast has many varieties starting with brewing yeast No. 1 and currently there is No. 18 which are used by sake makers in Japan and the yeast is the basic production factor to produce high quality sakes.

From all the yeasts, brewing yeast No. 9 has a special existence that it was the yeast that also contributed to the Ginjo sake making in Japan from Showa (1926-1989) era to the beginning of Heisei (1989 -) era.

Ginjo sake has the character of having a wonderful aroma and it was this brewing yeast No. 9 that brought out the highest amount of that Ginjo aroma compared to all the previous brewing yeasts and was also the yeast that was used by head sake makers in Japan. This brewing yeast No. 9 was separated at the brewery in "Kouro" of Kumamoto prefecture with Kouro brewing yeast (Kumamoto brewing yeast) being first found at this brewery, then this yeast was passed onto Brewing Society of Japan that named it brewing yeast No. 9.

Brewing yeast No. 9 was distributed to the breweries in Japan and it became the basic production factor to support the high quality ginjo making. What resulted was the birth of the name "YK-35" (Y is Yamadanishiki rice, K for brewing yeast No. 9 & 35 is rice polishing ratio up to 35%) and there was a time that they said if it wasn't YK-35 you wouldn't be able to win the gold prize at the Annual Japan Sake Awards.

Kouro yeast which is the origin of this brewing yeast No. 9. If electricity was shut down by the Kumamoto Earthquake, the yeast would be destroyed if you are not able to keep it chilled which is necessary for preservation. If such a situation continued for a long time, the famous Kouro yeast (Kumamoto yeast), the original
yeast of brewing yeast No. 9, would be gone from this world.

If that were to happen that would mean losing a 'treasure' of the Japan brewery industry and it would be such a major blow to the Japanese sake world.
Is the yeast OK? That just worried me for several days when I received a call from Kumamoto.

The call was from the Mr. Morikawa (master sake brewer) in Kouro. To be continued in #3.

酒豪大陸「熊本大地震 その2」








#alljapannews #kumamoto #earthquake #japan #sake


New wave French cuisine

New wave French cuisine New wave French cuisine
New wave French cuisine with Japanese accents
By Aya Ota

In the corner of the busy East Village district, there is a restaurant with an attractive looking red-painted entrance that draws your attention. The wood-based interior creates a cozy space which makes you forget about the busy city life as soon as you step inside. The name of the restaurant is “Autre Kyo Ya”, where a new wave French cuisine is served.

The executive chef, Shuji Furukawa, who displays his skills vigorously in the kitchen, grew up in the Japanese green tea culture because his parents are the growers and the manufacturers of Yamecha in Fukuoka, Kyushu. After graduating from a Japanese cooking school, he worked in a French restaurant in Japan. Then, he went to France and built his skills on his experiences working in some famous restaurants in the Champagnes region as well as in Paris. He came to the United States in 2012. He wanted to utilize his skills in New York because he passionately believed that New York is where people from all over the world with international and diverse tastes gather.

Mr. Furukawa’s unique sense in cooking cannot be experienced anywhere else. The basic ingredients are procured locally, but the key ingredients are imported from France and Japan. The “Sea Urchin Consommé Gelée ($14)” is prepared with puréed parsnips topped with an onsen-tamago (Japanese style poached egg) covered with a consommé jelly sauce made by cooking beef and chicken for a long time. On top of the sauce is fresh sea urchin with a touch of seasonal citrus fruit to add an aroma. This seemingly unusual combination of ingredients works together, and each smooth texture creates a unified sense. This dish is so very carefully thought out as each ingredient is kept at the right temperature. The “House-smoked Octopus ($14)” is char-broiled, but the texture is kept soft like sashimi. The unique sauce made with scorched butter and smoked soy sauce gives this dish a complicated aroma, and the lime oil adds a refreshing taste. The “Roasted Kamo-Duck Confit Filo ($28)” is a gorgeous dish to enjoy duck cooked at medium rare and juicy phyllo-wrapped confit at the same time. You can enjoy this dish three different ways with three different sauces; creamy seasonal mushroom sauce, red wine with Japanese pepper sauce, and refreshing sour sauce with rhubarb and beets.

Mr. Furukawa says, “My way of cooking has no boundaries. I don’t want to have any rules to limit the scope of cooking.” Many of their customers are particular about what they eat, and come looking for a new taste in French cuisine. They don’t hesitate to ask about the ingredients and the cooking methods they are curious about on the menu. In order to satisfy such customers, he started the “Chef’s Special Course” menu, with which he explains the dishes as he serves them.

The interior reflects the concept of the restaurant as well. It does not look very Japanese by appearance, but the marble tiles and the cedar wood are from Japan. The ceiling is high, tables are far apart, and the volume of BGM is appropriate. The front windows were wide-open when I visited, which provided an even more relaxing ambience.

This restaurant was actually opened as a sister store to “Kyo Ya”, a New York Times 3-star and 1-Michelin star winning authentic Kaiseki-style Japanese restaurant, in the beginning of 2016. “Autre” is a French word that means “another”. As with the difference in the name, “Autre Kyo Ya” serves different styles of dishes, and offers a different ambience. However, creating harmonious tastes using seasonal ingredients from each of the 4 seasons faithfully, and decorating delicately beautiful plates are definitely the carried-over traditions from the original “Kyo Ya”.


賑やかなイーストヴィレッジの街の一画に、赤いペンキを塗ったチャーミングなエントランスがひときわ目を引く店がある。一歩足を踏み入れると、木をふんだんに取り入れた落ち着いた雰囲気の空間が広がり、一瞬で街の喧噪を忘れてしまう。ここは、和食材や和食の技術を巧みに取り入れた、新感覚のフランス料理を提供する店、『Autre Kyo Ya』だ。


古川氏の独特な感性で作る料理は、他の店では決して味わえない。基本的な食材は地元で仕入れるが、キーになる食材は日本やフランスから仕入れているという。「ウニとコンソメゼリー($14)」は、パースニップのピューレの上に温泉卵をのせ、牛肉と鶏肉を使い時間をかけて抽出したコンソメのゼリーかけて、新鮮なウニをトッピング。そして、季節ごとに変える旬のシトラスの香りをまとわせている。意外な組み合わせのように感じるが、それぞれの食材が持つなめらかな食感が、統一感を生み出している。パーツごとに適切な温度に調整しているというほど、手の込んだ一品だ。「自家製燻製タコ($14)」 は、炭火でグリルしているが、刺身のような柔らかな食感を残している。焦がしバターと燻製醤油のソースが独特で複雑な香りを生み出し、さらにライムオイルで爽やかに仕上げている。「鴨肉のロースト、フィロで包み焼きにした鴨肉のコンフィ($28)」は、ミディアムレアに焼き上げた鴨肉と、フィロで包み焼きにしたジューシーなコンフィの両方を、一度に楽しめる贅沢な一皿。季節のキノコをふんだんに使ったクリーミーなソース、山椒をアクセントに加えた赤ワインのソース、ルバーブとビーツで作る爽やかな酸味のあるソースと、3種類のソースが添えられ、さまざまな組み合わせを味わうことができる。




Autre Kyo Ya
10 Stuyvesant Street
New York, NY 10003
Tel: 212-598-0454

Tues-Wed 5:30pm–11pm
Thurs-Fri 5:30pm-12am
Sat 11am-12am
Sun 11am-10pm
#alljapannews #frenchcuisine #Japaneseaccecnts #autrekyoya


Sake Testing

Sake Tasting
by Yuji Matsumoto

Experience and knowledge are indispensable for sake tasting, but doing many tastings absent-mindedly does not help.

Many tend to think that a person must have an excellent sense of judging taste (to have people think that way is very flattering), but that isn’t necessarily so. Also, those who wish to become a sake sommelier seem to think that one must keep on trying different types of sake.

To be able to taste sake, the most importing to do is to identify and set your own tasting criteria. The criteria are not based on one’s preferences, so one must find the foundation that become the basis for judging various sake. One must have that foundation in place to be able to recognize aroma, acidity, body and umami, that different types of sake have. Knowledge and information that you gather would supplement that to help correctly and fairly assess sake products.

So how can one establish that foundation for establishing your own tasting criteria? Here is the quickest and least expensive way of doing it, based on my own experience.

First, buy low-priced sake at a store. Try it every day for 15 days, even if you don’t like it or it’s simply horrible (some people may need 20 days). Do not drink it until it makes you drunk. It’s most important that you drink a certain amount every day, even if it’s just enough to fill an ochoko (tiny sake cup). Do not try other sake while you’re trying one.

Stop for two to three days to rest your liver, then do a tasting of a different sake. You will probably realize that you can profile the sake to surprising details. The differences in acidity, the body, aroma, and umami, as well as aftertaste intensity – you should be able to clearly tell those differences.

Once you have that understanding, all you need to do is study on which step of the process makes those differences. Also, deepen your understanding on raw ingredients and water, and study how to express them as well as food pairings. This way, you will become a great sake sommelier.







#saketesting #alljapannews #japanesesake


Unique ramen in a Venetian restaurant

Unique ramen in a Venetian re... Unique ramen in a Venetian re... Unique ramen in a Venetian re... Unique ramen in a Venetian re... Unique ramen in a Venetian re...
Unique ramen you can taste in a sophisticated modern Venetian-style restaurant
By Aya Ota

“All’onda” is the name of the restaurant which some New Yorkers are glued to due to its unique concept of the modern Venetian cuisine. It is located in a sophisticated looking two-story building in the Union Square district of Manhattan with huge glass windows in front that draw the eyes of people who walk by. The ground floor of the building is laid out as a stylish bar, and the upstairs is a relaxing wooden interior space. Who would have thought that ramen is served in such a sophisticated Italian restaurant?

There are 3 ramen dishes: “Chicken Miso Ramen”, “Tonkotsu Ramen”, and the most unusual “Parmesan Dashi Ramen”. This unique ramen does not look very different from any other ramen in appearance. The soup is clear, and nothing in the bowl looks like cheese. However, as soon as you taste the soup, the flavor of parmesan cheese spreads in your mouth. I was astonished to learn the unique idea of making such dashi for the soup which is made by combining the hard crusty surface of parmesan cheese with traditional konbu dashi. The noodles are made on-site daily as you would expect from any authentic Italian restaurant. The toppings are a boiled egg, corn kernels, grilled scallions and maitake mushrooms which add an exquisite accent with its smoky scorched flavor. The other two ramen dishes, “Chicken Miso Ramen” and “Tonkotsu Ramen” sound ordinary, but taste quite different from what you normally imagine from the names. The soups look light and clear, but both soups give so much more flavor than they appear, and you can really taste chicken or pork respectively. They both taste harmonious yet without being too different. I am sure that there is no other place where you can have such unique ramen. They are served as a part of the soup menu for weekday lunch time. You can order a bowl either as a single item, or can also pair with a sandwich item such as a hamburger. For the weekend brunch, they are served as single menu items. When I saw Americans eating ramen with chopsticks in such a stylish Italian restaurant, I could not hide my surprise. I was so impressed by how far ramen culture has evolved in this country.

Ramen is not the only Japanese food on the menu. There are seafood dishes prepared with ingredients such as soy sauce, miso, yuzu pepper, and wasabi. For instance, the “Bucatini” is their signature dish with a generous portion of smoked uni (sea urchin) in rich egg yolk and cream sauce. The “Hamachi” is prepared in olive oil and soy sauce with a hint of pepperoncini as an accent. With the pickled broccoli stem added, it tastes similar to fresh sashimi in ponzu sauce. They also carry a sensible lineup of sake drinks including 3 different brands of basic sake, sparkling junmai sake, unfiltered junmai ginjo sake, and junmai daiginjo sake.

“It was a very natural thing for me to combine Venetian cuisine with Japanese ingredients,” says the executive chef/part owner of the restaurant, Mr. Chris Jaeckle. He used to work at “Ai Fiore”, the 3-star Italian restaurant by the Network Times as chef de cuisine. He also worked at “Morimoto”, a modern Japanese restaurant, and “Eleven Madison Park”, a contemporary American restaurant.
The one who developed the unique ramen dishes is the sous-chef, Joe Downey-Zayas. He says, “Because a lot of seafood is used in Venetian cuisine, it shares many common points with Japanese cuisine. The way sardines or tomatoes are used to bring out the flavors effectively is similar to the Japanese dashi concept. Another similarity the two cuisines share is having a wide-variety of noodle dishes. Italian has pastas, and Japanese has ramen, udon, etc.” Mr. Downey-Zayas started as a cook, and his ability won him a quick promotion to sous-chef only within a few months. He has been loving Japanese foods such as ramen and yakitori ever since he was a child. He was given a scholarship in 2015 to learn Japanese cooking at a traditional Japanese restaurant, and built up the skills for Japanese cuisine during that time.

In such an influential Italian restaurant, two chefs with mighty abilities are working together and creating an extraordinary menu. This is a restaurant that I want to visit repeatedly to find something new and exciting every time.





「ヴェネツィア料理に日本食材を組み合わせることは、とても自然なことだった」と語るのは、同店のエグゼクティブ・シェフでありパートナーのクリス・ジャックル氏ジャックル氏は、同店開店前は、ニューヨーク・タイムズ紙で三つ星を獲得したイタリアン・レストラン『Ai Fiori』でシェフ・デ・キュイジーンを務めた。その前にもモダン・ジャパニーズ『Morimoto』や、コンテンポラリー・アメリカン『Eleven Madison Park』で腕を奮った経験を持つ。


22 E 13th St, New York, NY 10003, United States
Phone: +1 212-231-2236
#alljapannews #ramen #Venetian #restaurant


Preserving pure Japanese cuisine

Preserving pure Japanese cuis... Preserving pure Japanese cuis... Preserving pure Japanese cuis... Preserving pure Japanese cuis... Preserving pure Japanese cuis... Preserving pure Japanese cuis...
Preserving pure and unchanging Japanese cuisine
By Elli Sekine

“Kiss Seafood” is located in a corner of a building which is not very easy to spot from the main street of Japan Town. No sigh is up outside, so hardly anyone will notice there is a restaurant there. There are only ten seats, and the space looks more like a coffee shop. The interior is almost white, and is clean and bright. The seasonal fresh flowers and plants illuminated by the light from the high ceiling gives a comfortable dining ambience to the space. This small place is actually a pioneer of introducing Omakase-style menus in the San Francisco area, and has been a kind of hidden gem to the regular customers and business people over the last 16 years.

“Kiss” was opened 16 years ago by Mr. Takao Nakagawa, the owner/chef, who wanted to have a place where he could enjoy full control of operations. That was what I heard from him during my first interview with him 14 years ago. Before that, Mr. Nakagawa had worked for a long time in a Japanese restaurant, and reached the point where he wanted to open his own place to serve pure traditional Japanese cuisine. Back then, in S.F., Americanized sushi and rolls were being developed, and fusion Japanese cuisine was popular among the high-end customers. However, “Kiss” kept the traditional way. The dashi was made by konbu and katsuo, and complementary small appetizers, a-la-carte dishes, sushi, and an Omakase-style traditional Japanese menu was served. In recent years, the high-end Japanese restaurants where traditional Japanese cuisine is served are very popular. The word, Omakase (chef’s special menu), has become a Japanese American term, and is used widely. I asked Mr. Nakagawa how he felt about this phenomenon. He said, “I did not care at all about the trend back then. I was just offering the kind of menu that I, as a Japanese chef, was supposed to”. In the meantime, more and more Japanese food was introduced, and at the same time, the Americans developed their taste for it, which resulted in their recent appreciation for more traditional Japanese cuisine. “Kiss”, which once seemed un-trendy, was actually the pioneer for the modern world.

The place actually doesn’t feel small once you sit down at the counter. It is because Mr. Nakagawa who values communication with the customers has applied the ideal height and depth of the tables, lighting that makes food look pretty, etc. into his design for the place. This well thought-out comfortable distance between the guests and the chef results not only in good conversations, but conveys the chef’s craftsman spirit. Guests can see the ingredients and how they are cooked from where they sit. The number of dishes that are mainly fish in the menu is not a large amount, and10 seats/2 rotations a day, 20 meals in total allows him to manage to get the right amount of food ingredients daily. He is particular about the seasonality, and pre-orders seasonal fish ingredients. “Daily Special” menu I had included 5 selective fresh fish dishes, and tender octopus was used in the sashimi, and a nimomo dish with bamboo shoots. Every ingredient had the perfect texture, and you can really enjoy each flavor. Two Omakase menus (priced at $60 or $78) depend on the sushi or sashimi ingredients. Other popular dishes besides sushi and sashimi are “Hamachi-kama or Tai-snapper collar Misozuke and vegetable cooked in broth)” ($7.50), “Chawan Mushi (eggs, vegetables and seafood steamed in broth) ($6.50), etc. The a-la-carte dishes are cooked in the traditional Japanese style, and lightly flavored to effectively enhance the natural flavor of each ingredient. They also carry more than 40 different brands of premium sake for pairing with those wonderful traditional dishes. Some of those sake brands are from well-known very rare and small breweries.

In San Francisco, there has been a big spike of commodity prices and rents in the past several years due to the IT industry bubble burst, and the minimum wage has also increased all over California. Many of the restaurant owners in the area are heavily affected by it; however, this shop has not raised the prices of most of the dishes from 16 years ago. Most of the other places charge at least $100 for an Omakase menu, so it is rare to find a place where you can pay only $60 for an Omakase menu with 5 dishes. How can they not get affected by the spike? The answer is that it is a husband and wife only operation. They were able to purchase the property at the right time, and started the business at a minimal investment. Their unchanging tastes and business operating system have overcome the global financial crisis, and allowed them to maintain the stable operation until this day. Their way of operation is not the only thing that has not changed. They still take reservations only by phone whereas everybody else uses the internet. They believe that it helps to judge the characters of the customers by the voice. This way, they rarely experience cancellation without notice. Still no sign outside, and with no advertisement, this little place seems to have won a status of a rare secret hiding place for many of their customers.

Such an operation system where the owner can have full control in a small scale restaurant may be the ideal way. You cannot expect a huge profit, but on the other hand, can be more resilient to overcome the ever-changing economy. I asked him about his prospects and dreams for the future. He said, “I would like to continue until I reach the targeted age as long as I keep my health.” I felt warm feelings by watching him enjoying the conversations with the regular customers, explaining to them about the cooking over the counter.


ジャパンタウンのメインストリートから外れた目立たない建物の一角に「Kiss Seafood」はある。外に看板もなく一見レストランと気づく人は少ないだろう。たった10席の小さなカフェのようなサイズ。店内は明るく清潔で、白を基調とした壁飾られた季節の樹木や花が高い天井からの採光が受け、居心地の良いダイニングを作り上げている。実はこの小さな店、SFで「オマカセ」メニューを始めた先駆者的な存在で、16年間常連客やビジネス客を魅了している”隠れ家的”名店なのだ。


カウンターに座ると結構広々としている。この設計は、コミュミケーションを大切にしている中川氏が、客との目線やテーブルの高さや、深さ、食べ物が綺麗に見えるライティングなどを考慮しデザインした。客との対話以外にもシェフの職人スピリットが伝わって来るこの距離感が良い。食材や調理法が目の前で見える特等席だ。魚に特化した同店のメニューの品数は多くない。1日10席2回転、全20食分。ネタも予想がつくので丁度使いきれるくらいに調整できる。中川氏のこだわりは季節に敏感であること。旬な魚はプリオーダーで調達している。「今日のスペシャル」は新鮮で活きの良い魚のセレクト5品。今日は柔らかいタコを使った料理が刺身とタケノコと一緒に煮物に使われていた。どれも具材の柔らかさが完璧で、季節の風味をたっぷり味わえる一品だ。5、6品を組み合わせたオマカセは2種類($60、$78)で寿司や刺身のネタで値段が違う。人気メニューは刺身、寿司以外アラカルトでは、ハマチや鯛のカマ味噌漬け($7.50), 茶碗蒸し($6.50)など。一品料理はどれも割烹風で食材を活かした薄味。そんなメニューに合うプレミアムな日本酒も40種類以上揃えている。中には珍しい小さな酒蔵の銘酒もある。

SFではこの5、6年、ITバブルの影響で物価、家賃が急騰し、最低賃金はカリフォルニア全体で上がり、レストランオーナー達は悲鳴を上げている。しかし同店は驚いたことに16年前からメニューの値段をほとんどあげていない。最近では「Omakase」コースであればどこも$100以上取るレストランが多い中、同店のように$60で5コース食べられる店は探しても少ないはず。物価の影響を受けていないという事だろうか? 答えはご夫婦二人だけの家族経営にあった。良い時代に物件を確保し、最小限で店を始めた結果、それが功を生じている。変わらない味、変わらない経営体制は、リーマンショックにも耐え、今でも安定した経営を持続させている。変わらないのは経営だけではなく、デジタルの時代に予約も電話のみ。相手の声を聞く事で客層も把握でき、連絡なしのキャンセルもほとんどないとか。未だに広告も看板もないが、そんな店が今では”隠れ家的存在”として、希少価値を上げているようだ。


Kiss Seafood
1700 Laguna St, San Francisco, CA 94115, United States
Phone: +1 415-474-2866
Open 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm, Wed - Sat
#alljapannews #japaneserestaurant #seafood


Organic vegan Japanese restaurant

Organic vegan Japanese resta... Organic vegan Japanese resta... Organic vegan Japanese resta...
Organic vegan Japanese restaurant
Popularity has resulted in two L.A. locations

By Keiko Fukuda

“Shojin” located in a shopping mall in downtown Los Angeles is a vegan restaurant where only organic vegetables are used for their dishes, but you can still enjoy the taste of authentic and creative Japanese cuisine. This reputation has been attracting vegan and gluten-free food lovers not only from all over California, but even from overseas. In order to respond to the requests from the regular visitors, the second restaurant opened in Culver City in March of 2013.

The core of this restaurant is its concept that has 4 principles; organically grown chemical-free ingredients, natural ingredients with no additives for the concern of the health of the customers, body-pleasing macrobiotic cooking originated in Japan, and vegan food which means no meat, fish, eggs or milk.

The owner, Mr. Tsuguhiro Morishima is so particular about the ingredients. He says, “There are several different ranks of organic state. We check the contents, and select what is closest possible to their natural state, and make sure that there are no additives. The price won’t affect the selection. Our head chef is a skilled cook who studied the traditional way of how to add flavors in Japanese cuisine in Japan, and is able to utilize the natural energies of the ingredients that are organic vegetables, takes them and gives them a nice subtle flavor. He makes everything - even sauces and dressings from scratch. He selects the ingredients and cooks them as a mother cooks for her children at home, so to speak.”

However, as successful as they are now, the first 3 years from the opening of the first restaurant in 2008 was a struggle. “We managed to stay in business thanks to the regular customers who agreed with and supported our concept.”

Mr. Morishima analyzes the success as follows: While many other restaurants aim for better numbers in sales and lowering of cost, we rather strived for making healthy Japanese cuisine that would impress customers. The slow but steady efforts for that goal might have been well understood and conveyed to the outside through our regular customers, and resulted in bringing people even from overseas now. Another contributing factor is the characteristic of the city of Los Angeles where many people have a strong consciousness about health and love for animals, and those people, including celebrities, are naturally attracted to the concept.”

Through his career, Mr. Morishima worked for French and Japanese restaurants in Japan, and then became in charge of hiring, educating, and allocating the staff as the chief of the banquet room staff. Moreover, he has handled big banquets for as many as 2,000 people in hotel weddings, catering events, or cruising parties with VIP including royalty and government officials. The head chef, Mr. Jun Matoshiro who built his career in Japanese cuisine in Japan has been with this restaurant since 2011.

Lastly, I asked Mr. Morishima about his future goals. He said, “I remember what a well-known Michelin chef once said. He said that chefs who can create dishes that not only taste good, but also provide health to the customers will be the true chefs of the future. Many of Shojin’s customers have allergies or cannot eat certain foods. I strongly hope that we can help such customers enjoy the experience of eating out without worry. I know that some children cannot eat birthday cakes due to allergies, so they just blow out the candles. I would like to offer such children and even adults the cakes they can eat safely. In order to realize his hope, he will open a dessert shop “Pomegranate” in April with the same concept as Shojin; Organic, natural, vegan, and gluten-free.







最後に、森島さんに今後の目標を聞いた。「あるフランスの有名なミシュランシェフの言葉を覚えています。『これからの時代は、ただ美味しいだけではなく、お客様の健康を作り出せるシェフこそが本物のシェフである』と。SHOJINに来るお客様は、アレルギーがあったり、何か食べられない物があったりする方が中心です。そんなお客様が安全に安心して楽しく外食ができるようになれば、と強く願っています。また、誕生日にキャンドルを吹き消すだけでアレルギーが原因でケーキを口にできない子供がいます。そんな子供や大人たちに安心して食べられるケーキを提供したい。そこで、SHOJINと同じコンセプト、ORGANIC,NATURAL,VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREのデザートショップ「ポメグラネイトPOMEGRANATE」を4月にオープンさせます」

Little Tokyo Shopping Center 3F, 333 S Alameda St #310, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States

Monday - Friday
5:30 - 11:00 p.m. (L.C. 10:30 p.m.)
12 - 11:00 p.m. (L.C. 10:30 p.m.)
12 - 10:00 p.m. (L.C. 9:30 p.m.)

#alljapannews #japaneserestaurant #vagan #organic


Choosing the Right Japanese Sake

Choosing the Right Japanese Sake for Your Restaurant
By Yuji Matsumoto

In this issue, I would like to mention a few pointers regarding how to select Japanese sakes that match your store.

1. Is the price set to match the average customer's spending amount?
If customer spending is about $30, please check if the price is set at least at about $6 (20% of customer spending) per person. For a group of 2, check if you have a product (300ml - 500ml) that is about $12 to $15. For this example, it is necessary to have product selections that are reasonably priced.

2. Is the sake truly compatible with the food?
I went to a yakitori restaurant the other day but most of the Japanese sakes were famous brands that didn't go well with the yakitori. You're not offering sakes that go well with the yakitori and hard to sell due to the higher prices.

3. Offer domestic Japanese sakes at a great extent.
The U.S. made 1.8L house sake at most restaurants are used for hot sake, but in reality there are some that taste even better served chilled. Also, compatibility with dishes are broadened and feel it's a worth a try.

4. Offering sake at Happy Hour
Try selling as a set. If an appetizer is about $5, consider selling it as a set with chilled sake at about $12.

5. Reconfirm servers' training
Don't forget the steady efforts to offer Japanese sakes to the customer when you take the first drink order.

6. Use of the white board
Write down special sake(s) of the day, special food items of the day etc.
If you have an 'omakase', make sure to include Japanese sake or shochu.



1. 平均顧客単価に合った値段設定になっているか?

2. 料理との相性が本当にあっているか?

3. ドメスティックの日本酒を大いに活用する。
ほとんどのレストランでは、アメリカ産18L のハウス酒は、熱燗となっているが、実は、冷やして飲むと格段に美味しくなるものもある。また、料理との相性の幅も広がるので試してみる価値はある。

4. ハッピーアワーの活用

5. サーバートレーニングの再確認

6. ホワイトボードの活用
#alljapannews #japaneserestaurant #japanesesake


Sake Nation The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquak

Sake Nation The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake Vol 1
By Kosuke Kuji

On April 14th 9:26 pm this year, there was a very large earthquake of 6.5 magnitude centered in Kumamoto prefecture. As mentioned in many reports from the media there was extensive damage and casualties. As of April 30th today, 49 deaths, 17 deaths assumed as earthquake related, 1 person missing, and people evacuated amounting to 26,000.

They have measured over 1000 aftershocks since the earthquake happened 2 weeks ago, and there are many people that cannot be guaranteed safety to return to their homes.

We have heard there are also many people that are cleaning up their home during the daytime and staying at an evacuation site or in their vehicle at nighttime.

There has especially been an emergence of a new type of evacuation with evacuees staying in their cars for this earthquake and many people have been diagnosed with Economy Syndrome from living in a tight space car which has contibuted to many of the earthquake related deaths.

Damage from Tsunami was enormous for the Great East Japan Earthquake and there were many people that died from the Tsunami. I mentioned it is called the Kumamoto Earthquake, but I've heard there was massive damage in Yufuin area in Oita prefecture, and still the people in Kumamoto and Oita are doing the best they can recovering while there are still threats of aftershocks. This Kumamoto Earthquake had supplies not being delivered to the evacuation sites and various problems were revealed. Lessons learned from the Great East Japan Earthquake were not of any help?

I've heard that there were very few earthquakes in Kumamoto prior to this. Since there was a large earthquake in such a place like Kumamoto, I can't help but realize that this could happen anywhere in Japan.

It happens that Kumamoto prefecture is also a very important place in the long history of Japanese sake.

In Kumamoto prefecture there is a brewery named "Kumamoto Prefecture Brewing Institute Co., LTD" that makes a sake named "Kouro."

This "Kouro" brewery is very famous where Kumamoto brewing yeast originated. Kumamoto brewing yeast #9 which established the first generation of Japanese sake, especially "Ginjo sake." What happened to this Kumamoto brewing yeast from this earthquake? ....

I would like to share the answer with you in the next "volume 2."

酒豪大陸「熊本大地震 その1」

日本でも大変有名な観光地となりました東京スカイツリー(TOKYO SKYTREE)。日本人観光客もたくさん訪れますが、近年、外国人観光客も大勢訪れて、大賑わいです。

東京スカイツリーは世界一高い電波塔(the world's tallest free-standing broadcasting tower)で、タワーの高さは634mにもなります。展望デッキなどもあり、グランドオープン時には大変な混雑と、予約制の展望デッキへの入場は、まさに抽選で当たった人だけのプラチナチケットでした。


そんなスカイツリーに隣接する「東京ソラマチ」(TOKYO Solamachi)という新しい商店街には、日本中の様々な専門店が入居していますが、ここに何と日本酒、焼酎など本物の日本の酒を販売する、地酒専門酒販店「はせがわ酒店」(Hasegawa Saketen)が入りました。

南部美人(Nanbu Bijin)をはじめ、日本中で手造りの、心を込めた地酒が、日本の今一番ホットなスポットで販売していただいております。



#alljapannews #japanesesake #kumamoto


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