Becoming a trend setter in a very short time

Becoming a trend setter in a ... Becoming a trend setter in a ... Becoming a trend setter in a ...
By Aya Ota

The “Zuma” group has opened 10 contemporary Japanese restaurants all over the world in the cities such as Hong Kong, Istanbul, Dhaka, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, and Rome since they opened the first location in London in 2002. In the United States, following the first location in Miami in 2010, another one opened in the Midtown district of New York in January of 2015, which has already become a trend setter almost immediately.

“To me, cooking is the same as languages. Cooking is communication”, says the executive chef, Oliver Lange. He was already interested in cooking at a tender age. There was a sushi restaurant in the neighborhood where he grew up, which got him familiarized with Japanese cuisine. Later, he toured all over Japan to learn about Japanese cuisine, and was deeply influenced by the Japanese food culture.

While he was expanding his career and gaining excellent reviews as a chef worldwide in Munich, Frankfurt, and London, he met Rainer Becker, the founder of the Zuma Group, at one occasion, and ended up becoming the head chef of the Group’s London restaurant. His superb ability got him promoted to Executive Chef of Zuma in New York in September of 2015, only several months later.

At “Zuma”, you can enjoy modern and elegant Japanese cuisine evolved from traditional and philosophical Japanese culture. In order to create a casual relaxing atmosphere despite of the high-end rich looking interior, the izakaya style of serving was chosen. The dishes delivered one by one from any of the three different sections - the sushi bar, the robata grill, and the principal kitchen - can be shared with your family and friends at your table. For those who are not familiar with izakaya style dining, your server is most willing to explain or answer questions. Many of the customers prefer “omakase” style ordering.

In addition to the standard menu items shared by all the Zuma restaurants worldwide, each one offers different items based on the local ingredients and favorites. Here in New York, there are some original items such as “Freshly Seared Wagyu Sirloin Tataki with Black Truffle Ponzu”, “Saikyo Miso Bun with Uni”, “Grilled Octopus, Lemon Chili Sauce and Yuzu Pickled Fennel”, “Smoked Chutoro, White Asparagus and Yuzu Shallots”. Chef Oliver’s newest creation, “Black Cod Marinated in Saikyo Miso with Wasabi Citrus Sauce” is superb. As he says, “I love to combine miso and citrus flavors”, he delivers this favorite combination of Japanese ingredients well in this dish by gently and flavorfully grilling the thick piece of black cod filet in magnolia leaves, and enhancing its flavor with Saikyo miso sauce mixed with wasabi and citrus juice. The Sankyo miso used in this dish was created specifically for this restaurant. They carry more than 150 different kind of sake. “Zuma Ginjo”, brewed exclusively for the Zuma Group by a brewer in Akita prefecture is a very smooth one.

As described in the words of the founder, Mr. Rainer Becker, “Zuma is about a complete dining experience”, and the interior of the restaurant is definitely included in its concept. As you step into the 2-story, 9,959 sqf of luxurious space, it overwhelms you. The natural materials such as wood and stones used generously and accentuated by Japanese motifs create a gorgeous yet relaxing ambience. The main dining room on the first floor has an atrium style ceiling, which gives an open feeling. The tables are far apart, and some are very private. The second floor lounge provides an intimate and comfortable space. You can get a customized service in one of the 6 private rooms for a party from a meeting to a cocktail reception. This modern and functional interior space was designed by a Japanese architect, Noriyoshi Muramatsu.

The Group is in the process of opening another one in Las Vegas by the end of this year. “Zuma” is definitely the kind of restaurant you should try.




 『Zuma』では、日本食文化の伝統と哲学を重視しつつも、現代的かつ優雅に進化させた料理の数々を楽しめる。高級感あふれる店内でありつつも、くつろいだ雰囲気で過ごしてもらいたいという想いから、居酒屋スタイルを採用。3つのセクション、 “寿司バー”、“炉端グリル”、“メインキッチン”から次々と運ばれてくる料理を、友人や家族とシェアできるよう考慮されている。居酒屋スタイルに不慣れな客には、サーバーが丁寧に説明するほか、“おまかせ”を用意し利用する客が多い。

 日本酒も150銘柄以上取りそろえている。秋田県の蔵元が特別に醸した「Zuma Ginjo」は喉ごしが柔らかく格別の一本だ。



261 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-544-9862

Monday - Friday
Lunch 11:45am – 3:00pm
Dinner 5:45pm – 11:30pm
Dinner 5:45pm – 11:30pm
Dinner 5:45pm – 10:00pm

Monday - Saturday
Dinner 5:45pm – 11:30pm

Monday - Saturday
Bar & Snacks 5:00pm – 12:00am
#alljapannews #newyork #suma #sushibar #izakaya


High-end restaurant opened where first-class food and service are offered

High-end restaurant opened w... High-end restaurant opened w... High-end restaurant opened w... High-end restaurant opened w... High-end restaurant opened w...
By Elli Sekine

In the May, an anticipated and well talked-about true authentic Japanese restaurant called “Hashiri” opened in downtown San Francisco. Mr. Ikuo Hayashi, the CEO of an IT enterprise, “Digital Garage, Inc.”, and also the owner of “Hashiri” of Daikanyama, Tokyo, had an idea of having a first-rated authentic Japanese restaurant in San Francisco which could become the center location of his business expansion, and started this joint venture with Mr.Ryuichi Terayama and Mr. Yasuyuki Rokuyata. The menu displays only omakase-style courses of kaiseki and sushi prepared with unified Japanese and Californian ingredients. The average food cost per customer is $450, which is as high-end as other Michelin 3-star San Francisco restaurants. This “Hashiri” in S.F. is their first overseas restaurant with a new concept where the owners’ careers have been reflected, and demonstrated everywhere.

The first thing that draws your attention is its innovative appearance. The modern CA/Japan cross-cultural art by LA resident modernism designer, Yutaka Tamura, sweeps away everybody’s image of Japanese restaurants. Abstract modern art on the walls create a metropolitan pop culture-like ambience, and as a good contrast, the sushi bar is decorated with very quiet and Japan-like designs. The Japanese calligraphic letters that spell “Hashiri” are lighted up to create an impressive image. Projected on the ceiling of the dining room area are 4 seasons of Japanese scenery created by Hiroyuki Nakano, a Japanese film writer, on a very high-tech looking projector screen which gives you the feel of every season at the table.

Every department, from the reception to the kitchen, consists of a strong team of professionals who are well experienced in working for Japanese restaurants both in Japan and the U.S. The executive chef is Mr. Takashi Saito who used to be the head chef of “Yunoki”, the kaiseki chef is Mr. Shinichi Aoki who used to be the head chef of “Keigetsu” (no longer in business), and the sushi chef at the counter is Mr. Tokunori Makari from “Hashiri” Daikanyama.

“Hashiri”’s theme is the presentation of seasonal freshness. Each dish expresses the first crops, in-season produce, and ending-season produce of each seasonal period. Mr. Saito wants the customers to taste the season with all 5 senses because season is the secret ingredient of the traditional Japanese cuisine.

Californian produce must be organic, and he visits the local farmer’s market to acquire it directly from the farmers. The fresh fish is sent directly from Tsukiji by air. The omakase course created by the soul of the chef is prepared with the fresh crops of the season (hashiri) of both Japan and California, each artistically arranged in beautiful Japanese pottery imported from various regions of Japan.

The course with 12 dishes starts with the appetizer of Japanese mustard spinach which is the hashiri of spring or summer, steamed shrimp dumpling in a starchy sauce, young sweetfish karaage, etc. which are artfully arranged on a plate. The soup dish called “oan” is pike congera sea eel in broth lightly flavored with yuzu. The next is “otsukuri” (sashimi) accentuated by lotus stem and myoga ginger followed by “hachi no mono” (in a bowl) which contains eggplant topped with elegant sea urchin, then, nenrin daikon (steamed ground meat and daikon layered roll), and well-seasoned jellied meat and vegetable dish. The main dish is top-grade Kagoshima wagyu grilled on Bincho charcoal, and black-throat sea perch. The generous portion of side vegetables are also very tastefully seasoned. After that are the three sushi plates soulfully prepared by chef Makari. It takes 3 hours to finish the course all the way to the dessert, but it is a very relaxed and very worthy time spent.

The manager, Kenichiro Matsuura offers first-class service with his rich experience working in various high-end Japanese restaurants, and his language skill. The spirit of hospitality can be felt everywhere, in welcoming of the customers, immaculately clean appearance, service at the table, etc., all the way to seeing off the customers to make every customer feel special.

The drink menu is the hot target for the restaurant. In order to accommodate businessmen who like Japanese food and local foodies as well, their attractive menu includes California wines, close to 200 kinds of French wines carefully selected by the sommelier, as well as sake, shochu, spirits, Japanese whiskey, beer, etc. The restaurant is located in the middle of downtown, but despite of such a location, the area is also for the local residents to come and relax with the surrounding trees and installed benches. In order to connect with the community, and take advantage of such a location, they started to run an outdoor drink garden lounge where people can drop by for a drink after work or a convention.

You can make a reservation for three different courses; Hashiri "Omakase" at Table ($250), Hashiri "Omakase" at Sushi Bar ($300), and Hashiri " Omakase" at Chef's Table ($500) (The reservation has to be made at least 2 weeks in advance.) The private dining for up to 8 people can be reserved, and you can request for sushi-making right at the table. “Hashiri” is the one and only high-end Japanese restaurant in San Francisco, where you can enjoy beautiful traditional seasonal Japanese course meals with all of your 5 senses.


5月中旬、サンフランシスコ ダウンタウンに、予々前評判で噂になっていた本格的和食レストラン、「Hashiri」がオープンした。IT 企業「デジタルガラージ」の代表取締役社長で代官山の寿司店「はしり」のオーナーである、林 都 氏がビジネス拠点となるサンフランシスコに「日本の「はしり」のコンセプトをそのままSFに」と考案し、寺山隆一氏、六彌太 恭行氏との共同経営で始動した。メニューの特徴は、日本とカリフォルニアの食材を融合させた会席と寿司のおまかせコース。客単価は一人平均$450とサンフランシスコのミシュラン三ツ星店と並ぶ高級店だ。今回海外初店舗となる「Hashiri」は、経営者達のキャリアを活かした斬新なアイディアが随所に見られる。

まず注目されるのは、洗練されたインテリアデザイン。ニューヨーク在住“モダニズム”デザイナー、滝浦 浩氏が手がけたカリフォルニアと日本の”クロスカルチャー”をイメージしたモダンアートは今までの和食レストランのイメージを一世風靡する内容。壁には抽象近代美術や肖像写真が都会的でポップなイメージを創り、一方メインの寿司カウンターは、静粛で和風。毛筆で書かれた「はしり」の文字がライトアップされ聡明な印象だ。また、ダイニングの天井には、日本の映像作家、中野裕之氏による美しい日本の四季折々の風景がハイテク技術を搭載したプロジェクターパネルに映し出され、テーブルに居ながら「季節」を感じることができる。


「Hashiri」のテーマは季節の旬を創作する事。それぞれの季節の「はしり」(季節に初めて出回るもの)、「旬」(出盛りのもの)、「なごり」(そろそろ終わりだなという時期)への繋がりが一つ一つの器に表現されている。「日本の伝統料理の極意である季節を五感で味わってほしい」と 斎藤氏は、カリフォルニア食材はオーガニックにこだわり、仕入先も地元のファーマーズマーケットに出向き農家から直接調達している。良質で新鮮な魚は築地からの空輸。まさに日本とカリフォルニア食材が融合したおまかせ料理は、日本各地から取り寄せた美しい陶器に、シェフの職人魂が込められた「はしり」独特の季節の料理が盛られる。

12品のコースの内容は、春、夏のはしりである小松菜、豆腐、海老しんじょう、稚鮎の唐揚げなどがアートのように盛られた前菜から始まる。「おわん」は、はしり牡丹鱧が優しい旬のブロスと柚子がほのかに香る一品。蓮の茎やミョウガを添えた「お造り」に続き「鉢のもの」は、翡翠茄子の上にバフン雲丹をあしらい、年輪大根、風味を閉じ込めたうまだしゼリーのお膳。メインの焼き物には、Aグレード, 鹿児島和牛の備長炭焼、ノドグロ、それを取り巻く旬の野菜も絶妙な炊き加減でボリュームはあるが上品な味付けだ。その後、銘苅氏が腕を奮う握りが3コース続く。デザートまで約3時間を要するディナーだが、ゆったりとした上質な時が流れる。

マネージャーの 松浦顕一郎氏は、これまで各高級和食レストランに勤めた経験と語学力を活かし一流のサービスを手がけている。店の清掃、予約客の“お迎え”から接客、“お見送り”に至るまでで、“おもてなし”の精神は、店全体に行き渡り訪れる客を特別な気持ちにさせている。


4 Mint Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94103

first seating begins at 5:00 pm and second seating time starts at 8:00 pm.
#alljapannews #sanfrancisco #japanesefood #sushi #hashiri


A health-conscious Japanese restaurant

A health-conscious Japanese r... A health-conscious Japanese r... A health-conscious Japanese r... A health-conscious Japanese r...
By Keiko Fukuda

Lately, more and more restaurants are adopting a popular concept called “Farm to Table”. As it says literally, “Farm to Table” is a method of cooking knowing exactly which farms the ingredients are from. “necco”, a Japanese restaurant near Westwood is one of those restaurants which uses this concept.

The owner/chef, Kenji Koyama, goes to Santa Monica Farmers Market 3 times a week to select vegetables by himself carefully with his own eyes and hands. He says, “I go there as early as 7 o’clock in the morning. Otherwise somebody else can get better produce before me.” On the days when the farmers market is not open, he goes to a few different grocers which carry organic and natural produce.

The ingredients carefully selected by Kenji himself get transformed and appear on the menu, and served at “necco”, a health-conscious Japanese restaurant. Many of the menu items are safe with vegetarian customers because they are gluten-free, prepared with vegetarian mayonnaise, and no MSG. For sweetness, beet sugar is mainly used instead of regular white cane sugar. One of the secrets to the popularity of this place seems to be the fact that meat lovers and vegetarians can come together to dine.

Kenji’s career as a chef spans over 25 years. His career started by working for an izakaya during his high-school days. After graduating, he came to the U.S., and worked for a Japanese restaurant near Los Angeles for 3 years. During that time, he felt the needs of serious training as a chef, and went back to Japan to be trained as a sushi chef in Tokyo.

He says, “My specialty is sushi making, however, after I came back, I realized that so many people in Los Angeles area are very health-conscious. For instance, people who practice Yoga have the extension of a healthy Yoga concept in their diet. I opened this restaurant hoping to offer a new style of cuisine which is natural and based on Japanese cuisine.”

As the location, he initially wanted somewhere between downtown L.A. and Hollywood such as Echo Park or Silver Lake where many health-conscious restaurants already existed, but none of them were based on Japanese cuisine.

Unfortunately, at the time, he could not find any available property that matched his conditions. However, he could still expect many vegan or vegetarian customers who live in the area to come to the current location near Westwood which is also right next to Beverly Hills.

The simple wooden interior provides natural warm ambience. You can see the chef cooking in their open kitchen from all angles inside of the restaurant. Some customers want to sit at the counter in front of the kitchen to watch Kenji cook closely. They even thank Kenji for the enjoyable cooking show when they leave.

Although the number of customers are increasing through word of mouth, Kenji knows well how effective it is to use social networking is in this modern society, and formed a special marketing team for it. He kept showing the news, press releases and photos of the menu items of the restaurant on the media such as Instagram and Facebook, which led to being featured in some magazine articles and interviews.

The restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner every day except Tuesdays, the regular day-off, and Sunday lunch. The lunch menu includes 15-dollar one-plate lunches such as the meat plate, fish plate, and vegetable plate. I went there to have lunch for the first time with a friend of mine who recommended the place. I had the chicken plate, and my friend had the salmon plate. I was impressed with the tender flavor of my dish, and how money-worthy the meal was thanks to the generous portion of the side vegetables. You can enjoy a variety of foods in this one dish. For the dinner time, this place attracts many health-conscious customers as a tapas restaurant where you can enjoy the tapas menu with organic sake.

Kenji told me about his future prospect, “I want to offer omakase style dishes. My motto as a cook is to preserve the sense of fun in cooking, and to value the caring thought about making delicious dishes.” It sounds like he really cares about the health and the happiness of the people who eat his cooking. When I asked him about the possibility of having the second location, he said that he really wanted to concentrate on building a solid ground there first.












1929 Westwood Blvd.,Los Angeles
Mon.& Wed.-Sat.11:30-2:30LC,17:30-22:30LC
Closed on Tuesday and Sunday Lunch


Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/necco_japanese/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/neccorestaurant/

#alljapannews #japanese #restaurant #farmtotable


2016 International Wine Challenge Sake Judging

2016 International Wine Challenge Sake Judging
By Yuji Matsumoto

I have been a judge of IWC Sake division for 5 years and since 2011, I have been serving this organization as a Panel Chairman.

This year was our 10th anniversary since we added sake in the International Wine Challenge so the venue took place in Hyogo, Japan. It was nice to go to Japan and taste over 1,000 different sake which was the largest entry ever.

In order to have a balanced and fair judging, all the sakes are covered so the judges can not see what they are tasting.

This year there were 8~9 panel chair judges and each panel chair has 3~4 judges under them. We mix people’s nationality to balance their preference and taste.

The most important element to judge is not to be bias of their person preference and seek for the balance in the category which is Junmai, Junmai Ginjo, Junmai Daiginjo, Honjozo, Ginjo, Daiginjo, Koshu(aged sake) and sparkling.

The main responsibility for the panel chair is to speak last and listen to what other judges are trying to express and taste in each sake.

After we submit our results and score of each sake, there are senior judges who re-taste and confirm the results in order to make sure the panel chair judged sake fairly.

The last day (the 3rd day) is only for the panel chairman to determine the medal sake which are Gold, Silver, Bronze, Commended and Trophy.

These results will be announced one week after the event. Since this IWC sake is gaining more popularity and recognition, the sake that are awarded in Gold or Trophy have tremendous exposure through out the world, not only in sake industry but also in wine industry. I am very happy to be part of this organization and wishing more sake would participate.





今年は8〜9人のパネル審査員が参加し、各パネルチェアの下には審査員が3〜4人いる。 また、味の嗜好とバランスをとるために審査員の国籍も混成されている。





#alljapannews #wine #sake #judging


The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake Part 3

The 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake Part 3
By Kosuke Kuji

I received a phone call from Master Sake Brewer Morikawa in "Kouro" of Kumamoto prefecture a few days after the Kumamoto Earthquake. It happens that while I was in the 3rd year of attending Tokyo University of Agriculture, Brewing and Fermentation, I had the experience of receiving student training at "Kouro", the birthplace of Kumamoto brewing yeast No. 9. For two weeks, I slept in the brewery with Master Sake Brewer and all of the brewery staff, learned the basics of sake making and fortunate to receive training of cultivating brewing yeast and also Kouro brewing yeast (Kumamoto brewing yeast).

At the time it was the Master Sake Brewer Morikawa that gave me warm and sometimes strict guidance.

To hear his voice after a long time since I graduated university brought back such fond memories, but beyond that I was so worried about the damage status that I asked about the damage in Kouro with asking about general matters.

Regarding Kouro brewing yeast (Kumamoto brewing yeast) that I was most worried about, they had already incorporated in-house generators since they occasionally experience outages from many typhoon passing through Kyushu, so there was absolutely no problem with the refrigeration of the yeast.

I found out that on top of that their preservation technology of yeast has advanced and they could now dry the yeast and store it in room temperature, and already as double insurance had preserved such dry yeast as a backup.

I was so relieved after I heard this. The original yeast of brewing yeast No. 9, Kouro brewing yeast was saved!

Regarding damage status of the entire brewery, serious condition was caused by a chimney breaking and falling directly on the electrical lines of the Kyushu Shinkansen, a large number of sake bottles were broken in the bottle storage, and there was threat that the storage brewery may collapse and was off limits etc, there was no way of grasping the total damage at that time.

However, Master Brewer Morikawa told me this regarding the yeast.

"Kumamoto yeast doesn't belong only to Kouro. I made sure that there was tight management of the yeast because many breweries across Japan depend on it."
I thought that was wonderful thinking and what wonderful responsibility he has.
Let's drink Kumamoto sake and support their quick recovery.

「熊本大地震 その3」










#alljapannews #kumamoto #earthquake #japan #sake


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


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