The first US “Hitachino Beer” restaurant, born in Ibaraki prefecture, opens! The quality and brand power are pursued.

The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H... The first US “H...
By Elli Sekine

“Hitachino Nest Beer”, known by its red owl logo, is gaining popularity in the US. The number of fans of this premium craft beer is growing, especially among foodies. The “Red Owl Phenomenon” seems to be appearing wildly in and out of the metropolitan areas of the US cities. For example, at “Whole Foods”, one of the specialty store chains, the space for the colorful owls (various kinds of the owl brand beer) has constantly been increasing each year, and in New York, you see its unique delivery trucks all over the city. The “Hitachino Nest Beer”, which was born in a small brewery in the Ibaraki prefecture, has now become one of the leading Japanese craft beer brands. Subsequently, this spring, the first US captive restaurant, “Hitachino Beer + Wagyu” opened in the downtown area of San Francisco. It is an exclusive restaurant where you can enjoy the first directly-imported Japanese draft beer, which has been long-awaited by many Nest Beer fans, along with the Hitachino brand wagyu.

The “Hitachino Nest Beer” is made by “Kiuchi Brewery”, a brewery with over 200 years of history in Hitachino city. There, a traditional way of saké making has been carried over multiple generations, and they still make saké. However, as years go by, saké making has been decreasing every year in Japan, and currently, there are only about 1,200 breweries compared to 3,500 in 1962 (by National Tax Agency).

A seventh generation sake-maker of Kiuchi Brewery, Toshiyuki Kiuchi, the Senior Executive of Kiuch Brewery Company, suggested to take on a brand-new beer brewing business to survive in the industry by taking advantage of the craft beer boom happening at that time. The “Hitachino Nest Beer” was thus born in 1996. The craft beer boom died down in two years, but Kiuchi Brewery survived. Not only did they survive, they started to expand to the rest of the world. “We were making beer anyway, so we wanted to make the kind of beer that can be accepted world-wide,” said Mr. Kiuchi, reminiscing. They were so determined.

They hired a beer brewing specialist from the US, and succeeded to earn the “World Beer Cup” title within 2 years from the start of the sales in 1998. They have been looking 10, 20 years ahead since, and strengthening the overseas export business. Now, 20 years since the start of the sales, Mr. Kiuchi’s strategy for overseas has worked out well. The beer branch has been separated from the saké branch of the company as “Kiuchi Brewery N”, and the beer factory in Ibaraki prefecture has been expanded for the production. About 50% of the whole production is exported, and half of it is for the US. New York accounts for the majority of the sales in the US.

However, why was San Francisco chosen for the first restaurant? “In the whole US, they have the biggest foodie population, and their gourmet related information will spread worldwide with no time,” says Mr. Kiuchi. Compared to New York, the California market has only a 15% share, and is still under developed. He said that he did not think twice about choosing this location in order to strengthen the brand power. To prove it right, as soon as the red owl sign got illuminated in downtown, many people gathered right away. Most of the crowd were young Hitachino Beer fans. They looked happy, drinking the draft beer from the 10 different kinds of taps.

There is a large counter by the entrance of the restaurant, and the interior decorated with the furniture which used to be used at Ibaraki’s Kiuchi Brewery has created a serene Japanese ambience. The pub area is around the counter, and the dining area is in the back with tables for relaxed eating. The menu for the two areas are different. For the counter bar, you can choose and take small dishes in a cup (a glass cup as you see in any Japanese vending machine) filled with nikujaga, kakuni, salad, pickles, etc. to your plate to eat. On the other hand, the restaurant space is for reservations only. Hitachino brand wagyu is imported directly, and a wagyu course meal is served.

The executive chef is Noriyuki Sugie, who is also from Hitachino. He is known for his skillful collaboration of Japanese and western cuisine popups in San Francisco. He met Hitachino Beer while he was working at the Mandarin Hotel in New York, and has been doing beer collaborations with Kiuchi Brewery all over the word. The unique course meal using Hitachino brand Wagyu A5 attracts customers with its long-learned international cooking technique with a Japanese twist. The taste of the Japan-produced beef is wonderful, and the price is reasonable.

“Hitachino Nest Beer” keeps moving at high speed from the Ibaraki prefecture to the world, and never seems to stop. In 2014, they built the first overseas large beer factory in South Korea to expand their overseas markets. Whereas in Japan, they opened Hitachino Brewing Labs where anyone can experience craft beer brewing, in Kanda, Tokyo, etc. to establish a new craft beer era. Its rapid growth must be due to their passion for beer making which is particular about using pure Japanese produce (most of it is made in Ibaraki in the efforts to contribute to hometown revitalization), and the branding strategy. I feel proud of Kiuchi Brewery who has demonstrated a real example as to how to have Japanese craft beer be recognized by the world.


赤いフクロウのロゴでお馴染みの「常陸野ネストビール」が米国で人気急上昇中だ。特にフーディーの間ではプレミアムクラフトとして愛飲者が増えている。すでに「ホールフーズ」等のスペシャリティーストアでは、年々棚一列に色とりどりのフクロウ(数種類のビール)がその幅を拡張しており、ニューヨークではこの専用輸送トラックが街を走り回るほど、“赤いフクロウ現象”が米国都市部を中心に吹き荒れている。いまやジャパニーズクラフトビールの代表格となったのが、茨城県の小さな酒蔵から生まれた「常陸野ネストビール」なのだ。そしてこの春、全米に先駆け直営第一号店となるレストラン、「Hitachino Beer+Wagyu」がサンフランシスコ、ダウンタウンにオープンした。“ネストビール”ファンが待ちわびた、米国で初めて日本直輸入のドラフトビールと常陸野ブランドの和牛が楽しめるエクスクルーシブな店だ。


海外輸出はその内約50%、その半分が米国輸出となっている。米国での販売数はニューヨークが圧倒的に多い。しかしなぜ第一号店はサンフランシスコだったのか。「全米の中で最もフーディーな人口が多く、ここからのグルメ情報はあっという間に世界に広がる」と木内氏。NYと比べるとまだカリフォルニア市場は17%の普及途上にある。ブランド力を高める為、ロケーションに迷いはなかったという。その期待に応えるように、ダウンタウンに赤いフクロウの看板が点灯されると、たちまち多くの人が訪れた。客の大半は若年層の“ネストビール” ファン達。彼らは初めて口にする直輸入のタップ10種類を飲み比べならが楽しんでいた。



彼はサンフランシスコでは和と洋をコラボさせた匠な料理のポップアップでその名を知られている。NYのマンダリンオリエンタルホテルでシェフを勤めていた際常陸野ビールと出会い、木内酒造とこれまで世界各国でビールコラボを続けてきた。独特の常陸野ブランドA 5和牛を使ったコース料理は、繊細な味付けと巧みな食材の組み合わせ。今まで培った国際的な料理のテクニックに和のツイストを加えて客を魅了している。価格設定($78 〜)もリーズナブル。



Hitachino Beer and Wagyu
639 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 792-6160

Tuesday - Saturday 4:30PM–12AM
#alljapannews #hitachino #nest #beer #Japanese #Ibaraki #craftbeer #wagyu #SF


Enjoy food with Japanese sake

By Yuji Matsumoto

Recently, I’m often asked from Americans, “Wine is often used for cooking, can you also use Japanese sake?” Japanese sake is great for cooking, because it contains many umami components for use in various ways.”

Eliminating Odor
Sake is useful to eliminate odor from pork, lamb, etc., although this odor may be characteristic for lamb. To flavor food while preparing Japanese cuisine, sprinkle sake over food when the odor is too strong and leave for two minutes to eliminate the odor.

Softens Proteins
Placing chicken breast, red beef, and meat for stew into a Ziploc bag with sake the day before use is effective in removing the dryness and making the meat delicious. Sake enhances great flavor to BBQ and yakiniku meat.

Adds umami flavors
The fact that sake is useful for cooking food in soy sauce to various soup dishes are known to many. Surprisingly, sake is also great for preparing western soup dishes, especially when using seafood. Adding sake further enhances flavors. Of course, sake is great for adding flavor to pasta and other dishes, so please give it a try.

Sake is great for cooking!
Cooking sake and Junmai sake is great for cooking! Ginjo, Daiginjo is great for enjoyment, but as for suitability for cooking, Junmai is better because of its high content of umami flavors. Furthermore, the prices are high, so it’s a waste to use such expensive sake for cooking.






#alljapannews #Japanese #enjoy #sake #umami


Sake Nation "Kosher Certification Part II"

By Kosuke Kuji

In last issue's column, we mentioned: "On April 17th 2013, by a certification body called Chabad of Japan, Nanbu Bijin received a certification of “Kosher” to certify that their products are safe and trustworthy based on the dietary food standards of Judaism." We also explained what Kosher is in the last issue, but in reality what type of Kosher foods are OK to eat and which are not according to Judaism religion?

First, regarding acceptable Kosher meats, basically grass-eating animals that are also ruminants (animals that have two or more stomachs) are the conditions.

Cows and lamb are OK, but pigs or rabbits cannot be eaten. Also, blood must be completely drained. Meat that is prepared by their standards can only be eaten.

In other words if it is cow or lamb, you cannot eat it whatever way you want and you are not able to eat it unless it is prepared according to the rules. Since draining the blood is one of the main rules, Japanese will probably think that Kosher beef etc have a dried-out texture.

In addition, it is OK to eat fish and shellfish etc with fins or scales, but you cannot eat shell fish like shrimps or crabs etc, clams, octopus and squid etc. Since scales are not noticeable on unagi (fresh water eel), that cannot be eaten also.

There are regulations for each food, but also there are regulations for food combinations and it is forbidden to have beef with dairy products and using animal fat. To put it strictly, even cooking utensils and the kitchen need to be separated, so it's challenging for the person that has to cook. Within these food combinations, a salami pizza or chicken cream soup do not exist.

I have explained there are several strict rules to be classified Kosher, and I would like to write how this certification is carried out in the next issue.

酒豪大陸「コーシャ認定 その2」

南部美人では、2013年4月17日に、CHABAD OF JAPANという認定機関により、ユダヤ教の食餌規定にのっとり、安全、安心な食材として認定される「コーシャ(kosher)」の認定を受けました、と前回のコラムにも書かせていただきました。そしてコーシャとはどのようなものなのか、前回は説明をさせていただきましたが、実際に、ユダヤ教の教えであるコーシャの中で食べてもいいもの、ダメなものはどんなものがあるでしょうか。




#alljapannews #sake #kosher #certification #chabadofjapan


Revolutionary in the yakiniku industry, spreading Japanese style yakiniku culture in the US

Revolutionary in the yakiniku i... Revolutionary in the yakiniku i... Revolutionary in the yakiniku i... Revolutionary in the yakiniku i...
By Aya Ota

Yakiniku Futago” of Osaka is a restaurant chain which has so far developed about 50 restaurants in the Tokyo metropolitan area and overseas. It was founded in 2010 in Tsuruhashi, Osaka which is a battleground for yakiniku businesses, by third-generation Korean twin brothers, Suncho and Sunbong Lee who were born in Tsuruhashi, and grew up in Japan. The “Hamideru Kalbi”, their popular menu item which helped this restaurant chain grow into its popularity very fast, is a piece of Japanese black wagyu beef that is larger than its iron cooking plate. The meat is delivered to the table by a server with a high-spirited cheer, “Yoisho!”, and the server delicately cuts the meat in 4 sections, explaining each part, and then cooks it to perfection. They also have other customer pleasing services such as offering half portions of every menu item for half the price from their richly varied menu, and providing a very friendly serving style, which makes for high customer satisfaction, and has also led them to the quick success in growing into a very popular restaurant and increasing the number of locations as well. Overseas, they opened one in Hawaii in 2014 following Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China, and exactly 2 years has passed since the opening of this New York restaurant which was in late May of 2015.

“Since the very beginning, We were already thinking about going to New York,” says Jumpei Sakai, the General Manager of the New York restaurant. They started researching for a location in 2012 when they only had less than 5 restaurants in Japan, and they were able to open one in New York only within 5 years from the founding of the business. The New York restaurant is positioned as their flagship restaurant by running it with a higher-end operation style compared to other branches in Japan and other countries. They have absolute confidence in their secret sauce inherited from their mother who used to run a yakiniku restaurant in Tsuruhashi, Osaka, and reproduces the same taste of Japan. The Hamideru Kalbi ($45) is also the favorite item in New York as well. The Japanese Style Cold Noodle ($6) is served in light Japanese dashi soup which is the key factor to choose this item in which 8 kinds of ingredients have been cooked for 8 hours. It is served in a small ball, and is a musthave item to complete your yakiniku meal. The New York restaurant offers an upgraded menu including the New York only “Thickly Cut Special Filet Steak with Garlic” ($25), and “Deep Fried Shrimp and Quail Egg with Shiso Leaf” ($5) in addition to “Japanese Black Wagyu”, and US-produced “Washugyu” and “Prime Beef”. As they do in Japan, customers can experience the joy of cooking meat by themselves, or let trained professional servers cook the high-quality meat for them.

You may think that it would be easy for yakiniku culture to become familiarized in the US where meat cooking culture is already settled in; however, it is not that easy for the Japanese-style yakiniku to get familiarized here in the States. People often ask “What is the difference from Korean barbecue?” So, they try to stress on for sushi and ramen to sink in. It would also take a long time for Japanese-style yakiniku to sink in, but I am willing to accept the slow process.”
“The best way to market it is to show it through our dishes and services in the restaurant,” Mr. Sakai says. The majority of their customers come by word of mouth, but they do a unique pinpointing promotion for the Chinese customers who account for 60% of the whole clientele.

It is interesting that they have added menu items that are targeted for the Chinese customers such as “Uni Yukhoe” ($18) and “Uni and Wagyu Toro Sushi” ($10), and also a line of fruit liquors such as ume and yuzu wine drinks to cater to Chinese clientele who don’t prefer beer and sake. A promotion that would tickle repeating customers' minds has also been effective as it is in Japan, in which a golden tong is given to the customer after their tenth visit. In the future, they will try to lower the cost without compromising the quality, and increase the sales of alcoholic drinks. They are also planning to promote parings of original cocktails with the food menu aggressively.

Now that they are in the third year, they are looking to develop the second restaurant. Since it is still a young company, they are not persistent about the line of business or the current business model. “Yakiniku Futago” has a strong presence in the Japanese yakiniku industry. I am certain that they will also develop freely and flexibly in the US under their principle which is “to impress customers”.


東京首都圏と海外に約50店舗を展開する『大阪焼肉・ホルモン ふたご』。焼き肉激戦区として有名な大阪・鶴橋生まれの在日コリアン3世、李純哲(リ・スンチョル)と李純峯(リ・スンボン)の双子の兄弟が、2010年に創業した。鉄板からはみ出る大きさの黒毛和牛「はみ出るカルビ」は、同店の急成長を後押しした人気メニューだ。「よいしょー!」という威勢のよい掛け声と共にテーブルに運ばれてきて、店員が、4つの部位を説明しながら丁寧に切り分け、最高の状態に焼き上げてくれる。他にも、豊富なメニューを半量ずつ半額で提供したり、顧客密着型の接客をしたりなど、満足度の高いサービスを提供したことで瞬く間に人気店へ成長、店舗数も急速に拡大した。海外店舗は台湾、香港、中国に続き、2014年12月にハワイへ進出。ニューヨーク店は、2015年5月末に開店。ちょうど丸2年が経ったところだ。






Yakiniku Futago
37 W 17th Street
New York, NY 10011
Tel: 212-620-0225

Mon - Sat : 12:00 pm - 2:30 pm / 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Sun : 5:00 pm - 11:00 pm
#alljapannews #Japanese #yakiniku #YakinikuFutago #NY


Yakitori house where you can fully enjoy expert skills of 40-years in the making

Yakitori house where you can ... Yakitori house where you can ... Yakitori house where you can ... Yakitori house where you can ... Yakitori house where you can ...
By Keiko Fukuda

It was about 6 years ago when I first noticed the store sign, “Koshiji” in the corner of a mall in Torrance in the outskirts of Los Angeles. There used to be a “Koshiji” restaurant in the landmark shopping center in Little Tokyo's Weller Court, and it was a yakitori specialty restaurant. The Koshiji in Weller Court has been closed. The Koshiji in Torrance is run by Nagayuki Ebata, the owner/Chef, who was also in charge of the Little Tokyo location. He has been in the industry for 40 years.

Mr. Ebata first came to the United States in 1983. He was then invited to work as a yakitori cook for “Nanbantei” which was running in front of the Little Tokyo “Koshiji”. In Japan, he used to work for a yakitori specialty restaurant branch of a well-known restaurant chain called “Miyagawa”. Mr. Ebata said, “I wanted to travel through the entire country on my motorcycle, which was my hobby. I originally planned to work just for a couple of years at the Nanbantei. After that, I wanted to go travel, and then go back to Japan.”

However, the first 2 years passed quickly without noticing while working as an indispensable workforce for the restaurant. He also helped the opening of “Sakura House” in Venice, a well-known very popular restaurant, and another new yakitori house as an expert yakitori chef. In the year 2000, Mr. Ebata opened the Koshiji in Little Tokyo where the Nanbantei used to be located. Then he moved the Koshiji to Torrance.

It was a Friday evening when I visited Koshiji before the interview. The restaurant was full, and on the way out, I could not help but notice that Mr. Ebata was so focused and diligently preparing for the next day. On a busy day, they receive as many orders as 500 skewers of yakitori. It would take as long as 4 hours to prepare. Mr. Ebata says, “Not only is there a careful selection of fresh ingredients by myself, it is also equally important to do the preparation right.” He says that this principle of his has not been changed ever since he was working in Japan. So, what is the difference in yakitori cooking between Japan and the US?

“The menu structure is different. For instance, I started the asparagus skewer after I came to the US. When I was in Japan, you were only able to order unusual ones like that which would please foreigners in the Nanbantei, Roppongi.

However, there are also some American customers who would eat only the traditional kinds. I think that success in businesses relies on customers, therefore. I started to cook non-traditional kinds like wrapped asparaguses after I came to the US.

The taste of yakitori prepared and cooked by Mr. Ebata himself has a great reputation. Every one of the surprisingly many different kinds is great. Mr. Ebara, however, worries about unexpectedly small orders they receive for Japanese saké drinks.

“Preferably, I would like customers to enjoy saké at a leisurely pace, holding a yakitori skewer in one hand, but majority of the customers come with family members or in groups, and often order course menu items. I think they come here mainly to eat.” It is, of course, wonderful that people come for the yakitori, but he would also like them to enjoy some of their rich lineup of saké brands including Asahiyama, which is his personal favorite.

For your information, the most popular yakitori course includes 8 skewers of yakitori, vegetable sticks, sunomono, soup, and a soboro-donburi, and costs only $23.50. I am sure that you will continuously be able to enjoy Koshiji’s richly varied yakitori menu which is created by the expert skills established through the long-time experience of the owner/chef.


ロサンゼルス郊外トーランスのモールの一角に、「越路」の看板を見かけるようになったのは6年ほど前。「越路」と言えば、リトルトーキョーのランドマーク的ショッピングモール、ウエラーコートで営業していた焼鳥専門店だ。すでに閉店したリトルトーキョー店だが、トーランスの越路のオーナーシェフはリトルトーキョーの店も手がけていた江端永幸(Nagayuki Ebata)さん。彼はこの道、40年になると言う。








22807 Hawthorne Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90505

Sat. 12:00pm-2:30pm/5:30pm-10:00pm
#alljapannews #Koshiji #LA #yakitori #torrance


New challenge of Long-lasting restaurant, "Sushi Ran", borderless cuisine between Californian and Japanese makes a debut in SF!

New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ... New challenge of Long-lasting ...
By Eri Shimizu / Editing Elli Sekine

Mr. Yoshimori Tomé, the owner of a long-lasting sushi restaurant called “Sushi Ran”, who established the base of the high-end Japanese cuisine in Sausalito, began a new challenge this time in the Castro district where unique concept bars and restaurants are gathered. “Nomica” which opened last fall is completely different from any other Japanese restaurants, and is a borderless cuisine restaurant. Nomica” was named using the names of the local area (Noe Mission Castro), and intentionally or coincidently sounds like a Japanese word “Nomiya” which means a drinking place. Various types of Japanese liquor (awamori, sake, etc.)-based cocktails are served at the wide and deep bar counter, and at the tables, the unique dishes created by Hiroo Nagahara, the new and powerful executive chef, entertain taste buds of local foodies every night.

“Sushi Ran” has been running for more than 30 years in Sausalito, and highly claimed by various media such as San Francisco Chronicle and Wall Street Journal. Other top-class restaurants such as “Kusakabe” and “Ju-Ni” were opened later one by one by the chefs who worked for Sushi Ran, and people talk a lot about them because some even gained Michelin stars.

Mr. Tomé intentionally chose neither sushi nor Japanese cuisine as the concept for the second restaurant. It is because he wanted to convey the goodness of top-notch Japanese ingredients by changing the typical images for Japanese food which are still sushi and ramen. In front of the restaurant, a smooth natural stone sits like a symbol, and beautiful seasonal flowers arranged by the owner himself add more Japanese hospitality to the California like space with a lot of warm green trees. As you enter the space, on your immediate right you see a bar from where awamori and sake containers attract your attention, and a dining space on your left.

Although both of his parents are Japanese, Mr. Nagahara has been spending a half of every year in the United States ever since he was a child. He decided to become a cook while he was working part-time for a sushi restaurant when he was still going to school. He was involved in the launch of a Las Vegas restaurant under a celebrity chef called Charlie Trotter, and then brushed up his skills by working for several Michelin-star awarded restaurants including “Ishikawa” in Tokyo. He also has extensive experiences including working as restaurant consultant and running a food truck business. His dishes are creative using rich and delicious local ingredients, and enhanced by traditional Japanese condiments and chef’s experiences. “Shigoku Oysters” ($13) is a combination of fluffy high-quality oysters and kanzuri seaweed granité. Creamy oysters are enriched by deep umami sauce and fragrant granité. “Agedashi Tofu” ($17) which is house-made tofu made with soy beans from Japan, and wrapped with yuba has a good solid texture. “Seared Seabass” ($28) is perfectly seared, and leaves a strong impression with ikasumi, hijiki, and black shichimi sauce. Japanese ingredients are used brilliantly in the western techniques which accentuate texture and bring out spices and fragrance. Their signature dish since the opening is “Whole Chicken in Brioche” ($100), which is a whole chicken wrapped in a brioche, and baked. After marinating for 24 hours in shio koji, the chicken is cooked with low heat for 14 hours wrapped in miso butter. It is a unique dish which takes many steps and time to prepare. Another popular dish which customers order often is “Chicken & Waffle” ($24), in which southern fried chickens and waffles are interpreted in Nomica way.

At the bar, a cocktail specialist called a mixsologist makes creative drinks for you. There, you can enjoy Japanese style cocktails such as “Sutro’s Onsen” (martini arranged with hinoki-flavored gin, dry vermouth, olive oil), and “The Floating World” ($12) (awamori-based cocktail with chrysanthemum fragrance), as well as western style cocktails such as “Papa Nambu” ($12) (awamori-based arranged drinks with lemon and sage). There always carry more than 40 different brands of sake, and they are labeled with sweet, fragrant, vibrant, light, expressive, fresh, etc. to make it easy to understand for customers who are not familiar with sake.

For desserts, I want to recommend “Fuji Apple” ($12), which is shiso-flavored ice cream combined with fresh apple sorbet and apple chips, and “Coconut Parfait” ($12). I would like you to try this fresh coconut sorbet under light and fluffy café lime flavored foamy stuff.

The new challenge of the owner who has been leading San Francisco and Bay Area’s sushi scene for a long time has just begun. I cannot take my eyes off of the future of Nomica.

老舗「Sushi Ran」の新たな挑戦、カリフォルニアと和のボーダレス料理がSFに登場!



シェフ、長原氏は、両親ともに日本人ながら、子供の頃から一年の半分はアメリカで過ごしてきた。学生時代にアルバイトをしていた寿司店で料理人になることを決意する。セレブリティシェフ、チャーリー・トロッターの元でラスベガス店の立ち上げに関わり、その後は東京の「石かわ」を初め、数々のミシュラン星レストランで腕を磨いてきた。レストランコンサルやフードトラックビジネスにも関わるなど、ビジネスでの経験値も高い。メニューの特徴は、長原氏による地元の豊かな食材のおいしさを日本伝統の調味料とシェフの経験によって高めた創作料理。ふっくらとした至極オイスターにかんずりと海藻のグラニテを合わせた「Shigoku Oysters」($13)は、牡蠣のクリーミーさを深い旨みのソースと香りの良いグラニテが引き立てる。日本から取り寄せた大豆を使った自家製豆腐を湯葉で包んだ「Agedashi tofu」($17)は、豆腐にもしっかり食べ応えがある。うろこ付きのまま香ばしくソテーしたスズキ「seard seabass」($28)は絶妙な火の通し加減で、イカスミやひじき、黒七味のソースが印象的。和食材を使いながらも食感のアクセントのつけ方やスパイスと香りを引き立てる西洋テクニックが光る。シグニチャーは、開店当初からの名物料理は丸鶏をブリオブリオッシュで包んで焼き上げた「whole chicken in brioch」($100)。鶏を塩麹で24時間マリネしたのち、14時間低温で調理、味噌バターを詰めて包み焼きにするという、独創的かつ手間のかかる一品だ。また多くの客が注文するのは南部のフライドチキンとワッフルをNomica風に解釈した「chickne & waffle」($24)も人気。

一方、バーでではミクソロジストと呼ばれるカクテルのスペシャリストが独創的なドリンクを提供する。マティーニをアレンジした「sutro’s onsen」(ヒノキが香るジンやドライベルムース、オリーブオイルのカクテル)や「the floating world」($12)(菊の香りを移した泡盛ベースのカクテル)など、和の香りのカクテルから、泡盛をベースにレモンやセージなどを組み合わせた「papa nambu」($12)など洋のフレーバーのカクテルなどが楽しめる。常時40種類近く揃える日本酒は、sweet, fragrant, vibrant や、light, expressive, fresh など説明付きのリストで、日本酒に馴染みのない客にもわかりやすい。

デザートは紫蘇の香りのアイスクリームに爽やかなりんごのソルベやりんごのチップを合わせた「fuji apple」($12)と「coconut parfet」($12)がおすすめ。軽やかで爽やか、ふわっとしたカフェライム風味の泡の下にココナッツソルベは是非試していただきたい一品。


2223 Market Street, San Francisco, CA
Monday - Saturday 5:30 - 11pm
Happy Hour in the lounge 5:30pm - 7pm (rotating drink specials)
#alljapannews #sushi #oysters #yuba #nomica #sanfrancisco


Evaluation of the Japanese sake

By Yuji Matsumoto

It’s simple to state that sake is a beverage of taste, selected and consumed according to individual preferences.

However, “delicious” share the following common characteristics:
• Sweetness
• Acidity
• Saltiness
• Bitterness
• Umami flavors

The balance between these common elements is important to produce this “delicious” flavor. What’s referred to as one’s “preference” is in addition to this balance being achieved first, with some preferring the “sweet flavor” slightly more enhanced than the other four flavors to deem the sake delicious. The phrase “secret ingredient” commonly used in cooking refers mostly to the introduction of a lacking taste (like acidity, umami flavor, etc.) to enhance the “delicious flavor.” (In Japanese sake, the “secret ingredient” refers to the blending of sake at times with another sake prepared in a different tank to adjust the flavor).

This same concept applies to Japanese sake, where the even balance of these flavors (hardly any saltiness contained) is examined to evaluate sake. Sweetness and acidity is easy to recognize since these flavors ‘attack’ the palate immediately upon consumption. However, umami flavors are embedded deep in the sake, usually detected in the aftertaste and when the sake passes the tongue. Also, depending on the temperature of the sake and the food that is consumed with the sake, the umami flavors sometimes become quite notable. Thus, caution must be exercised to evaluate various umami flavors, for some have a long-lasting aftertaste while others dissipate quickly.

For those who like enhanced dry flavor in a well-balanced sake will likely prefer an acidic taste immediately upon consumption with a short-lived aftertaste, while those who like sweet flavors will likely prefer sake with a fruity aroma that is rich and long in aftertaste.

To select Japanese sake that is truly to your liking (or to the customer’s liking if you’re a sake sommelier), please take the time to experiment by changing the sake temperature and the food accompanying the sake.








#alljapannews #sake #sommelier #evaluation


Sake Nation Kosher Certification Part I

By Kosuke Kuji

On April 17th 2013, by a certification body called Chabad of Japan, Nanbu Bijin received a certification of “Kosher” to certify that their products are safe and trustworthy based on the dietary food standards of Judaism. Probably many of the Japanese that read this column may not be familiar with the certification of “Kosher”, so I would like to break up my explanation into a few different installments and talk about what we did to receive the certification, why it was necessary to get the kosher certification, and what can be expected in the future. First, I would like to explain what “Kosher” is. Kosher was the world’s first commandment regarding food given by God to the Jewish race and had an original meaning to point out that it means “proper” or “it can be accepted”. In the Bible, Adam and Eve were ordered that they cannot eat the fruit from a tree.

Since then the Jewish have shown a strict self-discipline regarding foods and main rules regarding Kosher are noted in Mose’s 5th commandment. The Jewish based their dietary habits on that commandment and as a result have led healthy lives.

In recent years, Kosher is a byword for “Purity”, “Trustworthy”, “Safe”, “Fine quality”, is acceptable with vegetarians and others besides the Jewish, and especially in the U.S. many people accept Kosher products as “foods that are healthy and trustworthy”. If you look across the Globe, there are over 28 million people that only purchase Kosher certified products, and of that number only a small percentage are Jewish. It is clear that vegetarians or consumers having high consciousness of food select these Kosher products. As you can see, Kosher started being accepted around the globe in recent years, and in the next issue I would like to talk in detail what kind of dietary food standard it really is.

酒豪大陸「コーシャ認定 その1」

南部美人では2013年4月17日に、CHABAD OF JAPANという認定機関により、ユダヤ教の食餌規定にのっとり、安全、安心な食材として認定される「コーシャ(kosher)」の認定を受けました。






#alljapannews #sake #kosher


Taste the marvelously arranged mixture “cagen” of tradition and modernism, which no other place can offer

Taste the marve... Taste the marve... Taste the marve... Taste the marve... Taste the marve...
By Aya Ota

There is a restaurant in a corner of the East Village, which is so quietly stands with no sign, and you might pass without noticing. Once you step in, a neatly set-up, and slightly intense, yet comfortable space spreads in front of you, and you forget the city noise outside. From the exterior of the restaurant, you can hardly predict the upcoming surprises and impressions.

Here at “Cagen” restaurant, kappo style Japanese cuisine prepared with various seasonal ingredients, and omakase-style sushi are offered. This is a kind of restaurant where gourmet people who have already been to all the famous restaurants in New York would come by word of mouth.

“We strive for doing thing no one else does”, says Toshio Tomita, the head chef of the restaurant. Mr. Tomita started his career in kaiseki cooking at the age of 15.

He came to US in 1984, worked at various Japanese restaurants, and demonstrated his excellent skills for 16 years at "Nobu", the pioneer, and the most well-known among all New York Japanese restaurants. In 2013, the time was ripe for him to become independent, and he opened this restaurant.

Chef Tomita’s cooking is traditional and genuine, and with creativity and playfulness are added, it creates a unique world. It is especially remarkable in the way to present variety of seafood and the way to serve them. White and blueback fishes which are rare in the US such as menuke, aburabouzu, higesoridai, okaaji, and takabe are procured through a unique buying route. These rare fishes with unique textures and flavors are first treated delicately in various ways such as vinegar-marinating, parboiling, skin-scorching, etc., and then served with a combination of jalapeno and nikiri soy sauce, or raw wasabi and chimichurri sauce, etc. It is surprising that raw oysters are served with puree of little peach, which gives refreshing and unconventional flavor. Only kappo omakase courses were served at the beginning, but by strong requests from the customers who wanted to taste those rare fishes as sushi, he started omakase sushi.

“Ayu-no-sugatayaki”, one of the hot-served dishes, is a result of repeated trial and error. In order to make everything from head to bone deliciously edible, bones, head and body of ayu fish are separately grilled first, and then combined to build the original shape of the fish. Slight bitterness of ayu and cilantro sauce go perfectly together. The sushi dish which appears at the end of the kappo course is unprecedentedly innovative. It is interesting that you wrap nigari sushi with nori to eat. The highest-quality sushi rice from Uonuma, Niigata is cooked only by 1 to 2 cups at a time, and vinegar is mixed into the cooked rice in front of customers. The simple combination of rice, fish, and nori can be tasted fully with your 5 senses.

Soba is also very particularly prepared. Hokkaido buckwheat is imported, and ground with a stone grinder. Two of the three soba strands are served topped with yuzu and black shichimi pepper. You taste the plain strands first, and continue on with yuzu and shichimi to enjoy different flavors. After that, toasted buckwheat, wasabi, and chopped green onion pieces are added to the remaining soba dipping sauce to make a warm soup dish in front of each customer. The completed nice hot soup magically made out of the leftover sauce impresses customers. It is also a special enjoyment for the customers to adjust the taste to each own preference by themselves.

Mr. Tomita’s creation has something more than an expression of “unification of tradition and modernism”. Adding ingredients which are familiar to American customers such as jalapeno, chimichurri sauce, cheese, chocolate, and ham to the unfamiliar ingredients as accents may make American customers curious, and make the unknown ingredients more approachable. Mr. Tomoita thinks that dryness in wine and karakuchi in Japanese sake are different. In order to help customers to select sake drinks, he tries to explain each characteristic using the terms to express wine drinks. You don’t see the glass case filled with sushi ingredients which is usually placed between the chef and the customers across the counter. It requires more explanation and communication to achieve “doing thing no one else does”. Customers can talk with, and watch Chef Tomita work skillfully as they keep eating with excitement as though they were traveling in an unknown world. It is touching to see everything he does from cooking to treating of customers which demonstrates and gives a strong impression of his hope to have customers enjoy unprecedented delicious Japanese cuisine.

“Cagen” is from the Japanese word, cagen, meaning “Just Right”. It can be cagen of the combination of classic and contemporary cuisine, also of the balance of flavoring and decorating, and of distance from the customers, or of the timing to serve dishes. I hope that you go and experience these perfect cagen created by Mr. Tomita!









『Cagen』とは“加減”、つまり“Just Right”という意味。それはクラシックとコンテンポラリーな料理の加減でもあり、味付けや盛りつけのバランスでもあり、客との距離感や料理を出すタイミングなどのもてなしでもあるのだろう。冨田氏が創り出す、パーフェクトな“加減”をぜひ体験してみてほしい。

414 E 9th Street
New York, NY 10009
Tuesday through Sunday
5:30pm- 11:00pm
#alljapannews #cagen #soba #Japanese #kaiseki #NY


Gluten-free bakery filled with yearning for hometown

Gluten-free bakery filled with ... Gluten-free bakery filled with ... Gluten-free bakery filled with ... Gluten-free bakery filled with ... Gluten-free bakery filled with ... Gluten-free bakery filled with ...
By Keiko Fukuda

The Great East Japan earthquake which occurred in March of 2011 brought a huge damage to the area between North Kanto to Tohoku. The whole areas are still only partially recovered. The hometown of Hiro Saito, the owner of “Kirari West”, a bakery in Redondo Beach in the suburbs of Los Angeles, is Fukushima which is one of the most devastatingly damaged regions. His family had a Japanese garment shop in Fukushima originally, and Hiro’s father later expanded the family business to multiple businesses demonstrating excellent abilities. They had a construction company and a sweet shop to sell baumkuchen made with Fukushima rice flour.

After graduating from high school in Fukushima, Mr. Saito went to the State of Delaware in the East Coast of US in 1996 to study English. He did not go back to Japan after that, and instead, jumped into the restaurant industry in New York. Then later in Los Angeles, he was hired to manage 50 staff members of Hugo’s Restaurant in Studio City. The big earthquake broke out when he was going into the eighth year with Hugo’s.

“I was so worried because I was out of touch with my family for days. Naturally, I was imagining the worst scenario.” Fortunately, his family was safe, but the newly-opened baumkuchen laboratory, “Kirari”, faced the big disaster when the business just started to taste the beginning of success.

Then, Mr. Saito thought about opening a store where he could sell the products made with rice flour on the West Coast. The incident of the natural disaster triggered Mr. Saito who had been living in the US for nearly 20 years by then to think back of his hometown.

“I first thought about opening a store specialized in selling the type of baumkuchen which were sold in Fukushima; however, it would have cost as much as 120 thousand dollars to set up the same type of baking equipment in accordance with the American standard, which would be way over my budget.”

A few corrections in the plan were obviously needed, so he looked for a location for the store after deciding on the base of the concept as gluten-free bread and cakes, yet made with American rice flour. Mr. Saito who was residing in Santa Monica, then, was not familiar with the South Bay area which is in the south of Los Angeles International Airport, where the current store is located. First, he looked for other cities such as Pasadena, Melrose, Studio City, and Hollywood.

“The owners of the properties were reluctant about leasing. They thought my business was too risky because I was the first-time store owner. After a while, when I checked those places again, big franchise businesses such as Starbucks and Seven-Eleven had occupied there.”

After 10-month of researching for neighborhood resident statistics, he found that Redondo Beach residents were highly health-conscious, and their household incomes were as high as, or even more than 100,000 dollars a year. Selling of gluten-free products requires relatively a higher price setting, so high household income is one of the essential conditions. As the result, he succeeded to find an ideal location which is near the beach with ample parking spaces in a shopping mall facing the Pacific Coast Highway.

“Kirari West”, the West Coast version of Fukushima Kirari was thus born in a comfortable space with a stylish high ceiling. The menu has expanded during the past two years since the opening to have light meals such as panini sandwiches, galette, and salads by listening to the voices of the customers. The drink menu includes even Japanese tea in addition to usual variety of coffee drinks, etc.

“To tell the truth, for the first six months after the opening, there was no budget for advertising, and the business fell into a negative spiral. It was difficult to get out of deficit. I hung in with the principle I learned through the experience with Hugo’s, that is - the customers will surely come back as long as you keep offering solid products and services-, and finally, Yelp became the key to kindle popularity by word of mouth.”

After interviewing Mr. Saito, he offered me an Almond Brioche, which is one of their popular products. It was moist, sweet, and tender. Its tenderness made me think of Mr. Saito’s yearning for his hometown.


2011年3月の東日本大震災は北関東から東北にかけて甚大な被害をもたらした。今もまだ復興は途上にある。ロサンゼルス郊外の海辺の町、レドンドビーチのベイカリー、Kirari Westのオーナー、斎藤ヒロさんの実家も被災地、福島市にある。実家はもともと呉服屋だったが、父親が呉服屋以外にも建設会社を起こし、さらに福島の米から作られた米粉製のバウムクーヘンの店もオープン、多角経営に手腕を発揮していた。








福島にある樹楽里の西海岸版であるKirari Westは、おしゃれな高天井の居心地の良い空間に誕生した。店のメニューはオープンして2年の間に顧客の要望を取り入れつつ、パニーニのサンドイッチやガレット、サラダなどの軽食を増やしてきた。ドリンク類もコーヒー各種はもちろん日本茶も揃う。



707 N. Pacific Coast Hwy, Redondo Beach CA
Saturday& Sunday:8:00am-6:00pm
7days open
#alljapannews #Japanese #bakery #gultenfree #kirariwest


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