Yamato Japanese Restaurant

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Q&A with Chef

Why did you become a sushi chef?
To be able to make friends easily, especially when you work in the sushi bar and make sushi in front of customers.

Where have you worked before you opened Yamato?
Osaka, Tokyo, Bangkok, New York, and then Ann Arbor.

How would you describe your culinary style?
A mix of Osaka and Tokyo.

What do you like about working in Ann Arbor?
People here are very friendly and I get to meet people from all over the world: Europe, Asia, U.S. and living here is very stress-free and I don't have to worry about safety, unlike if you are working in a big city.

What brings you to Kerrytown?
Great maintanence! wonderful management, manager and landlord are very very good here.

Why is Yamato's food so special?
There are many japanese restaurants in Ann Arbor that are owned by Koreans. What I bring is purely and almost 100% Japanese by a Japanese. Everything here is 90% hand-made(like the Tamago, whereas many restaurants purchase the ready-made version
) and everything here is made to order. I don't use any MSG or Ajinomoto at all. Our food is also very vegetarian friendly.

Our fish is always served fresh. I'm not shy about throwing away food if I don't think it's fit to be served. We get 3 deliveries every week to maintain freshness and our food comes from all over: Japan, Norway, Boston, New York and even Indonesia. I serve blue fin tuna as opposed to yellow fin tuna that some restaurants might serve. The latter is a much cheaper option but tastes nowhere as good. I use pure 100% toro and not imitation toro. These are just a few reasons, to say the least.


See chef cutting a 20-lb piece of blue fin tuna into tuna and toro!



Tips for choosing fresh whole fish?
A few important things: color, must be bright. Eyes, need to be sharp and clear. The gills need to be bright red as opposed to dark red. The whole body needs to have a bright appearance. Also fresh fish should never smell.

Tips for choosing fresh squid?
The top skin must be very black as opposed to white (almost dead).

How long can you keep sushi grade fish?
In Asia, due to the hot and humid weather, at most 2 days. In U.S., it's cooler and drier here, so it can last up to 4 days.

How should you store fish so that they last as long as possible?
You should take off the bones and keep them in the fridge(lasts 4 days in U.S. and 2 days in Asia). Take off all the liver, stomach, etc. too as these are what spoil the fish easily. The blood spoils quickly and the smell will spread to the meat of the fish. Same with the bones too as there are blood lines in the insides of the bones. So, my method would be to take off all bones and guts.

New!
Basic Recipes:

Bonito Soup/Dashi
Water 30 cups
Bonito flakes ~30 oz. or Hon-Dashi* 7 spoons

Tempura Sauce
Bonito Soup/Dashi 4 cups
Dark Soy Sauce 1 cup
Mirin 1.25 cup
-> Boil

Udon Soup
Dashi 15 cups
Soy Sauce 1 cup
Mirin 1 cup

Teriyaki Sauce

Soy Sauce 10 cups
Sugar 15 cups
Sake 1 cup
Hon-Dashi* 5 spoon

Katsudon Sauce
Udon Soup 3 cups
Teriyaki Sauce 1 cup
-> Boil

*Hon-Dashi is a japanese bonito flavoring that can be found at the asian section of supermarkets.

Tempura Batter
Mix flour, egg yolks and water until thick but not too sticky

Katsudon
-Season flattened pork loin with salt and pepper
-Dredge with flour
-Dip in tempura batter
-Cover with panko bread crumbs and deep fry in vegetable oil until golden brown
-Heat 4 oz. of Katsudon sauce with some thinly sliced onions until bubbling
-Add fried pork, 2 eggs and cover for ~1-2 minutes.

Sushi Vinegar
Japanese Rice Vinegar 20 cups
Sugar 10 cups
Salt 10 cups
--> Boil

Miso Soup

Dashi 15 cups
Miso 3 to 2 : Dark Miso and Light Miso (add according to taste and preference)

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