Friday, April 17, 2009

Midday meditation

For my second visit to Jin Sho, I sat at the sushi bar, thinking I'd have a simple lunch. Instead, I decided spur-of-the-moment to ask for omakase, a Japanese phrase that means "It's up to you" (from 任す, entrust).

To a sushi chef, omakase means, "Serve me whatever you choose, whatever is best today." Jin Sho's best is very good indeed. This meal was so pretty and flavorful that it was like a little midday meditation.

I watched the sushi chef assembling this attractive little bowl and hoped that it was for me. When it was placed before me, I found yellowtail tartare, topped with a dab of caviar, and a small pool of wasabi soy sauce. I was instructed to save the small red fruit for last: it was yamamomo, a soft-fleshed fruit rather like kiwi in texture, equally tart and sweet.

Next was tuna sashimi salad, a dish I tried on a previous visit and was happy to see again. The fish was slightly seared and coated in crushed peppercorns, with just enough bite to accent the sesame dressing.

The rock shrimp tempura didn't look all that remarkable on the plate, but it was a perfect blend of crunchy, creamy, cool and spicy. It reminded me incongruously of a New Orleans po'boy in the way it combined crispy seafood, seasoned mayonnaise and lettuce.

The miso-marinated black cod was another fascinating fusion: sweet and salty, earthy yet delicate. It was followed by a bowl of miso soup and a sushi plate: tuna, white tuna, ocean trout, and the freshest, sweetest scallop sushi I've ever tasted.

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