I had lunch at Koiso in Carle Place today and ordered Yakizakana, broiled fish (usually Salmon or Mackerel). I was told that I was lucky because they had toro steak as a special today. I looked around and saw two tables packed with Japanese business men all enjoying toro steak. I got the feeling that some kind of toro phone chain had brought them all together.
The meal started with miso soup (good, but not the reason to come here) and a salad (which I took a bite of and ignored). The toro arrived, a large triangle of delicious slightly browned fish on a white rectangular platter. It shared the plate with two wedges of lemon and tsukemono, a small mound of grated pickled radish. The meal also came with a bowl of perfect rice and another white bowl that held two pieces of fresh bean curd topped with finely chopped ginger and scallions. The chef's wife lovingly poured soy sauce over the radish and the bean curd, in the same way I imagined she would do for her own son, who was now behind the sushi bar being trained by his father. She advised me to eat some radish with each bite of fish. I had ordered Yakizakana here before and she had given me this same lesson. I didn't let on that I already knew how to eat it.
Every bite of this meal was a demonstration of simplicity and harmony. The fish was brown and crisp at the edges and perfect inside. The radish kept the luxuriousness of the toro in check. The soy in the radish added the perfect amount of seasoning to the toro. The bean curd provided a change in taste, texture and temperature. The rice conducted and enhanced flavors and textures.
Koiso Japanese Restaurant
540 Westbury Ave, Carle Place, NY 11514
Phone: (516) 333-3434
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