New Year’s Eve at Urasawa is a dream restaurant for us. There are no noise-makers, no two seatings; nothing except exceptional food and the ever gracious Hiro. There is definitely a similarity of ingredients between last year and this year. The reason is that Hiro prides himself on only using ingredients of the season so although the preparations might be similar, the focus is on the ingredient and the dedication to that ingredient’s finest quality.
Hairy Crab from Hokkaido, Mizuna, Chrysanthemum flower, yuzu zest, white soy and vinegar
Toro, monkfish liver. Shiso, mirugai, turnip from Kyoto, scallion, Japanese red leaf, shiso flower – the combination of the monkfish with the toro was brilliant – think unctuous
Salmon eggs from Hokkaido, small ebi (shrimp), shitake mushroom, mizuna, edame tofu, topped with gold leaf – salmon eggs are at the end of the season and these salmon eggs have no relationship to the salmon eggs in jars. The edame tofu was in a word wondrous.
Sashimi – red snapper from Southern Japan, Toro from Spain, Kanpachi from Koyama, shiso, carrot and pickle from Kyoto, Chrysanthemum flower, soy sauce, fresh wasabi served in a hand-carved ice bowl
Beef from southern Japan served as tartare topped with caviar and pickled radish – another brilliant combination.
Egg custard, shark fin from Japan, shitake, shrimp, uni, ginko nuts, bonito flavor, ginger – this gives new meaning to comfort food
Cod fish sperm sac from Hokkaido done as tempura – you mix in the radish to the sauce
The next dish was very intricate. The beef served as the outer wrapper and was “filled” with Santa Barbara uni, Shitake and lobster. It was then placed on hot stones and sake mushi was added. The steaming process cooks the dish evenly and produces an incredibly moist and succulent dish.
On a small brazier, hairy crab from Hokkaido sits in its shell. It is topped with shrimp, uni, mizuna, crab brain and “bread” sauce. I am hoping I got this last reference to the sauce correct, but it is somewhat difficult for me to be absolutely accurate given the wine and my lack of an extensive Japanese vocabulary.
Shabu Ingredients– foie gras, Matsuzaka A-5 Kobe, Scallop, Slippery Lobster
Shabu Shabu – thank goodness we didn’t have to cook it – we had help and the foie takes the longest to cook. After you have consumed each ingredient, you are given a soup spoon to enjoy the broth.
Now sushi – I know people think that Hiro is “putting me on”, but he learned this from Masa, his mentor. He absolutely wants 185 grains of rice per sushi portion.
Baby white shrimp
Toro with scallion roll