So I can finally stop saying that the only thing I don't like about my new home town is that you can't find a decent plate of sashimi.
The ponzu family dined at Katsu for the first time tonight and it was a pleasure, pure and simple.
The first thing about Katsu is the smell. About four doors down from the enterence, my kyoto born wife turned to me and asked me if I smelled the dashi. Did I ever. Dashi, the ubiquitous smell of Japan. Konbu and dried fish flash boiled. Dashi is all things to all dishes in japan. It is the base for the train station/salaryman udon, and it is the bath that is transformed into sidewalk o-den by the hard boiled eggs, konyaku, fish cake, tofu clad mochi, potatoes, and burdock, that float within it in the wooden troughs, surrounded by emptying bottles of sake, and beer, and shochu in wonderful sidewalk tents. It is in monk food and Sumo food (chanko meat stew.) It is in most sauces, and soups and broths. Thus it is in the air of most residences and resturants throughout Japan. It was what gave katsu the air of authenticity that spilled out into the street surrounding the restaurant.
But enough about that...the food.
1. tongue. Served as it is served throughout Japan, transected into razor thin slices salted and grilled until the fat in the complex fascial planes of the tongue liquefy and fry the surrounding muscle. Then served on a plate with lemon. Katsu's was delicious, but for my taste it could have been sliced thinner, and would have been inproved had it been cooked over wood charcoals, like at japanese yakiniku houses.
2. veal liver with garlic chives. A simple dish made with 1/2 " triangles of quality veal liver that was mild in flavor (just a touch of liver aroma) and firm (not granular) in texture. fresh garliky spring onions were a welcome counterpoint to the silky liver, and the unifying sauce simply soy sauce.
3. A perfectly rolled, inauthentic but delicious unagi/avocado/cucumber roll. Of note because it wasnt overwhelmed by the sweet unagi sauce that often drenches such rolls. The rice was perfectly firm and not over-vinegared/sweetened.
4. Deluxe Sashimi plate. It contained in order of deliciousness.
A. White O-toro nigiri. picture the best piece of toro you've had, now add 50 % butterfat, subtract any fishiness, and all blood, and drapedover a micro cigar of sushi rice. Heaven.
B. prime boston young hamachi nigiri . See above, add some firmness and crown with a small blackberry of caviar.
c. fat ribboned Salmon nigiri topped with ikura. Fresh, bracing, oceanic. Though I could have done without the hypey gold flakes sprinkled upon it.
d. maguro nigiri. fresh and beautifully made.
e. a flower of 3 pieces of tai sashimi topped with golden little spheres of tobiko.
f. maguro sashimi. fresh.
g. fresh ebi with tobiko nigiri. Sweet milky white meat. and the shell/head was seperated, salted and deep fried head guts ant all, tasting like the crispest shrimp chips ever.
h. smoked salmon sashimi. delicious when rolled with shizo and daikon threads. I prefer it with bagels and shmear though.
5. Green tea ice cream with a dollup of sweetened azuki beans.
If I were wealthy I'd be there weekly sitting at the sushi bar eating whatever was freshest. The meal was 90 $ with a 20% tip and a perfectly iced Sapporo.