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The much-needed standardization of labels

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By Yuji Matsumoto

I had an opportunity to hold a Japanese sake seminar at The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles.

What they wanted to know most was the difference between cold and hot sake, brewing process, ingredients and health-related questions, mostly about “How to select your preferred sake.” What is the basis of selecting sake, and where are the descriptions of the sake listed? There were many unknown factors involved in selecting sake. Since over ten years ago, I’ve published the need to standardize labels for Japanese sake, and to display necessary information to the Japanese sake industry. However, I’m disappointed to see that we still haven’t moved forward with these efforts.

For example, the appropriate range of temperature to enjoy sake, compatible cuisines, and to incorporate simple flavors and aromas. The reason why we still don’t see these subjects addressed within the industry is because those affiliated with Japanese sake (including within the U.S.) knows nothing about the happenings on site.The sales of Japanese sake in Japan vs. U.S. is approximately 2% on average, so there’s no motivation. However, it would make sense to try and standardize the labels to ease understanding for consumers.


求められているラベルの統一化

先日、国際交流基金ロサンゼルス日本文化センターにおいて日本酒のセミナーをする機会に恵まれた。

彼らが一番知りたいことは、冷酒と熱燗の違い、造り、原料や健康面についても質問があったが、「どうやって自分の好きなタイプの酒を選んだらいいか」ということに尽きた。何を基準に選択するか、味や香りのプロフィールはどこに書いてあるのか?である。十数年以来、私は日本酒のラベルの統一化や必要情報の表示を日本酒業界に伝えてきたが、一向にこの方向に向かっていないのは至極残念なことである。たとえば、表ラベルに適正飲酒温度帯、相性のよい食べ物、簡単な味と香りを入れることである。未だに業界全体として一切これらのことが話題にでていないのは、おそらく日本酒に携わる(米国内も含め)人間が、まったく現場のことを知らないからであろう。また、日本酒の業界そのものもそこまで苦労をして真剣に日本酒を販売しようという気がないことがよく伺える。もちろん、日本酒の販売金額は、日本と米国を比べたら平均でおそらく2%にも達していないから無理もないのだが、もう少し消費者フレンドリーな統一ラベルを検討していただきたいものである。


備受渴求的標籤統一化

我很榮幸有機會在國際交流基金洛杉磯日本文化中心舉辦清酒研討會。

與會者最想知道的是冷酒和熱燗之間的區別;還詢問有關製作,原料和健康方面的問題。但歸根究柢的問題就是「我應該如何選擇我最喜歡的酒類?」。應該以甚麼標準作出選擇?有關味道和香味的資料在哪裡有提及?問題會是以上兩項。十多年來,我向清酒業界表達了清酒標籤統一化和展示必要信息的訴求;但非常遺憾業界並沒有朝此方向邁進。例如,在正面標籤上填上適當的飲用溫度範圍,與其配合的食物,簡單描述味道和香味。整個行業至今還沒有談到這些事情的原因,恐怕是因為清酒業界的人(包括在美國的人)根本不了解市場的實際情況。

日本與美國相比,清酒銷售額以平均而言可能連2%亦不及,故以上情況可能為無可奈何;但亦希望能夠考慮出對消費者更為友善的統一標籤。


라벨 통일에 대한 요구
국제교류기금 로스앤젤레스 일본문화센터에서 니혼슈에 관한 세미나를 열 기회가 있었습니다.

그들이 가장 알고 싶어 하는 것은 차가운 술과 뜨겁게 데운 술의 차이, 제조 방법, 원료나 건강적인 측면 등에 대한 질문이 있었지만, "자신이 좋아하는 타입의 술을 어떻게 선택하면 좋은가"라는 질문이 많았습니다. 즉, 무엇을 기준으로 선택하는지, 맛이나 향에 관한 프로필은 어디에 쓰여 있는지에 관한 질문입니다. 수십 년 동안 니혼슈의 라벨 통일화와 정보 표시의 필요성을 니혼슈 업계에 전달해 왔지만 전혀 진척되지 않고 있는 현실이 매우 유감스럽습니다. 예를 들어, 표시 라벨에 적정 음주 온도의 범위, 궁합이 잘 맞는 음식, 간단한 맛과 향을 표기하는 것입니다. 아직도 업계 전반에 걸쳐 이러한 움직임이 전혀 보이지 않는 이유는, 아마도 니혼슈와 관련된(미국도 포함) 사람들이 현장을 전혀 모르기 때문일 것입니다.

일본과 미국의 니혼슈 판매 금액을 비교하면 평균 약 2%에도 미치지 못하기 때문에 무리일 수도 있지만, 좀 더 소비자 친화적인 통일된 라벨을 검토해 주었으면 합니다.
#sake #standardization

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Creating new lines of people in New York, “Momofuku Noodle Bar”

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Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li... Creating new li...
By Aya Ota

“Momofuku Group” has always been drawing people’s attention with its innovative concept. Since its opening of “Momofuku Noodle Bar” in 2004 in the East Village District by David Chung, a chef and restaurant entrepreneur, the Group has been growing at an amazing speed. It has developed about 15 various restaurants from casual to high-end, mainly in New York, including Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Sydney, Australia, and Toronto, Canada. It has also developed fast food chains: “Fuku” of fried chicken sandwiches, and “Milk Bar” of sweets & bakery.

David Chung has won various awards which include the Best Chef Award by James Beard Foundation. He is a star chef who is often featured in all kinds of media, who was also selected by Esquire magazine as one of “the most influential people of the 21st Century” along with the politician, Hillary Clinton, the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.

“Noodle Bar”, the leader of this Group’s development, has always been creating a line of waiting people since its 2004 opening, and the second NY location at Columbus Circle which opened at the end of last year after a long wait, is also creating a new line.

“Noodle Bar” is managed by Tony Kim, Executive Chef. He has a unique background. He used to be in the marketing industry, but his passion for cooking made him go into the restaurant industry. After building a career in California in a few restaurant groups, he moved to New York in 2011, and joined “Momofuku Group” in 2013.

Both the founder, David, and Tony are second-generation Korean Americans. Not to mention they have been influenced by Korean home cooking, David has been trained in Japan as well. So, not only by Japanese food ingredients, they have also been greatly influenced by Japanese cooking methods and philosophy. Their bacon dashi has the characteristics of umami of bonito flakes and smoky fragrance. They are firm about the idea of “creating no waste of food, and use the fat from grilling chicken for soup and oil to make fried chicken. Tony has used various Japanese food ingredients such as miso and soy sauce to create new tastes. He said that he always tries to combine ingredients without overpowering their originalities.

Although the name is Noodle Bar, there are only 5 noodle dishes, and the rest is offered by category like Chinese buns (Bread), small plates, vegetables, and large plates. It appears that the number of menu items is not very many, but they also offer “today’s special”, and a daily-changing signature menu item in which plenty of seasonal local ingredients are used to keep repeat customers interested. Since New York is the type of place where a wide variety of customers reside, they pay attention to give a good balance in their menu selection. As for food ingredients, they use a rich variety of meat, fish, and vegetables, and also a wide variety for flavoring from spicy to mild. This Group established “Momofuku Culinary Lab” in 2010. Using traditional Japanese and Korean cooking methods, they have developed seasonings and furikake toppings that suit the preferences of Americans, and use them in the restaurant. The Chinese buns are also all particularly made by hand.

Inside of the restaurant, a kitchen counter is installed on one side, and a bar counter on the other side to give the feeling of presence, and to accommodate all customers in all situations, there are tables and chairs in the center.

In 2020, another Noodle Bar is supposed to open in Los Angeles. They keep opening restaurants of new business models in New York and Las Vegas as well. I cannot keep my eyes off of these current trends.


ニューヨークに新たな行列を作り出す

 常に斬新なコンセプトで注目を浴び続ける『モモフク・グループ』。シェフでレストラン実業家のデイヴィッド・チャン氏が、2004年にイーストヴィレッジ地区に『モモフク・ヌードル・バー』を開店以来、破竹の勢いで成長を続け、現在ニューヨークを中心に、ワシントンD.C.、ラスベガス、ロサンゼルス、オーストラリア・シドニー、カナダ・トロントに、カジュアルな店から高級店まで約15店舗展開する。また、フライドチキン・サンドイッチのファストフード店『Fuku』、スイーツ&ベーカリーの『Milk Bar』をチェーン展開している。

デイヴィッド・チャン氏はジェイムス・ビアード財団のベストシェフ賞をはじめ数々の賞を受賞、エスクァイア誌から「21世紀で最も影響力のある75人」の一人として、政治家のヒラリー・クリントン、フェイスブックCEOのマーク・ザッカーバーグらとともに選出されるなど、メディアに引っ張りだこのスターシェフだ。

同グループを代表する『ヌードル・バー』は2004年開店以来行列の絶えない店だが、ニューヨークで2店舗目となるコロンバス・サークル店を昨年暮れに満を持して開店、新たな行列を作り出している。

『ヌードル・バー』を統括するのは料理長トニー・キム。同氏は、かつてマーケティング業界に従事していたが、料理への情熱が高じ飲食業界に飛び込んだというユニークな経歴を持つ。カリフォルニア州でいくつかのレストラングループで経験を積んだ後、2011年にニューヨークへ移り、2013年から『モモフク・グループ』に加わった。

創業者のデイヴィッド氏もトニー氏も共に韓国系米国人2世。韓国家庭料理の影響を受けているのはもちろんだが、デイヴィッド氏が日本で料理修業をした経験があることから、日本食材だけでなく、日本の調理法や哲学からも大いに影響を受けている。同店の特徴であるベーコン出汁は鰹節が持つ旨味や燻製香がヒントだ。「食材を無駄にしない」という考え方も徹底し、鶏肉をグリルしたときに出る脂をスープやフライドチキンの揚げ油として活用する。トニー氏は、味噌や醤油など、さまざまな日本食材を使い、新しい味を作り出しているが、素材本来の持ち味を打ち消すことなく組み合わせるよう心がけていると言う。

ヌードル・バーと言いつつも、麺類は5種類のみで、中華風バンズ、小皿、野菜、大皿というカテゴリで提供。一見メニュー数は少なく見えるかもしれないが、「今日のおすすめ」を提供するほか、季節や地元の食材をふんだんに活用し定番メニューも毎日差し替えるので、何度行っても飽きることがない。ニューヨークという場所柄、顧客層が幅広いため、メニュー内容はバランスを重視。食材は肉・魚・野菜と豊富に揃え、味付けもスパイシーからマイルドなものまで変化をつける。同グループは、2010年に『モモフク料理研究所』を設立。日本や韓国の伝統的な調理法を活用し、米国人の嗜好に合うような調味料やふりかけを開発し、店内で使用している。中華バンズもすべて手作りというこだわりだ。
内装は、キッチンカウンターとバーカウンターを両サイドに設置し、臨場感を演出。中央にはテーブル席があり、あらゆる顧客層やシチュエーションに対応する。

2020年にはロサンゼルスにも『ヌードル・バー』を開店予定。ニューヨークやラスベガスでも新業態での開店が続くので、最新動向から目が離せない。



Momofuku Noodle Bar
The Shops at Columbus Circle
10 Columbus Circle
New York, NY 10019

https://momofuku.com/

Lunch - Daily 11:30 am – 4 pm
Dinner - Daily 5 pm – 10:30 pm
The bar remains open from 4 – 5 pm
#NY #MomofukuNoodleBar

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Popular restaurant hidden on a residential street, “Organic Vegan” VegiLicious

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By Keiko Fukuda

I heard that VegiLicious is an organic vegan restaurant as you can imagine from its name, and not only that, it is a Japanese restaurant. How could I resist going there? The restaurant is located in Huntington Beach, a surfers’ town. It stands quietly in a corner of a mall, about a 10 minute drive towards the ocean from the 405 Freeway. It is surrounded by relaxed residential streets away from busy streets.

I arrived at the restaurant at 2:30 in the afternoon after the peak lunch time. I saw 2 groups of people eating enjoyably. The lady who was cheerfully talking to the customers as she was serving, was Atsuko Nakao, and the gentleman who came out and talked frankly to the customers who were having desserts, was Akira Nakao. They are the Japanese married couple who run this hidden popular restaurant, and also the only working staff who does everything for the restaurant.
First, I tried their popular menu item, the Kobe BBQ Bowl. I came up with a simple question. Why Kobe beef, at a vegan restaurant? I understood after they explained to me that the meat was made from soybeans which had been developed for vegans after a series of trial and errors, and made almost as identical to the real thin-sliced grilled beef. Even though I knew that it was made with soybeans, I felt the meaty texture in my mouth. It went very well with the sweet and spicy sauce and the brown rice underneath, which gave me quite a bit of satisfaction. Not only that, the fact that “it is not meat” gave me no sense of guilt that I usually feel. The salad dressing is also house-made. They must be very passionate about the business for being so particular about organic ingredients, making everything in-house, and running the place only by themselves.

The owner, Akira-san, is a 2-time adult-class all-Japan wrestling champion. After coming to the US, he had worked at 2 Japanese restaurants as a manager before he opened this restaurant. While working, he gradually developed a desire to run his own organic vegan restaurant. I asked him the reason. He said, “While I was managing my own health as a wrestler, I actually felt myself getting over the exhaustion faster, and healthier by eating more pork than beef, more chicken than pork, more fish than chicken, and even more soybean products such as tofu and natto than fish as my main diet.” He said that he came to his senses to this eating style which he currently offers, through his own experiences.

After taking 7months to find the property, and another 10 months to build, VegiLicious finally opened in February of 2013. When you look at the menu, you see a lot of choices, and a rich variety of items; 3 rice bowl dishes including the Kobe BBQ, as many as 7 kinds of curry dishes, 1 ramen bowl, 5 combination plates, soups, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, and desserts. You can also purchase their house-made salad dressing at the store section.

Because of the way their dishes are prepared with organic-only ingredients and no additives, which takes time and labor, this married couple are the only ones working for this restaurant in order to save labor costs. “Everything, from buying, cooking, and serving, to cleaning is done by us only,” says Akira-san. Even so, the couple wears a cheerful smile, and doesn’t show any stress, maybe because of their healthy food and lifestyle they lead, and offering it to their customers. It seems like they are living in a spiral of maintaining health by the power of food despite busy work, providing satisfaction to the customers by the good food, and getting even busier. I got a strong impression that only because they do everything by themselves, their mission-like desire, to “Make people healthy and happy with organic vegan cooking”, is being conveyed directly to their customers, and the number of their fans is growing.

I asked how many customers they were attracting because of that thinking, and how many rotations they have for dinner time sales. They said, “It depends. Some spend only 15 minutes to finish, and others, like a big group for instance, could take 2 to 3 hours to enjoy the whole experience.” You can easily guess how popular they are by knowing that the wait time could be as long as 30 minutes in the waiting line to get in.


住宅街の隠れた「オーガニックビーガン」人気店

VegiLicious、店名から想像できるようにオーガニックビーガン料理の店。しかも日本食レストランと聞けば行ってみないわけにはいかない。その店があるのはサーファーの街、ハンティントンビーチ。フリーウェイの405号線を降りて延々10分ほど海の方に進んだモールの一角にひっそりと佇む。周囲は、繁華街とは程遠く、のんびりした雰囲気漂う住宅街だ。

店に到着したのはランチタイムのピークを過ぎた午後2時半。店内では食事を楽しむ2組のグループの姿があった。サーバーを務めながら明るく客に声をかける女性は中尾亜津子さん。そして、デザートを食べている客のテーブルに現れ、気さくに話しかける男性が中尾昭さん。この店は日本人夫婦が二人だけで切り盛りしている、隠れた人気店なのだ。

まずは、人気メニューの神戸BBQボウルをいただいた。ビーガンなのに神戸BBQとは一体?と素朴な疑問が浮かぶが、ビーガン向けに開発された大豆製の代替肉を、工夫に工夫を重ねて薄切りの焼肉そっくりに仕上げていると聞いて納得。大豆とわかって口に運んでもしっかりとした食べ応えがあり、また甘辛いソースと下に敷かれたブラウンライスとの相性も抜群で満足度は高い。さらに「肉にあらず」という事実のおかげで、普段感じる罪悪感とも無縁だ。サラダのドレッシングも手作り。オーガニックな食材にこだわり、手作りにこだわり、さらに夫婦二人だけで店を回していくとなると、相当な熱意がなければやっていけないに違いない。

オーナーの昭さんは、日本で二度の全国大会優勝経験がある社会人レスリングのチャンピオン。アメリカに渡った後、今の店を持つまでに、ロサンゼルス近辺の2軒の日本食レストランのマネージャーを務めた。その中で次第にオーガニックビーガンの店を自分で経営したいという気持ちが募ってきたのだという。その理由を聞くと、「レスリング選手として自分の健康を管理していくうえで、牛肉よりも豚肉、豚より鶏肉、鶏より魚、さらに魚よりも豆腐や納豆といった大豆食品を食生活の中心に据えることで、疲れの回復が早く、体調が良くなっていくことを実感したのです」と、自らの実体験から今手掛けている食のスタイルに目覚めたのだと教えてくれた。

そして、物件探しに7カ月、工事に10カ月かけて、2013年2月、VegiLicousはようやく開店にこぎつけた。同店で出されているメニューに目をやると、神戸BBQボウルをはじめとする丼3種、カレーは実に7種、ラーメンが1種、コンビネーションミールが5種、そのほかにもスープ、サラダ、アペタイザーからサンドイッチ、デザートまで選択肢は豊富にある。さらに手作りドレッシングは店頭で販売されている。

オーガニック食材と添加物を使用しないという手間と時間がかかる調理法のため、人件費を抑える目的で前述のように店で働くのは夫婦のみ。「仕入れから調理、接客から掃除に至るまで全部私たち二人でやっています」と昭さんは語る。それでも自らが実践し、客にも提供する健康的な食生活のおかげなのか、夫婦は明るい笑顔を見せ、疲れなどは感じさせない。忙しく働いても食の力で健康を維持し、その料理で顧客に満足感を与え、さらに忙しくなり、というスパイラルの中で生活しているようだ。そして、二人だけで何もかもを手がけているからこそ、彼らの「オーガニックビーガン料理で人を健康にして、幸せにしたい」という使命感にも似た思いは、直接的に顧客へと届き、店のファンを増やしているのだという印象を強く受けた。

その結果、どれだけの客を呼び込んでいるのか?店の売り上げの代わりにディナータイムは一体何回転するのかと聞いたが、「食べたいものだけを食べて15分で帰る人もいるし、2、3時間、食事を楽しむグループもいるので一概に言えません」とのことだった。それでも、空席待ちに30分の列ができると聞けば、人気のほどは推して知るべし、だろう。



VegiLicious
16821 Algonquin St., #103, Huntington Beach, CA
(714)377-3928

https://www.vegilicious-us.com

Wednesday-Monday
11:45am-3:00pm, 5:30pm-9:00pm

Closed Tuesdays
#VegiLicious #organic #vegan

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The possibilities of Shochu

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By Yuji Matsumoto

While sparkling wine and flavored wine is no doubt popular, another surprisingly popular beverage is shochu (distilled liquor).

Shochu on-the-rocks, mixed with lemon soda or with Calpis soda are also popular among American consumers.

From the restaurant side’s perspective, especially in California, the greatest advantage of selling shochu is that despite being a distilled liquor, as long as the alcohol level is less than 24 percent, shochu can still be sold with a Beer & Wine license. Surprisingly however, few restaurants are effectively incorporating shochu into their alcohol list. Judging from the response from customer, it seems as if more participants were interested in purchasing shochu than Japanese sake, which means there are still great sales opportunities for shochu.

Even without a bartender, shochu highball can be easily prepared by mixing shochu with lemon juice, grape juice, lychee juice and carbonated water, with high profit rate. There is no difficult explanation involved other than “Japanese vodka” for easy understanding and acceptance by American consumers.

Also, maritinis, mojitos, Bloody Mary, and various other vodka and tequila-based cocktails can be made with shochu. Therefore, I look forward to more American consumers trying shochu.



焼酎の可能性

発泡酒やフレイバー酒は言うまでもなく人気だが、意外にも焼酎が好評だ。

焼酎はロックやレモン割り、カルピス割りどれもアメリカ人にうける。

レストラン側から見ると、特にカリフォルニア州では、蒸留酒にもかかわらずアルコール24%以下ならBeer & Wineライセンスでも販売できるのが最大のメリットだ。しかし、現場をみるとこの焼酎を有効的に活用しているレストランは意外と少ない。お客の反応からみると日本酒を買って帰る人より焼酎を購入したい人が多いということは、販促によってまだ伸びる可能性があるということだ。

バーテンダーがいなくても、レモンジュース、グレープジュース、ライチジュースと炭酸で簡単に利益率の高いカクテル(酎ハイ)ができる。

何も焼酎を難しく説明することはなく、単に“Japanese Vodka”と言えば簡単に理解され、アメリカ人に受け入れられる。

このほかにマティーニやモヒト、さらには、Bloody Maryなどウォッカ やテキーラで作れるほとんどのカクテルが焼酎で出来るのでぜひ試されたい。



日本燒酒的可能性

不言而喻,發泡酒和加香酒很受歡迎;但令人驚訝的是,日本燒酒亦廣獲好評。
加冰塊、檸檬或可爾必思的日本燒酒均獲美國人好評。

以餐廳的角度而言——特別是在加利福尼亞州——最大的優勢是在於儘管其歸屬於蒸餾酒;但因其酒精成分只有24%或以下,故只須持有啤酒及葡萄酒許可證,即可販賣之。然而感到意外的是,去到當地時會發現很少餐館能夠有效地利用這些日本燒酒。從客戶的反應來看,與購買日本酒回家的人比較,更多人希望購買日本燒酒;所以根據促銷活動的展開,日本燒酒的銷售量仍大有可能增加。

即使沒有調酒師,一樣可以利用檸檬汁,葡萄汁,荔枝汁和碳酸輕鬆製作高利潤的雞尾酒(日式highball,即日本燒酒摻汽水)。

無須複雜艱難地解釋何謂日本燒酒;只需簡單地說「日本伏特加」,即可簡單容易獲美國人理解和接受。

除此之外,大多數可以用伏特加和龍舌蘭酒製作的雞尾酒——如馬丁尼和莫希托,以及血腥瑪麗等——都可以用日本燒酒製作,請務必一試。



소주의 가능성

발포주와 플레이버주는 늘 인기를 끌고 있는데 의외로 소주도 좋은 평가를 받고 있습니다.

소주는 온더록이나 레몬와리, 칼피스와리 모두 미국 사람들에게 인기가 있다.

레스토랑 입장에서 보면, 특히 캘리포니아주에서는, 증류주라도 알코올이 24% 이하면 Beer & Wine 라이센스로도 판매할 수 있어 큰 메리트가 있습니다. 그러나 실제 이 소주를 효과적으로 활용하는 레스토랑은 의외로 적습니다. 고객의 반응을 보면 니혼슈를 사가는 사람보다 소주를 구입하려는 사람이 많은데, 판촉만 제대로 한다면 아직도 성장 가능성이 있다고 볼 수 있습니다.

바텐더가 없어도 레몬주스, 포도주스, 리치주스와 탄산으로 높은 마진의 칵테일 (츄하이)을 간단히 만들 수 있습니다.

소주를 어렵게 설명하지 말고 간단히 "Japanese Vodka" 라고 소개하면 미국 사람들도 쉽게 이해하고 받아들일 수 있습니다.

이것 말고도 마티니나 모히토, Bloody Mary 같은 보드카나 데킬라로 만드는 대부분의 칵테일도 소주로 만들 수 있으니 꼭 시도해보시기 바랍니다.
#alljapannews #shochu

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An innovative concept which never existed in New York before. “ZAUO” where you can eat the fish you have just caught

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An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c... An innovative c...
By Aya Ota

“ZAUO”, where you can have the fish you have just caught cooked, and eat right there----a restaurant with such an innovative concept which is unprecedented in New York, is the talk of the town now.

First, the customer would decide which fish he or she wants to catch. In the restaurant, there are 3 fish tanks, and about 10 different kinds of live seafood items, which alternate every season, are kept there, and consist of rainbow trout, striped-bass, fluke, flounder, lobster, Dungeness crab, abalone, etc. Depending on the kind of fish, the tools and methods of catching differ. Staff called “Fish Attendants” would help you so you don’t need to worry. Once you catch your aimed item, the floor staff cheers for you by hitting a drum. After that, you choose the cooking method of your choice: salt grilled, tempura, simmered in soy sauce, sake-steamed, etc. Half & Half, in which a piece of fish is divided into 2 halves, and one half is used for shabu shabu, and the other half is salt grilled, etc., is especially popular. It makes you feel really special that you eat what you just caught which is cooked immediately while it is still fresh. There are additional services such as making miso soup with the fish head and bones, making crunchy senbei of fried fluke or flounder bones, etc. You can taste your caught item in its entirety without wasting any part.

Besides the above-mentioned fishing menu, for which the fished items are cooked, they offer a rich variety of a-la-carte menu items such as sushi, sashimi, seafood bowl, salad, and miso soup. You can start fishing right away, or you can enjoy sake and appetizers first, and then challenge yourself to fish. The restaurant has 3 stories. The first floor has lively seating near large fish tanks, private room like spaces, and a bar counter. You can watch fish swimming underneath from the mezzanine floor, or the 2nd floor interior gives you the sense of being on a boat, Whether you are a couple, part of a group, or by yourself, you can enjoy various ambiences by going to different floors. Customers often use this place for family outings with children or for birthday parties. From this June, they have just started using the 3rd floor. It is a quiet space very different from the 1st and 2nd floor, and omakase sushi is served there.

I can imagine that in order to realize such an unprecedented concept, they must have experienced a lot of difficulties in building construction and application for permits, etc., on top of gaining the understanding and cooperation of the involved parties. However, “I never really thought that I was struggling,” says Mr. Takuya Takahashi, President of Zauo Inc. cheerfully. He is also the Vice President of Harbor House Inc. (based in Fukuoka), which has developed 13 “ZAUO”s in Japan. This company was founded in1986, and was originally operated as an apparel business dealing with novelty products and uniforms. They expanded their business, and have developed a total of 20 restaurants besides “ZAUO”s, which include izakaya and teishoku chains. In 2014, when he was visiting New York with his brother, the President of Harbor House Inc., he felt the strong urge to do something in this town full of diversity. Back then, he was doing the market research and looking for locations flexibly without focusing on a particular business model. Then, he decided to develop the “ZAUO” concept, which has a strong, unique characteristic that differs from others. Sometimes, the experience and knowledge he gained from “ZAUO”, Japan, was useful, but some things were totally different in the US. Many customers come for the fishing experience without recognizing the restaurant as a Japanese restaurant, and taste Japanese food or sake for the first time. Some want rice as a side menu item of the western cuisine, so they started to offer it for free. In order to accommodate diversified preferences, restricted diets, and allergies, they offer meats, and vegetarian dishes as well. For those who are not accustomed to eating whole fish, they serve it with no skin and bones to attentively respond to the detailed needs. Moreover, they created a position called “Fish Attendant”, which exists only at this restaurant, and educate the staff for it so they can become confident and take joy in this unique position. Mr. Takahashi himself, who has the determining rights, takes the lead on site, so flexibility and power of actuation is excellent.

“I would like to produce joyfulness, focusing on the importance of sense of unity among customers and staff,” says Mr. Takahashi. His quote also holds a wish for having people understand not only the joys of eating something they caught themselves, but also conveying the understanding of expressing gratitude for each precious life to be taken and consumed with respect.


これまでニューヨークになかった革新的なコンセプト
自分で釣った魚を食べられる『ZAUO』


「自分で釣った魚をその場で調理してもらう」…これまでニューヨークには存在しなかった斬新なコンセプトの店、『ざうお』が話題だ。

客は来店するとまず、どの魚介類を釣りたいか決める。店内には3カ所のいけすがあり、ニジマス、シマスズキ、ひらめ、かれい、ロブスター、ダンジネスクラブ、あわびなど、季節ごとに変わるが常時約10種類の魚介類がいる。種類によって釣り具や捕獲方法が異なるが、「フィッシュ・アテンダント」と呼ばれる店員が助けてくれるので安心だ。お目当ての魚介類を釣り上げると、店員が太鼓を叩いて盛り上げてくれる。その後、塩焼き、天ぷら、煮付け、酒蒸しなど、好みの調理方法を選んで料理してもらう。特に、一匹の魚を半身はしゃぶしゃぶ、半身は塩焼き…という具合に、二通りに調理してもらう「ハーフ&ハーフ」が人気。自ら捕獲した魚介類を、新鮮なまま調理してもらって食べる醍醐味は格別だ。頭部と骨を味噌汁にしたり、ひらめやかれいの骨を揚げて骨せんべいにしたり…という追加サービスもあり、釣果を無駄なく丸ごと味わい尽くすことができる。

釣った魚介類を調理してもらうフィッシング・メニュー以外にも、寿司や刺身、海鮮丼、サラダ、味噌汁など、アラカルト・メニューも豊富に用意されている。来店してすぐに釣り始めてもいいし、お酒や前菜を少し楽しんでから釣りに挑戦してもいい。店は3階建てのビル全体を活用した構造で、1階には、大型のいけすが近い賑やかな席、個室風の席、バーカウンターがある。足下に泳ぐ魚を眺められる中2階、実際に乗船しているような臨場感ある内装の2階…カップルでも団体でも一人でも、フロアや席を変えて異なる雰囲気を味わえる。子供連れの家族層や誕生会などに利用されることも多いという。6月からは3階での営業を開始し、1〜2階とは全く異なる閑静な空間で、おまかせ寿司を提供。プライベートイベントにも対応可能な空間も用意している。

これまでに例のない概念を実現するには、関係者の理解や協力を得ることはもちろん、建設工事や許認可申請など多くの障害があっただろう。しかし、「あまり苦労していると感じたことはない」と明るい笑顔で話す『ZAUO INC.』社長の高橋拓也氏氏。日本で『釣船茶屋ざうお』を13店舗を展開する『株式会社ハーバーハウス』(本社:福岡県)の副社長でもある。1986年創業の同社は、もともとノベルティ商品やユニフォームなどのアパレル業からスタートしたが、事業を拡大し、『ざうお』以外でも居酒屋や定食屋など複数の業態を含め約20店舗を展開する。2014年に、高橋氏が社長である兄と、市場調査を目的にニューヨークを訪れていたときに「多様性あふれるこの街で何かやりたい」と直観。当初は業態を絞り込むことなく柔軟に調査や物件探しを進めていたが、他と差別化できる強烈な個性を持つ『ざうお』を展開しようと決断した。日本の『ざうお』での経験や知識が役立つこともあれば、全く異なることもあった。釣りをきっかけに、同店を日本食店と認識せずに来店する客も多いため、初めて日本食や日本酒を口にする人もいる。西洋料理のサイドメニューのようにご飯を要求する客もいて無料提供を開始した。多様な嗜好性、食事制限やアレルギーに対応するべく肉やベジタリアン料理も提供する。丸ごとの魚を食べ慣れない客には骨や皮を外してあげるなど、細かい要望にも丁寧に対応する。また、「フィッシュ・アテンダント」という他店にない職種に自信と喜びを感じられるよう教育をしているという。決裁権ある高橋氏本人が現場指揮を執っているため、柔軟性と行動力が抜群だ。

「お客様やスタッフとの一体感を大事に、楽しさを演出したい」と高橋氏。自分で釣った魚を食べられる楽しみを伝えるだけでなく、感謝して命をいただくという食育の願いも込められている。



ZAUO
152 W 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
Tel: 646-905-2274
https://zauo-newyork.com/
5:00 pm to 10:30 pm (Last Order 10:00 pm) 7days week
#alljapannews #NY #ZAUO #sushi

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Popular with fresh made Soba noodles

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Popular with fresh made Soba... Popular with fresh made Soba... Popular with fresh made Soba... Popular with fresh made Soba... Popular with fresh made Soba...
By Keiko Fukuda

When a good Japanese restaurant opens, the news spreads very quickly in the Japanese community. A friend of mine who lives in Orange County told me, “A nice restaurant just opened. It is called Soba Izakaya Minami”. After that, I had a chance to have lunch with another friend who lives in Orange County, so I suggested the place. He said, “My wife said she has been there. She thought the food was good”. What a small world!

This place is located in the Laguna Hills Shopping Mall, about 45 minutes down south from where I live. Its interior provides a loft-like modern ambience, and does not look like a typical Izakaya. I visited toward the end of peak lunch hour; however, there were still several groups of customers enjoying meals. I ordered hot gobo tempura. To my surprise, the server told me that the price would be the same for any 100, 200, or 300g of soba. I thought 100g might not be enough, so I ordered 200g, which was just the right amount. If you really like to fill up, you should order 300g. This unique ordering system, and of course, the flavorful soba and crispy gobo tempura were also pretty impressive, and this place was added to my list of restaurants which I want to visit again.

On another day, I visited again to interview the owner, Ray Hattori. Mr. Hattori worked for Asahi Beer for a long time. He retired as the President of its American division. After that, he moved to Orange County, and started working as a restaurant business consultant. He explained to me that he thought he ought to have experience in running a restaurant himself, in order to call himself a consultant, and decided to launch this business by inviting in an enterprise which has been developing a large-scale restaurant chain in Japan as the partner. I asked him why a Soba restaurant, and he replied as follows:
“First of all, I wanted to have a restaurant of which Japanese people think “the taste is authentic”. Second of all, there are many various types of Japanese restaurants in Orange County, including a lot of ramen restaurants, but there are only a few soba restaurants.”

Before opening this soba restaurant, he worked as both a Lyft and Uber driver for the purpose of finding a good location, and market research. “I talked to the customers about where they were headed out to, and what they are looking for in a restaurant. By doing so, I was able to get some ideas,” said Mr. Hattori. In fact, people who use transportation services like Lyft to go to restaurants, often have drinking in mind.

Thus, Soba Izakaya Minami opened its doors in October of 2018. The reason for its open-feel, high-ceiling structure is that he wanted to give customers an image of a soba factory where freshly made soba is offered. In fact, they start the soba making machine after each order is placed. They really serve freshly made soba. They also serve udon dishes. You can take our udon, but not soba which is dine-in only. They are very particular about the freshness of soba, so you can only have soba in the restaurant.

When I made this report, it was about 6 months after the opening. Hattori-san then told me that he was already getting a good vibe. “I am so relieved to know that American customers don’t have much hesitation about soba, unlike what I had expected. Originally, I was aiming for the kind of taste that gives authenticity to Japanese, but as the result, half of our customers have become Americans. I am feeling unexpected happiness.”

Besides being a soba restaurant, they are also an izakaya at night. Because Mrs. Hattori is from Okinawa, they have a plan to gradually increase Okinawan cuisine in the menu. I am looking forward to that, too. Naturally, the beer brands they carry are Asahi, which Mr. Hattori worked for a long time, and Orion beer from Okinawa.


打ち立て蕎麦で人気

美味しい日本食屋ができると日本人社会の中ですぐに噂が広がる。オレンジ郡に住む知り合いに「いい店ができた。蕎麦居酒屋みなみという名前」と教えてもらった後、別のオレンジ郡の知り合いとランチをする時にその店を提案したところ、「ワイフが行ったことがあるらしい。美味しいと言っていた」という返事が返ってきた。スモールワールドだ。

 その店は私が住むエリアから45 分ほど南下したラグナヒルズのショッピングモール内にあった。内装は蕎麦屋らしからぬロフト風のモダンな雰囲気。ランチのピークが終わった頃に入店したのだが、それでも数組の客が食事を楽しんでいた。私がオーダーしたのは温かいごぼう天蕎麦。驚いたのは、サーバーに「蕎麦は100g、200g、300g のどの量でも値段は一緒です」と教えられたこと。100g だとさすがに足りない気がして200 にしてみたが大正解だった。さらにお腹いっぱいになるまで蕎麦を味わいたいと思う人は300 にすれば良いだろう。このユニークなシステムと、そしてもちろん風味豊かな蕎麦とサクサクのごぼう天の印象は抜群で、「再び訪れたい店」の一つに加わった。

 日を改めてオーナーのレイ・服部さんに話を伺った。服部さんは長年、アサヒビールに勤務、米国法人のプレジデントを最後に退職した。その後、オレンジ郡に引っ越し、レストランビジネスのコンサルタントとしての活動をスタートした。しかし、コンサルタントを名乗るからには一度自らレストランを経営すべきではないかと考え、日本で大規模な飲食店チェーンを展開している企業をパートナーに迎え店を手がけることにしたのだと説明してくれた。なぜ、蕎麦屋にしたのかと聞くと服部さんの答えは次のようなものだった。

「まず、日本人として『これは本物の味だね』と言っていただけるような店にしたかったということ。次にオレンジにはいろんな日本食店があり、ラーメン店も多いですが、蕎麦屋があまりないということです」

 蕎麦屋を開店するに当たり、ロケーションを探すための市場調査を目的に服部さんはリフトとウーバーのドライバーになったそうだ。「お客さんがどこを目指して出かけるのか、また実際に話をしてみて、彼らが求めているものが何かを聞くことで参考にさせてもらいました」と服部さん。確かにリフトのような配車サービスの利用者はお酒を飲むことを前提に飲食店に向かうことが多いはずだ。
 
 こうして2018 年10 月に蕎麦居酒屋みなみを開店。天井が高い開放的な造りにしたのは、新鮮な蕎麦を提供している「蕎麦工場」のようなイメージを顧客に与えたかったからだそうだ。そして蕎麦は、オーダーが入ってから製麺機にかける、まさにフレッシュな打ち立てを出している。メニューにはうどんもある。ただし、テイクアウトはうどんも受け付けるが、新鮮さにこだわる蕎麦はダインイン限定にしている。

 取材をしたのは開店から半年ほどが経った頃だったが、既に手応えを感じていると服部さんは話す。「アメリカ人のお客さんが思ったよりも蕎麦に抵抗がないようで安心しています。最初は日本人が食べても本物だと思っていただける味を目指していましたが、結果的には顧客の半分はアメリカ人になったことで想定外の嬉しさを感じています」。

 また、蕎麦屋だけでなく、夜は居酒屋としての顔を見せる。服部さんの奥様が沖縄出身ということで、メニューには沖縄料理を少しずつ増やしていく計画なのだとか。それもまた楽しみだ。ちなみに同店に置いているビールは服部さんが長年在籍したアサヒビールと沖縄のオリオンビールだということだ。



Soba Izakaya, Minami
24391 Avenida De La Carlota Suite A, Laguna Hills
(949) 215-5375
https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Japanese-Restaurant/Soba-Izakaya-Minami-438038653298633/

11:30am-2:30pm
5:00pm-10:00pm
7 days open
#alljapannews #soba #izakaya #minami

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Master Sake Brewer Junji Matsumori recognized as a Contemporary Master Craftsman of Iwate Prefecture

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By Kosuke Kuji

Iwate prefecture promotes improvement in the status and skills of skilled craftsmen to develop the prefecture’s economy. Since 1976, highly skilled craftsmen are recognized as Contemporary Master Craftsmen, the highest recognition for craftsmen honored by Iwate prefecture.

Master Sake Brewer Junji Matsumori was recently recognized with this honor as a Contemporary Master Craftsman of Iwate prefecture.

Born in Ninohe city, Iwate prefecture, Matsumori joined his wife’s family business of managing a liquor store upon marriage, where he worked at a local wholesaler.
Just when I was searching for a “young worker for sake production,” I met Matsumori and was moved by his noble spirit and love for sake, and invited him to join our brewery division.

From then on, Matsumori worked under the late Hajime Yamaguchi, former Master Sake Brewer of Nanbu Bijin, where Matsumori inherited his late master’s genius sake production skills. Today, he leads the Nanbu Bijin sake production as our current Master Sake Brewer.

Today, Matsumori is recognized as First Place in the Ginjo division and Second Place in the Junmai division of the most competitive sake awards in Japan, the Tohoku Sake Awards, and as world champion of the International Wine Challenge held in London in 2017, where his sake was recognized as “Champion Sake.” The talented Master Sake Brewer also garnered First Place in both the sparkling sake division and Junmai Daiginjo division in a 2018 sake competition in Tokyo that recognized the most delicious brand of commercially available sake brand. In The Annual Japanese Sake Awards, Matsumori garnered the Gold Prize twelve times out of the thirteen years the awards were given, a celebrated Master Sake Brewer proudly representing both Iwate prefecture and Japan on the world stage.

A young Nanbu Toji still in his fifties, we anticipate Master Sake Brewer Matsumori’s continued contribution to the ongoing development of sake production skills in the Japanese sake industry.


松森杜氏、岩手県卓越技能者認定

岩手県では技能尊重気運を醸成し、技能労働者の地位及び技能水準の向上を図り、岩手県産業経済の発展に寄与することを目的として、卓越技能者表彰を昭和51年度から行っています。

岩手県の技術者としては、最高の栄誉の表彰です。

その岩手県卓越技能者に当社の松森杜氏が選ばれ、先日表彰をされました。

松森杜氏は地元岩手県二戸市で生まれ、結婚して奥様の家族が経営する酒屋さんに婿で入り、地元の問屋さんで働いていました。

私が蔵に帰って、酒造りで若い人材が欲しい、と願っていた時に、出会い、その気高き心と日本酒愛に惚れ込んで当社の酒造り部門に来てもらいました。

そこからは、南部美人の前杜氏である故山口一杜氏に付き、天才と言われた山口杜氏の技を継承し、今では南部美人の杜氏として酒造り全般を指揮しています。

2016年には日本で最もレベルの高い鑑評会である東北清酒鑑評会で見事吟醸酒の部門で首席第1位、純米酒の部門で2位というダブル受賞をし、2017年には世界一の称号を決めるロンドンで開催されるインターナショナルワインチャレンジで見事世界一「チャンピオンサケ」を受賞、2018年には世界一おいしい市販酒を決める東京で開催されるサケコンペティションでスパークリングの部門で1位、純米大吟醸の部門で1位とダブル首席を受賞しました。全国新酒鑑評会でも13年間で12回金賞受賞など、岩手が、そして日本が誇る名杜氏です。

まだ50代と若く、これから岩手の南部杜氏のため、そして日本の日本酒業界の技術発展のため、貢献していってほしいです。
#alljapannews #sake #brewer #Iwate

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Selecting your choice of sake

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By Yuji Matsumoto

Sake is a beverage of preference. However, “delicious” sake all have common universal traits.
The flavors can be characterized as follows:

 -Sweetness
 -Acidity
 -Saltiness
 -Bitterness
 -Umami

In terms of food preparation, the common factor that creates a “delicious” taste for consumers is the balance between these flavors. “Preference” refers to this balance being achieved first, followed by one’s preferred flavor, such as ‘sweetness,’ being slightly stronger than the other four characteristics.

The same can be said about sake. Sake flavors are evaluated based on how well-balanced these flavors (saltiness mostly does not exist in sake) are. With sake, sweetness and acidity are easily detected with the first sip. However, “umami” flavor is an underlying taste, mostly detected as an aftertaste or when passing the tongue.

Some curious brands of (low-rated) sake have unbalanced flavors, where one flavor is strongly notable while lacking another.

Those who prefer dry, but well-balanced sake might enjoy the acidity upon swallowing the sake, while enjoying the short aftertaste that lingers on the palate; while those who prefer sweet flavors may likely enjoy sake with a fruity note and a mellow flavor with a long-lasting finish.

The most important training is to determine your own axis of flavors, best accomplished by enjoying a wide range of sake, and enjoying the same brand of sake over a period of time.


好みの酒を見つける

酒は嗜好品、しかし“美味しい”ものには普遍的な共通のものがある。
味覚を分析すると;

 ・甘味
 ・酸味
 ・塩味
 ・苦味
 ・旨味

ということになる。料理において、人が“美味しい”と感じる共通の要素はこのバランスにある。“好み”と言われるのは、このバランスがあった上で甘いものが好きな人は“甘味”が他の4味覚より若干強いものを美味しく感じるのである。

日本酒も同じでこれらの味覚(塩味はほとんどない)がいかにバランスよく配分されているかが評価どころである。比較的甘味と酸味は、飲んだ瞬間にアタックしてくるので分かりやすい。しかし、旨味は密かに潜んでおり、後味や舌に通過する時に感じやすい。

ちょっと気になる(評価の低い)酒は、一つの味覚部分が突出していたり、欠けていたりすることで味がちぐはぐになっていることである。

バランスがあった上で辛口が好きな人は、おそらく飲んだ瞬間の酸の立っている、短い余韻の酒を好むだろうし、甘党の人は果実系の香りがあり、まったりとした長い余韻の酒を好むであろう。

一番大切なトレーニングは、自分の味の軸を確立することである。それには、多種類の酒を飲むより、同じ酒をじっくりとある程度の期間飲む方が早道である。


尋覓喜好的酒

酒是滿足個人喜好的飲料;但「美味」的酒都有一些普遍的共通點。
如以味道分析:

 - 甜味
 - 酸味
 - 鹹味
 - 苦味
 - 甘味

則分為以上幾類。在烹飪中,人們感到「美味」的共同要素存在於此一平衡中。在此平衡上,喜歡甜食的人若能嚐到「甜味」比其他四種味道略為濃烈,就會感到「美味」;此謂「喜好」。

而清酒亦然。此等味道(幾乎沒有鹹味)的平衡分布的優劣正是其評價點。相對其他味道,酸味和甜味會在品嚐的瞬間刺激味蕾,故易於分別。然而,甘味會潛藏在內,在餘味中或經過舌頭時容易感覺之。

比較令人在意(低評價)的酒,是其中一種味道突出或欠缺,而導致味道欠缺調和的酒。

喜歡干型(Dry)的人應該會更喜歡在喝的瞬間酸味突出而餘韻短暫的酒;嗜甜的人應該會更喜歡有水果香味,以及餘韻持久的酒。

最重要的訓練是建立個人的品味。而達成以上事情的捷徑,莫過於花費一段時間仔細品嚐相同的酒;比同一時間品嚐各式各樣的酒更為有效。


기호에 맞는 술 찾기

술은 기호품이지만 "맛있는" 것에는 보편적인 공통점이 있습니다.
미각을 분석하면 다음과 같습니다.

 - 단맛
 - 신맛
 - 짠맛
 - 쓴맛
 - 감칠맛

사람이 음식을 "맛있다"라고 느낄 때의 공통점은 이들이 균형을 이룬다는 것입니다. "기호"라는 것은 이들이 먼저 균형을 이룬 후에, 단맛을 좋아하는 사람은 "단맛"이 다른 네 가지 미각보다 약간 강할 때 맛있게 느끼는 것입니다.

니혼슈도 마찬가지인데, 이러한 미각(짠맛은 거의 없음)이 얼마나 균형 있게 배분되어 있는지가 평가 요소가 됩니다. 단맛과 신맛은 마시자마자 느껴지기 때문에 비교적 알아차리기 쉽습니다. 그러나 감칠맛은 살짝 숨어있다가 뒷맛과 혀를 통과할 때 느껴집니다.

다소 우려되는 (낮게 평가되는) 술은 하나의 미각 부분이 지나치게 부각되거나 결여되어 있어 맛 자체가 어우러지지 않습니다.

균형감이 있는 상태에서 쌉쌀한 맛의 술을 좋아하는 사람은 아마도 마시는 순간 신맛이 느껴지는 짧은 여운의 술을 선호할 것이고, 달콤한 술을 좋아하는 사람은 과일향이 나며 부드럽고 감칠맛 나는 여운이 길게 남는 술을 좋아할 것입니다.

가장 중요한 훈련은 자신만의 맛의 축을 확립하는 것입니다. 그렇게 하려면 여러 종류의 술을 마시는 것보다 어느 정도의 기간을 두고 차분하게 마시는 것이 빠른 방법입니다.
#alljapannews #sake

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“Batsu” “Wara” Be entertained by a Japanese style comedy show while enjoying sushi and sake

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“Batsu” “Wara” ... “Batsu” “Wara” ... “Batsu” “Wara” ... “Batsu” “Wara” ...
By Aya Ota

Enjoy a Japanese style comedy show in a Japanese festival-like atmosphere while eating sushi and drinking sake ------ A brand-new type of entertainment is attracting a lot of attention.

This very unique business model was born from a collaboration of “Face Off Unlimited Group” which runs comedy shows, and a Japanese restaurant, “Wara”. “Bastu” means “Punishment”, and “Wara” means “LOL” in English. The show presented here was inspired by a popular Japanese TV variety show called “Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!” (by Nippon Television Network), in which 4 actors referred to as “Warriors” play various games, and the loser has to play a punishment game. He would have to eat sushi placed on a gigantic man, get shot by a paint-ball gun, dance in a ballerina outfit, etc.…Sometimes, customers also participate in the games, and experience punishment games as well with the actors. The whole place gets filled with a sense of unity, and gut-wrenching laughter. Some Japanese actors wear kimono, happi coats, Japanese school-girl uniforms, etc., to produce a Japan-like atmosphere.

It started in 2010. “Face Off Unlimited Group” began to present a comedy show once a week at the basement lounge theater of a Japanese restaurant called “Jebon Sushi & Noodle” on St. Marks Place. The show gradually grew popular, and ran more often. “Jebon Sushi & Noodle” ended up closing its doors due to business reasons such as rapid rent hike, and changes in types of customers. However, starting from February of 2019, the “Batsu” started to be showcased every day there by “Wara”, a restaurant run by the same owner. The interior has been modified, focusing for the theater use more, and food and drinks are served in association with the progress of the show. The place has been transformed to a perfectly combined restaurant and show space.

The show runs 7 times a week. There are 2 kinds of admissions; “General Admission” ($39.95/ $35.50 on Tuesdays & Wednesdays), and “VIP” ($65.50 /$60.50 on Tuesdays & Wednesdays). There is also the Kanpai Package ($500), which allows you to use a yatai-like booth for 5 to 6 people, that is situated in the center of the audience section called the Kamiza. The VIP seats and the Kanpai package come with a nice service, in which a hachimaki-headband is distributed to each customer, and an actor dressed as a Ninja serves you sake.

The dishes such as otsumami, salad, sushi and sashimi are served in the izakaya style. To make it easier for the customers to make selections, a lot of thought has been put into the menu categories and number of items by narrowing them down, and naming them easy-to-understand names. They also put thoughts on making the dishes easy to share by many people, and tried to make the food contents and tastes familiar to Americans by offering not only Japanese style cuisine such as tuna tartar, but also Korean style BBQ short ribs, fried potatoes, etc. One popular item is the “Love Boat for Two ($65)”. Its big boat full of colorfully presented sushi and sashimi is very enjoyable. As for alcoholic drinks, there are 5 kinds of Japanese sake and Sapporo brand beer. Many of the customers are still not familiar with Japanese sake. To some, it is the first time to taste sake when a Ninja pours it for them. They offer 4 Japanese fruity sake cocktails that contain mango, lychee, and cranberries for people who are not familiar with sake, and they are well received. Furthermore, when a customer wins in a game, he/she can get free sake or beer, and the MC cheers by saying “Hold your glass up, and Kanpai!”. I think that things like that may be helping customers naturally and quickly get familiarized with Japanese food culture such as sake, sushi, and sashimi.

Customers come by mostly word of mouth, and more than half of them come in groups. They often accommodate events such as corporate parties, birthdays, and bachelor parties. If a customer participates in a game, he/she receives a VIP ticket which can be used at a later date. The receiver of such a ticket would bring another group back next time…as such, customers keep increasing.
This innovative style of entertainment that is unified with Japanese food, which began in New York, has expanded to Chicago. They intend to expand to other cities all over the US. Such a day may not be too far, where you’d see people wearing headbands calling “Batsu, Batsu!” while enjoying sushi and sake, in many cities in the US.


寿司や酒を楽しみながら日本式コメディーショー

日本のお祭りのような雰囲気で、寿司や酒を楽しみながら、日本式コメディショーを楽しむ……全く新しいスタイルのエンターテインメントが注目されている。

この実に独創的な業態は、コメディーショーを運営する『Face Off Unlimited Group』と、日本食店『Wara』とのコラボレーションにより生まれたものだ。“Bastu(罰)”は英語では“Punishment”、“Wara(笑)”は“LOL”の意味。ここで展開されるショーは、日本の人気バラエティ番組『ダウンタウンのガキの使いやあらへんで!(日本テレビ)』に着想を得たもので、“戦士”と呼ばれる4人のアクターが、数々のゲームに挑戦し、負けると罰ゲームを受けさせられる。巨漢の上に盛り付けた寿司を食べさせられたり、ペイントボールを撃ち込まれたり、バレリーナの格好で踊らされたり…時には客もゲームに参加して、アクターと一緒に罰ゲームを体験する。会場は一体感に包まれ、抱腹絶倒だ。日本人アクターも活躍しており、着物やハッピ、女子高生の制服などを着て登場、日本らしさを演出する。

始まりは2010年。『Face Off Unlimited Group』は、セントマークス通りに位置する和食店『Jebon Sushi & Noodle』の地下ラウンジシアターで、週1回のコメディーショーを開始した。ショーは徐々に人気を博し、上演回数も増加。『Jebon Sushi & Noodle』は、家賃高騰や顧客層の変化などビジネス上の理由で閉店することになったが、2019年2月、同じ経営者が展開する日本食店『Wara』にて、『Batsu』が連日開催されることになったのだ。店内は劇場主体の造りへ変更、食事や酒はショーと連動して提供される。完全にレストランとショーが合体した空間として生まれ変わった。

ショーは週7回開催され、チケットは「通常席($39.95/ $35.50 on Tuesdays & Wednesdays)、「VIP席(VIP)($65.50 /$60.50 on Tuesdays & Wednesdays)」の2種類。「乾杯パッケージ($500)」では、上座と呼ばれる、客席中央に設置された5〜6人用の屋台風ブースを使用できる。「VIP席」と「乾杯パッケージ」は、はちまきをくれたり、忍者に扮したアクターが日本酒を注いでくれたりと、楽しいサービス付きだ。

食事は、おつまみ、サラダ、寿司や刺身を居酒屋スタイルで提供する。客が選びやすいように、メニューのカテゴリや数を絞り込み、分かりやすいネーミングを付けるなどの工夫を施す。また、大勢でシェアしやすいことや、米国人に馴染みやすい内容や味付けを心がけ、ツナタルタルのような和風料理から、韓国風BBQ味のショートリブや、フライドポテトなどが揃う。人気の一品は「Love Boat for Two($65)」。大きな舟盛りに色鮮やかな寿司や刺身が並び、楽しませてくれる。酒類は日本酒5種類とサッポロビールを用意。日本酒を飲み慣れない客もまだ多いが、忍者が注いでくれる酒で初体験する人もいる。マンゴーやライチ、クランベリー果汁を使った日本酒カクテルを4種類用意し、日本酒に馴染みのない客にも好評だ。また、客がゲームに参加して勝つと無料の酒やビールを獲得することもでき、司会者が「みんなでグラスを持って、乾杯!」と盛り上げてくれるので、客たちは自然に、日本酒や寿司や刺身など、日本食文化に馴染んでしまうのだろう。

集客はほぼ口コミで、客の大半が団体客。コーポレート・パーティ、誕生会やバチェラー・パーティーなどの機会に利用されることが多いという。客がゲームに参加すると、後日使えるVIPチケットを獲得できるので、その人が次に別の団体を連れてやってくる…という具合に、どんどん客が増えている。

日米の食とエンターテインメントが融合し、ニューヨークで始まったこの画期的なスタイルは、今はシカゴへも拡大。今後、全米の都市への拡大を計画している。頭にはちまきを巻き、「Bastu! Bastu!」と連呼しながら、寿司を食べ、酒を飲む姿が、全米各都市で見られる日もそう遠くないかもしれない。



『Wara』
67 First Avenue
New York, NY
Tel: 347-985-0368
http://batsulive.com/

The restaurant is open when the show is held 7 times a week
Tuesday 7pm
Wednesday 8pm
Thursday 8pm
Friday 7pm/10pm
Saturday 7pm/10pm
#alljapannews #wara #NY

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Sushi Shioo -A sushi restaurant loved by locals of the Island of Hawaii-

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Sushi Shioo -A sushi restauran... Sushi Shioo -A sushi restauran... Sushi Shioo -A sushi restauran... Sushi Shioo -A sushi restauran... Sushi Shioo -A sushi restauran...
By Keiko Fukuda

Sushi Shiono is a restaurant chain, which has 3 locations on the Island of Hawaii, and each of them is unique. Its Kona location, the first establishment, is a sushi dining place loved by the locals. Its Waikoloa location is a take-out only establishment. It is located in the Queen’s Market Place in the Waikoloa Beach Resort. It has a sushi bar, but is mainly targeted to “Grab and Go” customers. Its third Mauna Lani location, which is about a 5-minute drive north from Waikoloa, is a high-end sushi restaurant, which is very different from the casual Kona location. This place offers omakase, and specially created menu items.

Although these 3 locations are divided by each concept, “a restaurant loved by the locals”, “a take-out only restaurant”, and “a high-end restaurant”, they share the same thing, which is their extreme particularity about the ingredients by using only the fresh seafood caught in the seas near Hawaii, and seafood directly shipped from Japan. Moreover, all of their 4 chefs, who are demonstrating their excellent skills, share experiences of working in Japan.

Now, Sushi Shiono is a popular restaurant chain, which scores high on OpenTable and Yelp; however, I heard that the Kona location was first opened by the owner, who was just a gourmet eater then, as an extension of his hobby.

The owner’s name is Kanichi Shionoya, who runs a generic pharmaceutical company. I heard that Mr. Shionoya, who used to visit the Island of Hawaii to enjoy sport-fishing, thought about opening a sushi restaurant so that he could enjoy the fish he caught there. It became more convincing why he is so particular about the freshness of the ingredients, and bringing chefs from Japan, when I learned that his intention of establishing a restaurant is purely for “his own desire to eat good fish” rather than a business success in mind. This owner also runs various restaurants in Japan besides a sushi restaurant, such as oden, soba, and yakitori restaurants.

I learned from Yuka Murakami of Maruhiro Enterprises, the base operation organization of Sushi Shiono that the Kona location, which is busy with local customers now, used to be filled with Japanese tourists when it first opened in 2003. “Now, our customers consist of 70% locals, 20% tourists, and 10% Japanese who live locally.” Kawakami-san explained the reason for the change of the strategy as follows: “If we aim mainly for tourists as our customers, the number of customers will vary too drastically depending on the season.”

In fact, there are many customers who want to visit the Kona location every week, where sushi chefs rarely change. “Both their dishes and services are the best!”. “You can have genuine Japanese cuisine, not some strange Japanese-like cuisine.” “The taste of sushi made with fresh seafood is superb, and the quality of its vinegared rice is also way better than other restaurants.” “It’s a kid-friendly restaurant, which can be enjoyed by the whole family.” Those are some of the comments the regular customers give.

This is the place famous for serving “genuine Japanese food”. However, they also serve something you can and must taste only in Hawaii. “The Big Island Abalone”, a type of cultivated abalone, is known for its tender texture.

Also, Kona Kampachi is good either as sushi or sashimi. Hawaiian beef is grass-fed in Hawaii, and we serve it as tataki, or sushi.” (by Kawakami)

I had a simple question as to whether Sushi Shiono will ever expand to Oahu or the Mainland. Kawakami-san replied as follows: “I hear that often from the people who visit our Big Island location. I have actually checked out the possibility.

However, due to the fact that our President came to the Big Island to open the restaurant because he loved it here, the chance of us going out of this island in the future is very slim. I would like to keep contributing to the Big Island further into the future by serving the blessings of the island in a delicious way.” However, within the Island of Hawaii, it looks like a piece of new development is on the way. “First, by next summer, we will move the present Kona restaurant to a nearby location. We are planning to make half of the new location a sushi division, and the other half a ramen place. We will keep the lease for the present location, and instead of sushi and ramen, we will reopen it as a different type of Japanese restaurant.” They cannot reveal what type of restaurant it will be yet. I cannot help but keep my eyes on Sushi Shiono, which has settled its roots in the Island of Hawaii to continue to serve Japanese food.


ハワイ島のロコに愛される寿司店

ハワイ島にそれぞれ特色のある3軒の寿司店を出している寿司しおの。1号店であるコナ店は地元客に愛される寿司ダイニング。ワイコロア店はテイクアウトの店。ワイコロア・ビーチリゾートのクイーンズマーケットプレイス内にあり、寿司バーも付設されているが、主に「グラッブ・アンド・ゴー」の顧客がメインのターゲットだ。さらに、ワイコロアから北に車で5分ほど移動した場所にある3店舗目のマウナラニ店は、コナ店のカジュアルな雰囲気とは一線を画す高級志向の寿司店。お任せや創作料理もメニューに並ぶ。

これら3店は、「地元客に愛される店」、「テイクアウト」、「高級志向」とコンセプトを分けてはいるが、共通するのはハワイ近海で獲れた新鮮な魚と日本から直送された魚を扱い、とことん素材にこだわっているという点だ。また、日本での経験を持つ4人の寿司シェフが腕を振るう。

今や繁盛店として、オープンテーブルやYelpでも高得点を獲得している寿司しおのだが、もともとは食通のオーナーが趣味の延長線でコナ店を開けたそうだ。そのオーナーは日本でジェネリック薬品の会社を経営する塩野谷貫一(ルビ:しおのやかんいち)さん。ハワイ島を訪れてはスポーツフィッシングに興じていた塩野谷さんは、現地で釣った魚を美味しく食べたいという気持ちから、島に寿司店を開店することを思い立ったそうだ。ビジネスありきではなく、「自分が食べたい」という純粋な気持ちから店を構えたと聞けば、食材や日本から呼び寄せたシェフに対するこだわりも納得だ。同オーナーは、日本国内でも寿司店、他におでん割烹、蕎麦店、焼き鳥店も経営している。

今は地元客で賑わうコナ店だが、2003年の開店当初、その客層の多くを日本人の観光客が占めていたと教えてくれたのは、寿司しおのの経営母体、マルヒロエンタープライズの川上由香さん。「今は70%がローカルのお客様、20%が観光客、そして10%が現地在住の日本人のお客様といった構成になっています」。地元客向けに戦略を変えた理由を、川上さんは「観光客をターゲットの中心に据えた場合、季節によって来客数のアップダウンが激しくなります」と説明した。

実際、寿司シェフの顔ぶれがほとんど変わることのないコナ店を毎週のように訪れる常連は多い。「料理、サービス共に最高。風変わりな日本食もどきではなく本物の日本食が食べられる」、また「新鮮な魚を使った寿司の美味しさ。酢飯の質も他店のはるか上をいく」「家族で楽しめるキッズフレンドリーな店」といったコメントが常連からは聞かれる。

「本物の日本食」を出すことで定評のあると同店だが、ぜひ食したいハワイならではのマストなネタもある。「ビッグアイランド・アバロンという養殖アワビは柔らかい食感で有名です。また、コナ・カンパチは寿司でも刺身でもおすすめです。ハワイ牛はハワイ産のグラスフェッドビーフ。これをタタキにしたり、またお寿司でもお出ししています」(川上さん)。

オアフ島やメインランドには寿司しおのは進出しないのかという素朴な疑問が浮かぶ。川上さんの返答は次のようなものだった。「ハワイ島の当店にいらっしゃった方にそのようなお話をいただくことは多いです。実際、下見に行ったこともあります。しかし、社長がハワイ島が好きでここに店を出したということもあり、今後、ハワイ島の外に出る可能性は非常に低いと思います。今後もハワイ島の恵みを美味しく提供することで、さらにハワイ島に貢献していきたいと考えています」。ただし、ハワイ島内では新たな展開が生まれそうだ。「まず、夏頃には、今のコナ店をすぐ近くの場所に移転させます。その店舗の半分を寿司店に、残りの半分をラーメン屋さんにする計画です。今の店のリースはそのまま継続し、寿司やラーメンではなく、別の業態の日本食店を新たにオープンさせます」。それが何の店になるかはまだ秘密だそうだ。ハワイ島に根を張って、日本食を提供し続ける寿司しおのから目が離せそうにない。



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http://www.sushishiono.com

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