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To Enjoy Japanese Sake More Casually

To Enjoy Japanese Sake More...
By Yuji Matsumoto

Japanese sake is a drink that Americans still cannot get used to.
Majority of Japanese sake sales are from restaurants, and unfortunately sake is still not a beverage that people in their home or at home parties like to casually consume.

The reason is that, due to the real taste and drinking method not being introduced, Japanese sake 'Saki' is probably placed as a special drink that Americans consume when they visit a sushi bar. Also, when you look at any label, introduction of taste and drinking method is not explained in English in detail. Compared to wines the prices are high, and product display method in the market is hard for consumers to understand.

Well, it will be every simple but let me teach you a simple selection method of Japanese sake.

To start, it is important to decide which you want to pair the sake with. I would like you to understand that Japanese sake is an alcohol that is consumed during a meal to increase the food's flavor while eating like wine.

Beef dishes:
Junmai or Junmai-kimoto made in Kyushu, Tohoku, Kanto, Hokuriku, and Nada is recommended

Chicken dishes:
Ginjo class made in Hiroshima, Niigata, Nada, Hokuriku, and Kanto is recommended

Fish dishes:
Ginjo class, Daiginjo class made in Niigata, Hiroshima, Shikoku, and Kyoto is recommended

Certainly, depending on taste flavoring and cooking method, the sake you pair it with be different, but for the time being I think it will be fun to experience the pairing in different regions.

This month's pick-up:
Mizbasho Ginjo from Gunma prefecture.

This item is perfectly balanced in acidity, taste, and aroma. It goes well with chicken dishes to thick flavored fish dishes.










#alljapannews #japanese #sake #saki #casual #gunma #mizbasho #ginjo

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Iwate Specialties and Sake Pairing

By Kosuke Kuji

Iwate prefecture I live in is the number one largest prefecture next to Hokkaido and the area is about the same size as Shikoku. Besides the 70% of the prefecture being mountainous, it contains Sanriku Coast which is a ria coast and is famous as the Japanese fjord. Abundant with food from both the land and sea, another character of Iwate prefecture is having the rich food culture. I'm always asked how the Japanese sake goes with food overseas.

If it is Japanese food with Japanese sake, any combination goes well to an extent, but if you're looking for the best combination, some of the best can be found by pairing food materials from the local areas of the brew masters that brew regional sake.

To start, Iwate prefecture that has the Sanriku Coast is a large fish industry area. A variety of fishes and shellfishes at the coastal areas can be enjoyed. Out of all those items, "Abalone" represents Iwate prefecture.

Especially the abalone that is caught in Yoshihama of 'Sanriku, Ofunato' is dried and has been exported to China from long ago. This abalone is called "Yoshihama Dried Abalone" and is useful as the highest quality food material in China.

This Sanriku in Iwate is proud of their "Sanriku Takarazuke" which is pickled with abalone, salmon roe, smelt roe and 'mekabu' (seaweed family) etc is a specialty item that shines out of all items in Iwate. Mr. Nakamuraya of 'Kamaishi, Iwate' who also starred on the popular TV program "Ryori no tetsujin" (Iron Chiefs) is the one who makes this "Sanriku Takarazuke". This specialty item that combines the goodness of Sanriku ocean and Nanbu Bijin Daiginjyo just make the best combination and the fruity aroma of the Daiginjyo and the sea aroma and salty tang make the best match.

This Sanriku Takarazuke pairs well with sake but it is also wonderful eating it after putting it on top of just made hot rice.

It just makes me feel good to be born a Japanese knowing we have Iwate prefecture that has the best seafood, with variety of processed foods, also as raw or dried and processed and being distributed throughout Japan and to the world.









#alljapanusa #sake #pairing #iwate #japan

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Innovative store that offers new-wave yakitori in kaiseki style

Innovative store that offers ne... Innovative store that offers ne... Innovative store that offers ne... Innovative store that offers ne... Innovative store that offers ne...
By Aya Ota

Lately, people are raving about the NoMad district of Manhattan. NoMad stands for North of Madison Square Park, and it covers the area of the whole north side of Madison Square Park. The district used to be under the spotlight for being between Midtown and Downtown, but due to the recent uprising with designer hotels, sophisticated restaurants, and boutiques, the street scenes and peoples’ attitudes there are rapidly changing.

In this district, a restaurant with a new and unique concept, yakitori kaiseki, called “Teisui” opened. This is also the one and only Japanese-owned store in the district.

Mr. Masahiro Hase, Representative Director of All Frontier America Inc. which manages the store, says, “I wanted to do something that only this unique district can provide”. The store name, “Teisui”, was taken from the long-established Inn, “Teisui” in Akita prefecture in Japan operated by the same company. Another reason is the fact that New York and Akita are both situated at 40° North Latitude.

Mr. Nobuaki Watanabe, Chef de Cuisine continues, “We cannot survive the competition by doing the same thing as other yakitori shops in New York where many yakitori specialty stores exist. The concept, yakitori kaiseki, is pretty innovative already, but more surprisingly, their yakitori are prepared very differently from the traditional way which is flavored with tare and salt.

One of their dishes, “Tori-Momo Couscou” is grilled chicken thigh accompanied by couscous, mashed potato, and fried eggplant. The creamy couscous and sweet and spicy tare (yakitori sauce) matches and enhances the chicken perfectly to create a splendid harmony.

Mr. Watanabe says, “I would like to offer the kind of dishes that are not only delicious, but also have a surprising twist.” He always strives for creating dishes that would satisfy your full 5 senses.

The first item that appears in the course menu is “Hassun”, which is an image of smoking volcano, which is created by pouring Gyokuro-tea over dry ice to grab the customers’ heart quickly with its visual and fragrant effect. Each of the beautifully arranged 4 kinds of appetizers has a unique texture and kick, and keeps you discovering something new, and being impressed.

The last course item, “Ishiyaki TEISUI” is a local dish from the Tohoku’s Ojika region, created by the fishermen. This is a dynamically prepared item; in the miso soup served in a cedar container, raw seafood and green onions are thrown in, then a burning hot stone is thrown in! You enjoy watching the miso soup suddenly boil up, and the accompanying sound and the nice smell. Then, you taste the concentrated umami of the ingredients. It is just so impressive.

Chef Watanabe has an experience in working as the director/chef of a popular TV cooking show in Japan. He also used to present his excellent skills in a famous restaurant in Canada. These past experiences may have contributed to today’s success in his ingenious and creative performances.

Many customers are actually shocked about such an unusual yakitori concept at first, but by the end of the 10-course meal, they are well absorbed in the newness, and feel satisfied. Yet, some still wants traditional yakitori with salt and tare-sauce, so they also offer a a-la-carte menu to accommodate such customers.

They are also the first store focused on the style of Akita local cuisine to be different from other yakitori places. The interior has a classy and historical ambiance of the traditional Japanese Inn which is where the name of the store came from, where the Emperor of Japan once stayed. They also offer the same quality hospitality.

Once again, a new food culture has been added to New York! They are planning to offer a new course menu every season. Let’s look forward to new exciting surprises in the coming seasons!


近年注目を浴びているノマド地区。ノマドとは“North of Madison Square Park” の略称で、マディソン・スクエア・パークの北側一帯を指す。ミッドタウンとダウンタウンの間に挟まれて見逃されがちだったこの地区だが、近年、デザイナーズホテルや洒落たレストランやブティックが登場し、街並みも人々の雰囲気も急速に変貌を遂げている。

この地区に、“焼き鳥懐石” という、これまでになかった独創的なコンセプトの店、『Teisui』が登場した。日本人経営の店としてはこの地区唯一の存在でもある。


「焼き鳥を出す店が多く存在するニューヨークでは、他店と同じことをしていては生き残れない」と、料理長を務める渡辺宣考氏が続ける。“焼き鳥懐石”というアイデアも画期的だが、タレや塩を使った従来の焼き鳥とは違い、 さまざまな食材やソースと組み合わせて食べることに驚かされる。





246 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10001
(917) 388-3596

Mon.-Sat./ 5:30pm-10:30pm
#alljapannews #newyork #yakitori #teisui #nomado #district

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Japanese cuisine that can truly satisfy your expectations

Japanese cuisine that can trul... Japanese cuisine that can trul... Japanese cuisine that can trul...
By Keiko Fukuda

The name of the store is well known. Many say that you can taste authentic Japanese food when you visit “Osawa” in Pasadena”. They offer a wide variety of menu items from sushi, shabu-shabu type items, to inexpensive items such as curry rice, and sukiyaki bowls at lunch time.

“I would like the customers to feel like they are in their own kitchen. A regular customer who feels that way, and wants to come as often as every day once asked me to purchase a table just for him. No one else can sit at the table even when he is not present? I cannot allow that.

I felt honored, but had to politely decline the request”, said the owner/chef, Shigefumi Tachibe. I heard that there are over 100 people who try, but not able to get in on weekends.

Chef Tachibe with a 40-year-long career is known as an executive chef who led the West Hollywood “Chaya Brasserie” to becoming a super popular restaurant after working for the Chaya Group for 30 years. Right after the Chaya Brasserie closed in July of 2015, Chef Tachibe transferred his main focus to “Osawa” completely. “Osawa” then had been managed by his wife, Sayuri, who is also the part owner, since its opening in 2013, and now the husband and the wife together are devoting themselves passionately to managing Osawa’s operation.

I have actually interviewed Chef Tachibe in the past while he was working for Chaya. He then told me how important the food ingredients were. He was going to farmer’s markets to select the vegetables with his own eyes. Now he moved from French to Japanese cuisine, but still maintains the same principle for the importance of ingredients.

“I select fish I buy myself, too. I go to the South Pasadena farmer’s market on Thursdays, and to the La Canada one on Saturdays. It is needless to say that we use fresh, organic, and safe ingredients for our customers. I change the “Daily Special” menu depending on what I bought for the day. So, every day is a new challenge for me,” says Chef Osawa.

His basic idea for creating the menu is just simply something he wants to eat himself. His idea is not only simple, but also flexible. “You can eat anything you feel is right. If you are treating your customers, you may want to order sushi, or shabu-shabu. If you come by just for a bite, you may want to order Oyako Donburi, or a bowl of Udon. There are no rules or styles you need to follow.” He stresses on the following belief: restaurants are supposed to offer safe ingredients, delicious foods, and of course, good hospitable service. He declares that Osawa’s chefs should be able to provide the closest possible dishes to whatever you request.

Next, I asked Sayuri about the customers in Pasadena. She said, “American and other non-Japanese Asian customers as well seek authentic Japanese food. They give us a comments like they feel as if they are in Japan in our restaurant. Also many Japanese customers visit Japan even more often than us, and thankfully, they also like our food.”

Lastly, I asked the Chef about his perspective for the next few years. He said, “I will carry on the same style for a while”. The main store remains the same, but they are planning to open the second store, which will be a casual delicatessen between the end of this year and the beginning of 2017. It is wonderful news for the Osawa fans.











77 N. Raymond Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91103

Everyday open
#alljapanusa #Osawa #Japanese #cuisine #sushi #shabushabu

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Enjoy the Seasonal Items of Autumn


By Yuji Matsumoto

There are a lot of delicious foods that become available in autumn. Representing fish would certainly be sanma (pacifice saury) and katsuo (bonito).

For vegetables, it would be mushrooms and eggplant etc. Whichever item you choose goes together just right with Japanese sake. Regards to Japanese sake, there is a draft sake fermented this year called 'hiyaoroshi' that is hard to get overseas but can also be seen on the market.

Seasonal items in autumn are relatively high in fat and many dishes are well seasoned. For Japanese sake that goes well with those foods would certainly be Junmai or Kimoto. Also, many of these sakes are delicious hot which makes them suitable for different dishes.

If it is a lightly seasoned dish then a chilled Junmai would go well with it. If it is a rich dish then the flavor can be balanced with hot Junmai sake. For regional sakes, Junmais of Nada region, Hiroshima, and Hokuriku (northern area towards the Japan Sea) are full body, Junmai of Tohoku area is slightly fruity, and many in Hokkaido and Niigata are smooth and dry.

Even if you are living abroad, with the proper connections in most cities you should be able to find seasonal items of Japan and be able to cook some fine dishes. Hope you will be able to enjoy seasonable items of autumn of your choice and Japanese sake.







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“Sake Competition 2016” that was held again this year.

By Kosuke Kuji

This year making it the 5th time this competition has been held, as the title mentions, it’s “a contest to decide the best tasting sake in the world” and would you believe that there were entries from 416 breweries with 1483 sakes from head of breweries from Japan and different countries worldwide this year.

This is a very unusual contest with entries from not only Japan but from Japanese sake breweries from overseas making this the one and only world largest contest.

Entry categories are divided into 5 categories and newly established categories this year were Ginjo category and Super Premium category that were receiving the most attention. There were entries of 401 in Junmai category, 466 in Junmai Ginjo category, 359 in Junmai Daiginjo category, 180 in Ginjo category and 56 in Super Premium category, and judging with blindfolds were done by 24 preliminary judges and 37 final judges consisting of technical managers, experts, and head of breweries. From the results, gold awards were given to the top 10 and silver awards were given to the top 10% below the gold award winners.

For results, please look at the website below.

When we talk about Nanbu Bijin this year, they came in 10th place in the Junmai Daiginjyo category and we were so happy to receive a gold medal!

Award ceremony and party was held at Grand Hyatt Tokyo in Roppongi at end of July and famous head of breweries from Japan attended and for anyone in Japan that liked regional sakes would have felt it was like being in a place like heaven there.

Starting with International Wine Challenge (IWC) Japanese sake category I have written about before and a contest of scale that could never have been thought of before being held in Japan and now being held worldwide. All events are judged with blindfolds and for the regional sake competition these days, there is no doubt that you need to be consistently aware of improving the quality or you will be left behind in no time.

For that reason, head of breweries cannot stop quality improvement and there is no end to putting in efforts for quality improvement. To deliver high quality Japanese sake to the people in Japan and throughout the world, we would like to continue to firmly make diligent efforts. I feel it has become a wonderful age when the results of our efforts can be evaluated at contests in Japan and also throughout the world.


今年で5回目のこのコンテストは「世界一おいしいお酒を決めるコンテスト」という題名の通り、日本国内、世界各地の蔵元から今年はなんと416蔵、 1483点の出品がありました。国内だけではなく海外で日本酒を生産する蔵からも出品されるという、大変珍しいコンテストで、まさに世界一の規模のコンテストとなりました。



酒コンペティション2016 受賞酒





#alljapannews #sake #competition

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“Food Art”, world-famous Chefs’ plates you can experience

“Food Art”, wor... “Food Art”, wor... “Food Art”, wor...

By Elli Sekine

In the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art which re-opened this spring after a huge three-year long renovation, a unique restaurant débuted that can totally overturn the conventional image. The restaurant, “In Situ”, is like an edible museum where you can experience not only the dishes by the world’s Michelin star awarded restaurants and chefs, but also a modern interior, a collection of paintings and artistic food plates by the first-class architects, artists, and designers.

Due to the recent big article in the NY Times, this place is catching a great deal of attention from all over the U.S.

Mr. Corey Lee, the owner/chef of the Michelin 3-star restaurants, “Benu” and “Monsieur Benjamin” in San Francisco, oversees this tremendous project. He is a very talented Korean-American chef who learned how to cook in top-rated restaurants in Europe, and worked as the Chef de Cuisine for “The French Laundry” in Napa Valley, which helped him gain the top rank in the chef’s world.

The “Benu”, which he opened after becoming independent, is highly acclaimed for its cutting-edge menu using worldwide ingredients and techniques beyond the range of French-American cuisine. The worldwide restaurants and creators of all kinds of cuisines Mr. Lee has ever encountered with in his career have inspired and polished his excellent taste in his cooking skills. He is collaborating with over 80 chefs here, and the menu shows many items by the recipes of the famous chefs and places including “Noma” of Copenhagen, the pioneer of “Gastronomy”, Mr. Bottura of “Osteria” in Italy (#1 in 2016 World’s Best 50 Restaurants), Mr. Adoria of “Ticket” in Spain, which is another top ranking restaurant in the list, and Mr. Arzak of “Arzak” also in Spain. Then from the San Francisco area, Ms. Waters of “Chez Panisse”, and Mr. Keller of “French Laundry”

The menu always consists of 15 items from the world’s gastronomy list that includes “Japanese cuisine”, one of the world’s intangible cultural heritage. The number of Japanese menu items is a result of Mr. Lee being very inspired by Kyoto Kaiseki and Kappo style cooking, and the second most featured on the menu next to American dishes. The menu shows the names of the top chefs such as Mr. Nakahigashi of “Miyama-So” in Kyoto, Mr. Sasaki of “Gion Sasaki” also in Kyoto, and Mr. Yamamoto of “Ryugin” in Tokyo.

I chose the “Umami Soup” ($38) from the daily menu, which is the recipe by Chef Nakahigashi. It was served in a beautiful Japanese ceramic bowl, and looked more like a gorgeous meat udon than a bowl of soup. The menu name suggests a large umami-filled soup dish, but it’s a simple dish of very light dashi broth with Inaniwa udon and A5 wagyu slices. The beef is so thinly sliced and overpowered by the acidity of the soup, so I could not taste the true Umami of high-quality beef.

The Inaniwa udon is soft and translucent, and easy to swallow. Overall, the volume is too small to satisfy your appetite as a main dish. I also ordered “Carrot Sour Curd” (New York, $18), and “Shrimp Grits”, (Denmark, $14) as appetizers.

Both were nicely flavored, and represented the concept well. The servers were knowledgeable, and explained the menu well, but I wonder how well they and other staff really understand Japanese cuisine. The kitchen staff of about 20 work busily, but maybe merely to complete the process of each given recipe precisely.
On the drink menu, the wine list includes famous European and Californian brands, and in addition, craft beers, and both Yamahai and sparkling sake for pairing.

“In Situ” has a dreamy concept that allows you to experience worldwide famous restaurant menu, but there is a dilemma. The dish creator chef’s spirit can be carried over behind the scenes, but it is not possible to recreate and represent the dish perfectly elsewhere. I wonder how the customers perceive this “World House of Gastronomy”. I am looking forward to hearing the future reviews of this place.


今春3年かけての大改装の末、リニューアルオープンしたサンフランシスコ近代美術館内に前代未聞のレストランが登場した。世界のミシュラン星レストランや有名シェフのメニューが賞味できる「イン ストゥー」は、メニューだけではなく一流の建築士、アーティスト、デザイナー達が手がけたモダンインテリアと絵画のコレクション、プレートに至るまで芸術を統合した“食べられる美術館”だ。最近ニューヨークタイムス に大体的に取り上げられ、全米で注目を浴びている。

この壮大なプロジェクトを統監するのは、サンフランシスコのミシュラン3ツ星レストラン、「BENU」と「ムッシュ・ベンジャミン」のオーナーシェフ、コーリー・リー氏。コリアン・アメリカンのリー氏は、これまでヨーロッパの一流レストランで修行し、ナパバレーの「フレンチランドリー」の料理長(Chef de Cuisine)を経て料理会のトップに上り詰めた天才シェフ。 独立後オープンした「BENU」は、フレンチアメリカンの枠を超え、世界の食材やテクニックを取り込んだ先駆的なメニューが高く評価されている。そんな彼の料理のセンスを磨き上げてきたのが、今まで関わった世界のレストランと料理クリエーター達だ。ここで彼がコラボするシェフの数は80人を超えており、メニューには、「ガストロのミー」の先駆者、コペンハーゲンの「ノマ」、「世界ベストレストラン50」(2016)ランキング1位の「オステリア」(イタリア)のボチュラ氏、同じく上位の「チケット」(スペイン)のアドリア氏、「アーザック」のアーザック氏(スペイン)など、そして地元からは「シェ・パニーズ」のウォーターズ氏、「フレンチランドリー」のケラー氏のレシピが目を引く。


本日のメニューから中東シェフのレシピ、「Umami Soup 」($38)を頂いた。日本製の美しい陶器の椀に盛られた一品は、実際「スープ」というより、豪華な「肉うどん」だった。メニュー名から旨味とボリュームたっぷりというイメージだが、ブロスはあっさりした出汁味と稲庭うどんで具はA5和牛といったシンプルな一品。高級食材ながら肉が薄切りなのとブロスの酸味で本来のジューシーな肉の旨さは得られなかった。稲庭うどんは、透明感があり柔らかくゆであげ舌触り、喉越しも良い。しかし量は少なめなのでメインとしては物足りない。同じく注文したアペタイザーのCarot Sour Curd(ニューヨーク、 $18) やShirimp Grits (デンマーク、$14)は味付けも良くコンセプトに沿った内容だった。サーバー達はメニューを熟知し説明にも問題はないが、彼らを含め、どれだけの従業員が和食を理解しているかは不明だ。厨房で忙しそうに手を動かす訓練を受けた約 20 人の料理人 達はレシピに忠実に仕上げているのが伝わってくる。ドリンクメニュ−は、ヨーロッパ各地の有名なワインとカリフォルニアを組み合わせたワインリストに加え、クラフトビール、日本酒も山廃とスパークリングをペアリングとして揃えている。

「イン ストゥー」は、世界の有名レストランのメニューが体験できる夢のようなコンセプトなのだが、その舞台裏でシェフの精神は受け継いでも作者なき作品は完璧に仕上がるのだろうか。そして客はどのようにこの高価な美食館"を受け入れるのか、これからの評価が楽しみだ。

In Situ
151 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Lunch: Monday through Sunday. 11:00 - 16:00
Dinner: Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, 17:00 - 21:00
Tel: (415) 941-6050
#alljapannews #sanfrancisco #moma #foodart #french

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Ultimately light-battered various seasonal ingredients that change fixed image

Ultimately light-battered variou... Ultimately light-battered variou... Ultimately light-battered variou...
By Aya Ota

“I’ve never had tempura like this!” – The impressed gourmet New Yorkers rave about “Tempura Matsui”. In New York where you can have all kinds of authentic foods from all over the world, Japanese food is getting more and more specialized. However, as curious as it sounds, there had not been any tempura specialty restaurants. Not only are they the pioneers, you can also say that they changed the stereotype image of tempura. Seasonal fresh ingredients from mountains to the sea are fried and coated in an extremely light batter. Matsui’s tempura doesn’t fit the image of deep fried food. It is more like “trapped in seasonal fresh taste” with skillfully combined ingredients, batter, and oil, to create a harmony. The tempura made and served from across their counter in an efficient and flawless manner was delicate and light. You see no residual oil stain left on the paper under the tempura. It even looks artistic. It is understandable why they have achieved the legendary success of winning the “New York Times Two Stars” rank and the “Michelin One Star” shortly after the opening in July of 2015.

“Tempura Matsui” opened as the fifth store by “America Ootoya Group”. This group opened their first North American store in April of 2012 in the Chelsea District of New York. Subsequently, they opened the second one in August of 2013 in Times Square, and the third one in March of 2015 in Greenwich Village, which is pretty remarkable. Additionally, in 2014, they obtained the right to operate “Robataya NY“, which is a beginning of a new venture for them. The decision to open “Tempura Matsui” came from an incidental reencountering between the late former Chairman, Hisami Mitsumori and the loved and respected late chef, Masao Matsui, who is the legendary chef, and was the chief tempura chef of the famous long-established Japanese restaurant called “Nadaman”. After retiring from a 47-year career, he decided to challenge New York with tempura after meeting Mr. Mitsumori again, and got motivated.

“It is delightful that I can feel how impressed the customers are right there in front of me! I’d like to spread the greatness of tempura more and more,” says the Head Chef, Kiyoshi Chikano. He learned closely under the late Masao Matsui, who suddenly passed away after achieving the goal of opening this New York restaurant. He came to succeed the late Matsui only in May of this year. He insists on the traditional Japanese style without making adjustments with ingredients or the way of cooking to suit the taste of American customers. He prepares the ingredients with great care before coating them with the batter and putting them in the oil. Each ingredient requires slightly different proper timing. He says, “It is impossible to explain in words. You need to be able to feel it by experiencing it repeatedly.” No wonder some say that tempura making is harder than sushi making.

To commemorate the first anniversary, the menu has been renewed. Only one omakase course was offered before, but now the following three different courses are served: “Irodori Course with 6 items that include Tenju” ($140), “Kaiseki Course with 7 items that include your choice of Tasaki - delicately seared sashimi with ponzu dipping sauce - or Ten-Soba” ($180), and “Chef’s Special Kaiseki Course with seven premium items that include sashimi and lobster tempura” ($230). Each course is unique, and regardless of the price difference, all are very satisfying.

“The numbers of both first-time customers and repeaters are increasing,” says Tomonori Takada, the President of America Ootoya Group. Tempura and other dishes can be added to your order from the a-la-carte menu. Tempura is a simple combination of ingredients, batter, and oil, and therefore it is so important to care for the right ingredients. The core ingredients are seafood, which is sent directly by air from the contracted Tsukiji market vendors in Tokyo. The seafood ingredients are so luxurious, and even fresher than sashimi. For the Chef’s Special Kaiseki Course ($230), you have a choice of Tendon, Tencha or Ten-Soba, and the soba is made in a surprisingly particular way in-house using a stone grinder.

As the eating space, there is a private VIP room and a bar in addition to the counter and the tables. The artistic tempura dishes in a sophisticated Japanese style space are presented for your excitement and ultimate surprising pleasure!







Tempura Matsui
222 E 39th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-986-8885

Open 7 Days: 5:00pm - 10:30pm
#alljapannews #newyork #tempura #matsuri #Japanese

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Have a taste of Kyoto elegance in Beverly Hills

Have a taste of Kyoto elegance... Have a taste of Kyoto elegance...

By Keiko Fukuda

Despite the compact space with only 8 seats for the counter and 6 table seats, this restaurant in Beverly Hills called “Tempura Endo” is attracting a lot of attention. A famous Hollywood actress has chosen the place for her birthday party, and Kenta Maeda, the Dodgers’ player, is becoming a regular customer there.

Their website proudly depicts their “Kyoto style” concept. Their parent restaurant located in Yasaka in the Gion district of Kyoto opened as a tempura specialty restaurant about 30 years earlier. The building for the restaurant was renovated from a historic tea house. The place is known as a high-end restaurant that serves excellent tempura dishes using ingredients that are seasonal and locally grown vegetables and locally caught fish. Triggered by the steady increase of customers who are foreign tourists in the past few years, the project to welcome foreign customers outside of Kyoto as well by having Endo overseas has launched. As the first overseas branch, the Endo Beverly Hills location opened in January of this year.

Mr. Takuya Yamamoto, the General Manager, says, “Japanese cuisine is very popular right now in the U.S., and is getting more subdivided into specialty stores such as sushi, ramen, and so on. However, there are still very few tempura specialty restaurants. In order to find the proper location for the first store, I initially looked in Orange County where I live near Newport Beach, then West LA, but I couldn’t find any. I ended up finding this location, and made a commitment in April of 2015 because everybody knows Beverly Hills. I wanted the customers to feel as if they were in Japan while they dine, so it took 8 months before opening to create authenticity by importing Kitayama cedar for the interior, and so on.

”Such authenticity and particularity is created by the corner space where matcha is served in the traditional way, or name plates of Geiko, the Gion entertainers on the walls, etc. To add to the fastidious ambiance, the servers are wearing kimonos. So, how about the tempura itself? Is it just like Japan also? Well, it is a little bit different. He explains, “American customers prefer different things than Japanese customers. For instance, one of the most popular items here is the scallop tempura sandwiched with truffle, which is non-traditional, and even served with caviar instead of salt to satisfy their taste buds.” Another example is the beef tempura which doesn’t exist on the Kyoto menu. Since there is beef sushi in the U.S., beef tempura is very well received here as well.

The most important ingredient next to seafood and meat are Kyoto vegetables. Unlike Japanese seafood such as Kuruma-ebi shrimps and Kisu fish which can be imported by air, the vegetables can’t. So, the chef directly contacts with the local farmers to obtain Kyoto vegetables locally. It is not easy, though. Their tempura is served not with tempura sauce, but 5 different types of salt; rice, yuzu, sansho pepper, matcha, and truffle. The chef can recommend the best match to each dish.

During the interview, the phone kept ringing with reservation requests. However, there is an issue that has to be resolved. He says, “We would like the customers to take time eating, and it usually takes each group of customers two and a half hours to complete, which does not provide efficient rotation.”

They serve only the course menu of 4 different kinds between 150 and 280 dollars until 9PM. After 9 until midnight closing time, you can also order from the a-la-carte menu. The average number of customers per day is only around 10.
Mr. Yamamoto says that the goal will remain to maintain the status as Endo’s first overseas signature store. Even if there will be more Endos in the future all over the U.S. with more seating capacity, or even start serving lunch, the Beverly Hills store will remain unchanged of the premium value with the same small scale to keep providing fastidious hospitality to the customers.



同店のウェブサイトには、誇らしげに「Kyoto Style」と謳われている。京都祇園の八坂にある本店は、今から30年ほど前に、歴史のある茶屋を改装して天ぷら専門店として開業。旬の京野菜や魚介を揚げた、素材の良さで定評のある高級店だ。







これらの天ぷらをいただく時には、天つゆでなく、 圓堂 では 米塩、ゆず塩、山椒塩、抹茶塩、トリュフ塩と5種類の塩を添えている。どの塩をつけたらいいかは、素材ごとにシェフが勧めてくれる。




Tempura Endo
9777 S Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
(310) 274-2201

Everyday open
#alljapannews #kyoto #dishes #beverlyhills #tempura #endo

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Beautiful Japanese cuisine created by a young chef who won the "Rising Star" award

Beautiful Japanese cuisine crea... Beautiful Japanese cuisine crea...
By Elli Sekine

“Ju-Ni”, which opened recently in the popular NOPA district where more and more trendy restaurants and cafés are coming in, is one of those places which people are talking about for their Japanese cuisine influence, the newest trend.

They have been open only for a short time, but the restaurant is already so busy you cannot make a reservation until three months ahead. All they have as the eating space is a chef counter with 12 seats. Every 4 seats are well taken care of by one chef. The name “Ju-Ni (twelve)” derives from this concept. The owner/chef, Geoffrey Lee, recently won the title of the rising star (the rookie of the year award of the sushi chef division) by the local paper, “San Francisco Chronicle”, which gave him instant fame in the cooking scene. He is only 32 years old. It is quite an achievement that he has surpassed Japanese sushi chefs.

Mr. Lee is Chinese American. He was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area. “I want people to taste authentic Japanese food made in San Francisco,” says Mr. Lee. He became enchanted by Japanese food when he was still in school working part-time at a Japanese restaurant. At the beginning of his career, he was mainly making sushi rolls. While he was working at a high-end Japanese restaurant, “Sushi Ran”, he experienced an awakening. He learned the depth of sushi. He decided to become a high-end sushi chef, and started to re-learn and master the basics such as how to make sushi rice, and how to cut fresh fish properly. The places where he worked and learned those skills are all top 10 level sushi restaurants in the Bay area. This is his first restaurant he runs himself, and there is no Japanese staff. All the associates were born and/or raised in the U.S. Here, his creative menu where Californian food culture is reflected is receiving great reviews.

A restaurant with only 12 seats may give you an image of a very small place; however, it actually is unexpectedly spacious. The main counter is wide and deep. The interior decoration is simple and clean with hanging plants and abstract paintings. The food plates served on the counter must be the main art. The menu offers omakase style dishes and a-la-carte dishes you can order afterwards. After the salad and the appetizer, 12 different individual sushi is served. The course finishes with owan and the dessert. The Today’s salad was more Californian than Japanese prepared with fresh Californian vegetables including beets, and looked and tasted elegant. Next, bite-size oysters refresh your mouth and prepare it for the next sushi course. You can also add special menu items to the course at the same time. Today’s specials included a set of zuke maguro, seaurchin, and shirayaki ($34). Food science is used for Mr. Lee’s plates from checking the ultimate temperature of each sushi for well-balanced combination to caring for one drop of soy sauce to maximize umami in your mouth. For example, he slightly scorches, adds acidity with a few drops of lemon juice, salt, herbs, or cooks and sprinkles bonito powder on the food. He is fastidious about such details, and creates plates that are so artistic to look at. The last course item is A5 rank wagyu from Miyazaki prefecture. Despite of the small bite size, it is very satisfying and worthwhile. The general course menu, priced at $90 for these contents is relatively reasonable among other fellow SF restaurants with the tendency of increasing in price.

The vegetables are procured from the local farmers, and 90% of the fish is from Tsukiji. Also, whenever fresh local seasonal fish becomes available, they get it from there. Mr. Lee is very selective about the fish he gets including how it is caught, and the work ethic of the Fishermen. He is also carrying over the rule and spirit of Japanese cuisine – “Do not waste food ingredients!” By using up all the ingredients for 24 people every night, the sustainability of the business is realized. For the customers, it is a big point that they can always expect freshest ingredients.

For drinks, they carry 15 sake brands, wine, and beer. The premium sake Mr. Lee is particular about are imported from all over Japan, and a detailed description of each paring is offered.

Until recently, non-Japanese sushi chefs were rarely featured in the media. Now, we are definitely in a different era. As presented in the comment of Mr. Lee, “Sushi is simple, yet complicated at the same time”, non-Japanese first class sushi chefs who understand the delicate process of Japanese cuisine are beginning to arise. And tonight, four of such chefs were exhibiting the skills in front of the entertained customers at Ju-Ni’s counter.



リー氏は、生まれも育ちもサンフランシスコ、ベイエリアのチャイニーズアメリカン。「サンフランシスコメイドの本格派和食を味わっていただきたい」という彼は、学生時代に日本食レストランでアルバイトをしたのがきっかけで和食の魅力にとりつかれたという。最初はロール中心の寿司を握っていたが、ハイエンドレストラン、「Sushi Ran」に勤めた時ある” 気づき” があった。寿司の奥深さを知った彼はその後ハイエンドの寿司シェフを目指し、米の炊き方から魚の切り方を丁寧に学んでいった。修行したレストランもベイエリアでトップ10に入る寿司屋ばかりだ。今回初めての経営となる同店に日本人は一人も働いていない。全員がアメリカ育ちのシェフとスタッフによる構成だ。ここではカリフォルニアの食文化を取り込んだリー氏の独創的なメニューが高い評価を得ている。


テーブルに置かれるプレートこそが最大のアートなのだろう。メニューは、オマカセと食事のあとに注文できるアラカルトがある。サラダとアペタイザーの後、寿司一貫ずづのコースが12品続き、お椀とデザートで締めくくる。品目に出てくる[本日のサラダ」は、和食というよりカリフォルニアの新鮮な野菜にビーツが加わり、ドレッシングや仕上げもエレガントに飾られていた。次に一口サイズの絶品オイスターが口の中をリフレッシュし次の寿司コースの食欲に備えられる。並行して特別メニューも加えることもできる。今日は漬け中トロ、海水雲丹、白焼きをセット($34)などがあった。リー氏は寿司一つ一つを最高の温度、バランスが良い組み合わせを計り、1滴の醤油に至るまで口の中で旨味が十分味わえるよう食科学をも駆使したプレート作りをしている。例えば、少し炙りをかける、酸味を加える、レモンを数滴たらす、塩、薬味、調理した鰹節をパウダーのように振りかけるなど、細部までこだわり、見た目も芸術的に仕上げる。コースの最後には、宮崎産、A5の和牛の握りが盛られる。一口サイズなのだが、その脂のノリと柔らかさで、満足度の高い一品が価値観を齎せている。この内容でコース料理は$90 ~ と比較的リーズナブルだ。高騰するサンフ ランシスコのレストランの中でも価値が高い。




1335 Fulton Street
Ste 101
San Francisco, CA 94117

Mon-Thu: 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm
Thu-Sat: 5:30 pm - 11:30 pm
Closed on Sunday
#alljapannews #japanese #cuisine #sushi #juni #nopa

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