When I heard that one of Jiro Ono’s apprentice had his own shop in Seattle, I immediately made a priority to visit it. Only about five months after my Japan trip, I was already missing those ultra fresh pieces of fish unavailable anywhere in Vancouver. Shiro’s was pretty darn close.
Besides being mentored by Jiro Ono, master sushi chef Shiro Kashiba also sources his sea products from his “secret suppliers”, ensuring consistency in both skill and ingredients. There were no California or house special rolls here. Traditional, carefully moulded nigiri that had resulted from years of rigorous training was what a true connoisseur would expect to order in this shop.
Upon arriving, I sat at the bar and got some California Rolls and BC rolls. Just joking, that stuff could get me thrown out and they would laugh at you behind your back. Omakase was the only way to go.
As expected in any civilized sushi shop, the sushi rice was served slightly warm and vinegar lightly applied, as to accentuate whatever fish that was resting on top. The sea ingredients was very fresh and not even slightly hard frozen to maximize the fishes’ flavors. It was without a doubt, noticeably better than most sushi restaurants I’ve been to in Vancouver, but not quite Japan level yet. But it was pretty close.
Note: This post will mostly contain pictures.
Shiro Maguro (Albacore Tuna)
Sake (Salmon) – It was lightly seasoned with a pinch of lemon juice and wasabi.
Toro, Chutoro, Akami (Fatty Tuna, Medium Fat Tuna, Lean Tuna) – The staple trio of any proper sushi shop, this was a progression of the subtle changes in texture and flavor. The Toro is always a favorite, the Kobe beef of the sea, it just melted in my mouth. The Akami once again reminded me that tuna was not bland and flavorless (unlike those All You Can Eat places), it was tender yet still possessed a nice chew.
Hamachi (Yellowtail) – Always one of my favorite.
Ebi (Shrimp) – I appreciate the shrimp was served at room temperature, as oppose to cold and dry so it tasted like rubber. At that sweet spot temperature, I could taste the freshness of the moist shrimp with the almost melt in your mouth texture.
Fried Prawn Head – This was too crunchy for my taste. I had to take smaller bites so I don’t risk injuring my mouth or choke. I also could not taste the innards, most of what I tasted was the batter. I hate to compare but the one I had at Rakutei was better.
Hotategai, Mirugai (Scallop and Geoduck) – No expense was spared in showcasing the quality of the day’s catch. Here a large piece of scallop was moulded into the nigiri, because as we know, chopped scallops cones are for the lowly peasants.
I forgot what this was…
Herring Roe and Herring
Uni (Sea Urchin) – I’ve never seen Uni being served nigiri style, most of the ones that I saw or had were gunkanmaki style (kind of like a roll standing upright with the ingredients on top). The generous piece of Uni was pure foodgasmic. No iodine or chemical smell or taste here, it was fresh and tasted like the ocean. Absolutely mind blowing.
Tako (Octopus) – Not sure if he massaged the octopus for 30 minutes or 45…
Tarabagani (King Crab)
BBQ Octopus, Ika (Squid) – I liked the smoky flavor coming from the octopus that just came off the grill. The Ika was unbelievable tender and had a mushy texture, unlike other places where it tasted like a piece of plastic.
Anago, Unagi (Sea Eel, Fresh Water Eel) – I always thought these were the same thing but turned out Anago is from salt water and Unagi is from fresh water. They were sweet and almost melt in your mouth tender. Both were still warm when it was served.
Tamago – How could I leave without having Daisuke Nakazawa’s famous Tamago? If you recall, Nakazawa was the apprentice in Jiro Dreams of Sushi that spent months perfecting the Tamago and cried for joy given Jiro-san’s approval. I did not see him working during my visit though. It was carefully split in half, had a sweet flavor, and a dense, fluffy texture.
By the time I was finished, I was the last one in my original seating to leave. (Achievement Unlocked: Last Man Standing +100 PTS)
Sitting at the bar and interacting with the chef (although mine had a heavy accent and I could barely understand him) is a must, although a line up is to be expected. While this was no Sukiyabashi Jiro, the quality of the sushi was as close to Japan as it can get. If you want those mutant rolls with mustard or mango (a desperate sign for covering up a lazy chef’s lack of skill), go back to those Chinese owned “sushi shops” in Vancouver!
Note: As of this writing, Daisuke Nakazawa has moved to New York and opened up his own sushi shop, Sushi Nakazawa.