When we first arrived, I thought, why, why, why do we not come here more often? The place is beautiful, the service is great, the chef is super friendly AND accommodating, so why not? It’s not until I sit down to review my copious notes, to do the full write up, do I recognize why…
- Cost: My last write up on Kosaksa was for our visit back in October of 2016, when Chef Yoshihiko Kousaka reigned with a $120, 20 piece omakase, yes the average of only $6 per piece. Tonight’s omakase with Chef Yoshihiko Kousaka was $155 for 14-15 piece omakase, (one piece is TAMAGO which doesn’t count), coming to $11 per piece. Steep increase for two years, don’t you think? But this isn’t the reason. I don’t think $11 per piece is too high. Onto the other categories…
- Variety: Went from 18 distinctly different kinds of fish to now 16… ohhh, sliding down…
- Freshness and Preparation: I separate these out in my detailed evaluation because they really, truly are/can be different.
- Freshness: Some fishes aren’t touched, great example is UNI. Nothing happens to it. Chef gets it, then tops it with a little soy and wasabi, and voila!
- Preparation: A beautiful cut of fish, but then have it be cut wrong, topped with something that’s mismatched, overwhelming, or just plain bad, and that would be poor preparation.
- Freshness and Preparation: And then there’s the in-between. Fishes are often “aged” or us Americans call it “marinated”.
- Tonight, we have examples of two of the three.
- Preparation – 2 examples (look below for photos):
- CHU and OTORO – both very flavorful and buttery, but very chewy/veiny, meaning poor cutting
- IKURA – BEAUTIFUL, plump, crisp, un-crushed pearls. But BLAND – that’s all preparation
- BONITO – Consumed in two bites, one with and one without the topping. Overall, first bit (no topping) really good cut, second bite (with topping) all you taste is garlic-ponzu-daikon. Meaning, completely overpowering topping (garlic-ponzu-daikon)
- Freshness and Preparation – 3 examples (look below for photos):
- MADAI KOBUJIME – marinated in KOMBU (which I usually love), but tonight, fish was dull. All you taste is seaweed, and not in a good way. Bad
- SHINKO – Vinegar central! All you taste is SHINKO, I could have been served canned tuna fish for all that mattered, would not have known. So was this fish not fresh? Or just aged improperly?
- HOTATE – YUZU central! Taste nothing other than YUZU. Missed the bite without the YUZU, so could not tell you whether the fish alone was fine…
- Preparation – 2 examples (look below for photos):
I know I tend to focus on the negatives, but I do want to remind that there were some really spectacular pieces, like the King Salmon (when I so rarely like Salmons), the great quality UNI, and he super respectable BOTAN EBI. It’ll be a little while till we revisit again but it’s a “long-term” contender… There are some that I really can’t even bring myself to return to, like SUSHI OF GARI or SUSHI SEKI…
Our Omakase Tonight:
- Amuse-bouche – Sesame Tofu – Our last amuse-bouche was a BAD deep fried smelt (coming from someone that LOVES smelt). Tonight, better, but still not good… Sesame tofu served swimming in a light daishi gelee. Overall, flavors were good, but a bit bland… Needs salt…
- SHIMA AJI (Striped Jack) – This was a really nice SHIMA AJI. Really nice oils, density, crunch to the bite, very good, bordering great!
- King Salmon – I am usually not a fan of salmons, but this one… this one was worth one of my pieces. Served with the skin nicely ABURIed, and topped with a lightly smoked soy was wonderfully fatty, super buttery, very, very good. Good job Yoshi-san!
- MADAI KOBUJIME (Seabream) – Uh oh… not good… Usually, I love KOBUJIME style (marinated in KOMBU) whites. This particular serving was topped with soy and HIJIKI seaweed. Not sure what all went wrong, but this was a dull, dull MADAI, not good.
- SUZUKI (Seabass) – Better, but still not good. Problem with the fish itself. SUZUKIs should melt in my mouth, this didn’t. I don’t quite know the right adjective, it wasn’t dense, wasn’t chewy, it was tough, like hard. No bueno.
- SHINKO (Baby Gizzard shad) – Ohhhh, this one was downright bad. I liked that I was served a SHINKO (a baby KOHADA), but it really wouldn’t have mattered what the fish was, ALL I taste is vinegar. NO GOOD!
- CHUTORO (Medium Fatty Tuna) – Yoshi-san shared that this was from Boston. Why do chefs always shware where the TORO comes from? It’s not like UNIs, where if chef says HOKKAIDO or Santa Barbara or Main, or Chile, you would know exactly what to expect… Or am I just not knowledgeable enough on TOROs, such that everyone else can tell, but I can’t? Anyway, great flavors, perfect level of fatness for a CHUTORO, but a bit chewy (veiny)…
- OTORO (Super Fatty Tuna) – Same deal as the CHU, this was another greatly flavored, and super buttery, but big veins, super chew.
- YARI IKA (Squid) – Check out the knife work!!! This was one of the most tender YARI IKAs I’ve ever had! What’s odd was, given all the scoring, you would expect the soy to nicely seep in, yet, it was still on the bland side. So odd… Still very good though.
- HIRAMASA (Yellowtail Amberjack) – Not a huge fan of the fish, but lovely cut of it!
- UNI from Hokkaido – Yoshi-san only had one UNI serving tonight, which would have been disappointing, BUT if that one UNI serving is a solid one, a super rich, nutty, and sweet HOKKAIDO UNI, then I’m good!
- IKURA (Salmon Roe) – Check out the beautifully round, non crushed, and perfectly crunchy pearls! Too bad it just wasn’t flavorful. So sad, still good, but what a waste…
- BOTAN EBI (Spotted sweet shrimp) – Not to compare, but that’s what life is right? Comparing, what’s better, what’s less so, who’s number one, right? They didn’t fry our head, so that was disappointing. But this was perfectly good BOTAN EBI, super sweet, nice crunch, and wonderfully gummy on the bite. Very very happy. Now the comparison… Our recent trip to SUSHI NAKAZAWA, bitter UNI and two UNIs, but BOTH bad, practically skunked!
- HOTATE (Scallop) – Usually when there’s a topping, I take two bites, one with and one without the topping. Today, I made the mistake of consuming this serving in just one bite. YUZU, all I taste is YUZU. So overpowering!
- TORO TAKUAN Handroll – Perfect ratio of TORO and TAKUAN. Would have made for a great final serving!
- TAMAGO (Egg custard) – I have nothing to say, sorry – no photo!
- AJI (Japanese Jack Mackerel) – Common/widely available, but super good!
- KATSUO (Bonito) – Yoshi-san is now going to be Mr. Overpowering Toppings – san. The garlic ponzu daikon was so in-your-face! Still good, but definitely distracted from the fish.
- ISAKI (Grunt) – The topping was a YUZU paste, not a YUZU pepper paste, so it DOES make sense. Very good.
- Foie Gras – I don’t know why I ordered this again. I was disappointed with it last time, and this time, no difference. The thinly sliced radish on top was just weird, it’s sour! The foie gras was fine, but nothing special at all. Foie gras wise, I think it’s just better the traditional way, with a sweet something topping, and toast. I don’t know that it’s great as a sushi… That said, I LOVE the foie gras pate sushi at SENYA though. Odd that such a tiny and common sushi-ya can make such a lovely serving, but the big fancy sushi-yas have a lesser version. 😊
Dessert (included in Omakase):
- Dessert – The puff on the bottom is something like meringue-ish, nice cruch-ish shell, and almost air on the inside. The strawberries were good, and the strawberry sauce even better. A not so sweet dessert, but ok…