Fish Sticks – the Japanese Way

And the obsession with aburi 炙り foods continues… Aburi, is sear, grill, torch, etc., and this is from one of my favorite places that specializes in fish and seafood. This little two story restaurant is a neighborhood favorite and secret. It is a homey place, with a handsome chef / owner and his lovely wife runs the front of the house. Aside from the owner, there are two younger cooks. One who mans the grilling, the other is the sous.

Everything here is delicious. I can keep eating the fish grilled on the sticks. Each fish is individually seasoned with salt and pepper. Or olive oil. A touch of soy sauce. Perhaps miso. Sometimes yuzu koshō (yuzu is a citrus, koshō is pepper, yuzu koshō is a Japanese hot paste, like harissa if you are familiar with Middle Eastern spices). Every skewer is flavored differently to complement the unique flavors of each fish.

There is sashimi of course ↓

This particular sashimi was omakase (chef’s choice) for three (we were dining with three people). There is snapper, black snapper, iwashi (sardine), katsuo (fresh),  octopus and aji (mackerel).

They have wonderful starters from salads to tofu, traditional Japanese bites that go well with sake and shochū. They even have fried foods like gyoza and chijimi — what we call Korean pancakes pajeon in Japanese — korokke croquettes and the likes.

I prefer to stick with the fish, though, as they do fish so well. I mainly only bring friends who are not fussy eaters, as someone may be a bit frightened by sights like these ↓

That fish is amadai by the way which was the special on that particular day.  Amadai or tile fish in English, is a marvelous fish used in kaiseki Japanese haute cuisine specifically, Kyō ryōri Kyoto cuisine. Sidenote: amadai usually make appearances towards the end of fall, beginning of winter following ayu season, so I was a bit taken aback it was on the menu. As you can tell from the first photo, amadai is unique, in which when cooked, the scales stand up (as do the fins when they are supremely fresh). The scales are to to be eaten with this lean, white fish. Light in taste and texture, they gently pop in your mouth and delightful with the grilled fish’s meat.

When I visit this place, I am selfish. I prefer to eat without holding back or paying mind to other people’s preferences. And because an experience with amadai might be a bit scary for those unfamiliar, I do not bring many visitors here.

If you are adventurous both with dining and experiences (there is no English menu and the chefs barely speak English — though the owner spent time in California so he can communicate some), this place is highly recommended.

Reservations are not required but suggested.
Also, they have a mannequin that sits outside of the restaurant when there are seats available. So cute.

This place is like a home for me. It’s very warm and welcoming. The staff is very very kind to me and there is a sense of old school community I love so much about Japan. There are many people who dine here alone as well.

Sakanaya Kīmon
Drop this into Google Maps↓
東京都渋谷区恵比寿1-26-15
Open daily 5 pm – 12:30 am.
Last order is at 11:30 pm
Phone: +81 03 5420-1232
No website

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