Sushi--where does your fish come from?

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BT
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2006/03/26 19:09:43 (permalink)

Sushi--where does your fish come from?

According to the Wall Street Journal, it turns out there are a limited number of sources for sushi-quality fish and many sushi places, regardless of price, use the the same ones. Here's a brief bit of the article:
quote:
At Tama Sushi on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City, Calif., chef Katsu Michite serves raw fish that some consider among the best in town. It's $12 for two small pieces of bluefin tuna. Just down the road is Todai, a big sushi chain where $14 buys a full lunchtime buffet, including all the fish you can eat.

Despite the big price gap, the two restaurants have something in common: They get much of their fish from the same supplier . . . .

It turns out just a few suppliers stock most of the sushi restaurants in any given city. One of the more popular cuts, yellowtail, almost always traces its origins to the same fish farms in Japan regardless of price. "Yellowtail is yellowtail," says Choi Pak, a wholesaler who supplies Tama Sushi and Todai.

Even in the same restaurant, quality can vary. Spicy tuna rolls, another staple, are often a way to disguise less-than-top-quality tuna. Other servings of tuna, whether on a bed of rice or as sashimi, may not be as fresh as they look; its rich red color may indicate it was caught days ago -- or that it was "gassed" to give it a rosy glow. And even fish described as fresh may well have been in the freezer for a while, which the Food and Drug Administration recommends to kill parasites.

Restaurateurs and distributors say the quality of fish varies -- and prices reflect that. When a bluefin loin arrives at a wholesaler, for instance, it is examined and priced based largely on its color and fat content. This process is inherently more subjective than, say, pricing beef, which has already been given a grade by inspectors from the Department of Agriculture.

To some extent, sushi restaurants put their faith in their suppliers, trusting that higher prices correspond to higher quality. A small number of high-end places with agents who buy for them at markets in Japan rely on the judgment of their buyers. Some chefs, like Mr. Michite of Tama Sushi, go to their fishmongers every morning and pick out the fish they want. "Experience decides everything," says Mr. Michite. "I've been doing this for 45 years." At Todai, a spokesman says the company orders by fax and sends back fish deemed inadequate. He adds that Todai benefits pricewise by ordering in volume.


In other words, chain haters, sushi chains, at least, may be offering you a bargain.
#1

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    Kayleigh
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    RE: Sushi--where does your fish come from? 2006/03/26 19:16:56 (permalink)
    That article is a real head turner. For quality I think it comes back to the old rule. Go where fish is moved the fastest. I almost went to Todai in San Diego but I don't like all you can eat places. As I have trouble stopping and then the meal is ruined for me.
    #2
    Poverty Pete
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    RE: Sushi--where does your fish come from? 2006/03/26 23:15:19 (permalink)
    I went to Todai in San Diego over the Christmas holidays. It was good, but I prefer the place on the other side of I-8. (can't recall the name)
    #3
    Kayleigh
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    RE: Sushi--where does your fish come from? 2006/03/26 23:19:58 (permalink)
    That would be Joe's Crab Shack. Just kidding. Now you have me trying to think what you are talking about since Mission Valley has very, very few none chains
    #4
    Niagara
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    RE: Sushi--where does your fish come from? 2006/03/27 09:49:29 (permalink)
    Here in Kansas, we tend not to think much about where the fish came from. It's better that way.
    #5
    Poverty Pete
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    RE: Sushi--where does your fish come from? 2006/03/27 22:02:47 (permalink)
    It's a small chain, perhaps 12-15 around California. It's in Mission Valley Center, and there's another at North County Faire.
    #6
    Kayleigh
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    RE: Sushi--where does your fish come from? 2006/03/27 22:21:37 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Poverty Pete

    It's a small chain, perhaps 12-15 around California. It's in Mission Valley Center, and there's another at North County Faire.

    ...That would be "O-Nami" I've never went in. Maybe next time.
    And I think there are only six locations,that's not too corporate.
    #7
    EdSails
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    RE: Sushi--where does your fish come from? 2006/03/28 02:31:16 (permalink)
    O-Nami is much better than Todai----fish is fresher, more variety and more cooked things (including stuffed lobster and prawns at Dinner). I highly recommend O-Nami.
    #8
    V960
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    RE: Sushi--where does your fish come from? 2006/03/30 10:24:16 (permalink)
    I worked for a very large Japanese company for twelve years. Thirty eight trips to Japan in that time(even day tripped it once).

    Americans will accept sushi that is crap. Cream cheese, hot sauce, and deep fat frying are only a few of the horrors visited upon a noble food by us.

    There was a place in Kyoto that would kill the fish you ordered in front of you when you ordered sushi. Tthe pieces were huge...six to eight inches long... and still twitching. New concepts in fresh.

    #9
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