Friday, October 26, 2007

high-end sashimi, and ramen

October 24

I popped my head into Megu in Midtown to sample a new tuna they’re serving. Kindai bluefin is named after Kinki University in Osaka, or Kinki Daigaku in Japanese. Kindai is a common nickname for the place. They have spent something like 37 years developing farming methods for bluefin, which unlike many other farm-raised fish must constantly keep moving, which means the areas in which they're raised have to be quite large.
Kindai start out in a facility on the island of Kyushu, but after a few months are moved to the warmer waters off of Okinawa. They are fed food that is closely monitored by the university, which says the fish are sustainable and even organic.
So I sampled akami, chu-toro and o-toro cuts of tuna both from Kindai and from wild Boston bluefin while making small talk with Megu midtown general manager Koichi Yokoyama.
Inevitably we spoke about Japanese food, and where to get it in New York. We shared observations of the ramen at a couple of wildly popular ramen places in the East Village. I'd only been to one of them. Koichi first spoke of the newer of the two and damned it with faint praise. "For me it’s okay,” he said, which from a Japanese person translates as “it’s barely edible.” I had only been at the older one, and we agreed that the broth of the ramen there was bland, and that the expensive pork used with it was not helpful.
He suggested I check out Minca in the East Village and Rokumeisha in the West Village for ramen. For soba: Soba Koh.
I decided that this evening was as good as any to have East Village ramen, so after sampling my sashimi, I high-tailed it to Minca, where I had their Minca ramen.

Here now is a picture of the Kindai at Megu. The akami, the cheapest cut, is in the front, garnished with a sprig of kinome, which is the plant of the sancho pepper. Then above that is some wakame seaweed. The chu-toro is on the right, garnished with hojiso, which are flowers of the shiso plant. To the left of that is o-toro, with a shiso leaf in the background and resting on shredded daikon. That's daikon on the far left, too


JB said...

No comments on the ramen. Isn't that faint praise.

Bret Thorn said...

Yeah, I don’t comment on the food I eat. That’s sort of my shtick