Tasting menus, tradition and invention

Hiro Sushi specializes in creating unique tasting menus traditionally served. The chef will feed you as his guest, according to the season, the chef’s inspiration, and your appetite. This style of eating is known in Japan as omakase.

omakase tasting menu

Omakase is a key part of traditional Japanese society. This concept is to give the host full responsibility for the guest’s menu for that evening. As a result, a host and guest build a mutually relationship based on respect and trust.

A typical tasting menu at Hiro Sushi is made up of changing seasonal appetizers, followed by traditional sushi served by the chef. Chef Hiro also creates the menu based on his inspiration, which may change in an instant. As a result, there is no fixed omakase menu, though diners can choose to emphasize raw ingredients (sushi and sashimi) or to complement sushi with cooked items.

Atmosphere

The food is formal, but the atmosphere at Hiro Sushi is casual. The background music, for example,  in the restaurant is selected by Chef Hiro, who mostly enjoys swing and jazz music. He considers female jazz vocals to be a perfect companion to the shaping of his sushi. Or perhaps he just likes the music itself?

Sushi and sashimi Q&A

Why is wasabi combined in your sushi and not on the side of your soy sauce plate?

At Hiro Sushi, you won’t find wasabi on the side of your sushi plate, because the chef adds the right amount of wasabi in each morsel of sushi, depending on the characteristics of fish. For example, clams or shellfish with a milder taste require less wasabi than others. On the contrary, more wasabi complements fattier fish like Toro (tuna belly).

Of course we know that not everybody,especially likes the strong sensation that accompany wasabi. especially children! Just notify one of our staff members, and we will gladly prepare your sushi with less wasabi, or none at all.

 Of course, we use only real wasabi, not reconstituted horse radish. 

What sets your sushi apart from others? 

In addition to the quality of ingredients, and the expertise of the chef, the secret to exquisite-tasting, traditional sushi is the balance of all these components as a whole:
– the vinegar in the seasoned rice (shari )
– the protein or vegetable component, on top or inside of sushi (neta)
– wasabi, which lies in between the shari and the neta
– soy sauce

With the perfect balance:
– the seasoned rice breaks apart smoothly (the shari is not compacted or cold)
– the protein or vegetable neta leaves a fresh flavour in your mouth
– the soy sauce brings out the flavours of the sushi
– a hint of sharp wasabi flavour clears your palette

Why does a master sushi chef clap his hands before moulding sushi?

Technically speaking, the best tasting rice is controlled by the temperature of the sushi chef’s body temperature. To make the shari, the master sushi chef keeps his hands cold and wet as possible at all times to keep the grains of shari from sticking to his hands. The cold water is meant to cool his temperature as quickly as possible while removing the fat off his hands. The master sushi chef does this often. Clapping removes the excess water on his hands to keep the sushi from being too watery.

The master sushi chef keeps a bowl of cold water and vinegar by his side, dips his fingers of his right hand in it, claps them on the palm of his left hand to even-out the water.

Why is one serving of sushi sometimes in one piece, and sometimes in two pieces?

This is a complex topic, full of tradition, and there is no single answer. Typically, nigiri sushi is moulded in one-bite size. Often, one piece would be too little, and three would be too much. Chef Hiro has many recommendations for those who order Omakase sushi. He may serve one piece or occasionally two, depending on the individual’s appetite.

When it comes to maki or rolled sushi, a half sheet of nori (seaweed) is used, which called Hoso-maki, and cut in six pieces. Many master sushi chefs over the ages believe that six is the perfect number: seven pieces for a roll makes the bite sizes too small, and five pieces are too big. However, Kanpyo-maki (dried gourd strips) is rolled with less rice than other rolls, and cut in four pieces; Futo-maki, using a whole nori sheet rolled with more rice, is cut in eight pieces.

This concept can also be applied to the way to slice sashimi. For example, when it comes to tuna, a master sushi chef cuts differently in the regular reddish parts of tuna, and in the Toro (tuna belly). Also, the freshness and firmness of fish matters when preparing sashimi. Chef Hiro selects only the best cuts for a good mouth-feel.

Contrary to common belief, rolls that contain a lot of mayonnaise and hot peppers are not actually considered “sushi” in Japanese culinary terms. This roll is called Ura-maki, and is rolled with the rice on the outside and the nori on the inside. This is the same with large rolls eaten in two bites.

Why do you serve sashimi with wasabi on the side, and sushi with pickled ginger?

Traditionally, sashimi is considered as an appetizer. You eat it with sake or beer at the very beginning of meals, typically with soy sauce, salt, or citrus, such as lemon juice. With soy sauce, it is also common to add a little wasabi, which gives off a fine spicy flavour, and also has anti-bacterial effect. Sashimi is a luxury, and is meant to taste the seasonal flavours; not to eat as a main dish. However, having sashimi with a freshly cooked bowl of rice is considered a luxury meal, and it is well-loved by many people.

What is the right way to eat sushi?

Traditionally, you eat sushi with your fingers (no chopsticks–they squeeze the rice and compact it too much).  The main non-rice ingredient of the sushi is generally dipped in soy sauce (since the rice is seasoned, you shouldn’t soak the rice in soy sauce!).

Wasabi is already combined in the sushi to balance the flavours when eating fatty fish or stronger tasting fish. In-between different kinds of sushi, chew a slice of pickled ginger to cleanse your palette. Ginger also naturally raises one’s appetite, which is one of the reasons why it is an important ingredient of sushi.