Food always tastes better when the chef adds a little love. Of course, that is why every Culinista-prepared meal is so irresistible. Love is also why the cookie platter at Little Giant is so tantalizing—the special addition is promptly listed as an ingredient on the menu.
So, when I dined at the sushi bar at Takahachi with a veteran Takahachi diner, I was wooed by the delicious cuts of fish, the creative sushi rolls, and the incredible amount of love that the regulars receive.
My friend walked me through the menu, pointing out her favorite appetizers and maki rolls. She explained that her favorite sushi chef would make us each a small omakase platter of sushi, but that it’d be best if we supplemented with a few extra treats.
Before we had a chance to place our order though, the chef had molded a tartar of whitefish into a heart. He topped it with red tobiko and served it with little tasting spoons. He explained that this was a traditional opening salvo to a sushi dinner; of course, the heart shape with his small touch.
I liked the sound of the Hamachi Tartar, which was a blend of chopped yellowtail and sea urchin and Tabasco aioli. The dish came wrapped in a banana leaf and was served with a dollop of black caviar.
Next came our sushi platters, which were each different, based on our preferences. Because I like ikura, the Japanese salmon roe, the sushi chef presented me with a small dish of house-marinated roe over rice. He explained that the traditional way of serving it—as nigiri—would be too difficult (too big and burdensome) for me to eat so he gave it to me this way instead. It’s true! I have eaten many an ikura nigiri, and they are always much too large for me to eat in any lady-like way.
Our sushi rolls were fantastic as well. A salmon and avocado roll was chock full of ample portions of fish. The ninja was a beautiful roll of tuna, Chinese yam, burdock, and yuzu wrapped in slightly pickled nori.
Wages of fear only came with two pieces, but they were heavenly. Giant clams peaked out the top of the upright pieces and kaiware, smelt roe, and spicy sauce hid inside. The chef gave us an extra bowl of the spicy sauce because we loved it so much. I couldn’t help but wonder if he’d added love.