In Search of the Best Part of the Tuna

Different Parts of Tuna

If you have always enjoyed tuna sushi, then you would know which part of the fish gives you the best experience. Depending on the type of taste and texture you’re looking for, tuna has several different options. From rich otoro to meaty akami, you’ll be sure to find something you like when it comes to Japanese cuisine with tuna. The taste of raw tuna in Japanese sushi or sashimi is nothing like a cooked tuna dish. Let us look at the three different parts of the tuna fish you can try – otoro, chutoro, and akami.

Tastes and Textures

Otoro is the most desirable part from the inside of the fish’s belly. It is the fattiest part of the fish; it practically melts in your mouth. By itself, the underbelly is separated into grades recognizable according to the marbling throughout the steak. It is exceptional if you see soft pink together with vibrant white colored lines. Otoro comes with a lot of delicious oily lines, which give it that distinctive and magnificent tastiness. By far the most precious otoro is the lower belly towards the head. Its rich and highly sought-after nature makes otoro more expensive than other parts of the fish. Although sushi includes many various tuna types such as yellow tail as well as big eye, excellent quality otoro is simply obtained from only the bluefin tuna.

Akami is the most common and frequently-used part of the tuna. This part is meaty and red, found most often atop rice in sashimi or in a sushi roll. It is the leaner meat from the sides of the fish. Because this is the main part of a tuna, it is much more readily available than chutoro or otoro.

Chutoro is another part of the tuna. This is a perfect blend of otoro and akami. It combines both types of tuna, it provides both a meaty and a fatty texture for a real celebration in your mouth. However, there is not a lot of chutoro when enjoying tuna, because it makes up only a small amount of the fish. It takes a whole fish to make one chutoro sashimi.

If you find tuna served in restaurants, it is generally one of two species, the bluefin tuna, traditionally known as ‘maguro,’ which is usually fairly lean, and the yellowfin tuna, known as ‘ahi’, which is a fattier species. Yellowfin tuna may also be labeled ‘maguro‘ but more often than not, it will be bluefin tuna. Tuna sushi is further broken up into subtypes, based on the fat content. If you ask for ‘maguro’ at a restaurant, or order any kind of tuna roll or sushi without requesting ‘toro,’ you will get ‘akami’.

Enjoying Prime Tuna in Bellevue

Looking for quality tuna? Look no further than your acclaimed Japanese restaurant in Bellevue. We serve maguro and otoro sushi and sashimi, some of the best you’ll find in Bellevue.

Beef Tataki: The Art of Seared and Rare Beef

Understanding the Art of Tataki

When you hear the term “tataki” referring to Japanese food – it has two meanings. The first is that it’s a verb, from the word ‘tataku’, meaning to pound or to hammer. However, it’s not the actual meat that’s being pounded. Instead, it’s ginger, which is ground or pound into a paste. The second, which is more used today, is that it’s a piece of beef or fish that is seared on the outside but left raw on the inside.

The tataki technique was said to have originated in the historic Tosa Province. It was developed by a 19th century rebel samurai, who applied the technique of grilling meat which he learnt from the Europeans residing in the city of Nagasaki.

The preferred fish to use for tataki is the bonito or skipjack tuna. However, ahi tuna and salmon have become more popular recently. Then the fish is marinated briefly in rice vinegar and thinly sliced for serving. The traditional presentation includes garnishes of finely sliced scallions and shredded ginger, with soy sauce for dipping. However, during the cooking, once the fish is flash-grilled, many chefs will submerge it to stop its cooking process. But because immersing the fish can wash away good fat and flavor, other chefs prefer to let the fish cool by fanning it, then thinly slicing it and presenting it to the guest.

When it comes to beef, a filet mignon or a sirloin strip is favored. To prepare beef tataki, firstly the sirloin steak is deboned. The combination of chopped scallions, ginger, lemon juice and soy sauce is drizzled over sticks of carrot, radish and sliced onion placed in a small bowl. Steak that was pre-seasoned with salt and some pepper is braised on both sides to obtain a medium-rare beef. After cooling slightly it is cut into thin slices and served with the prepared vegetables flavored with the sauce.

The art of tataki is achieved by quickly searing the meat over a grill that has high heat, giving crispiness to the skin but leaving the middle rare. When done correctly, the outside of the beef will be brown (while the fish should be white), and will have a pink or red middle.

Experiencing Tataki Art in Bellevue

To experience the art of tataki, try Flo’s New York Steak Tataki. It’s seared Omaha New York steak with shaved red onions, garlic chips, kaiware, wasabi crème fraiche and ponzu.

Right and a Wrong Way to Eat Sushi

Things You Can and Cannot Do With Sushi

According to a top sushi chef in New York, eating sushi the proper way may present some problems to those who are unaccustomed to the delicacy. In fact, even die-hard sushi lovers may be doing it all wrong. Top chef gives some helpful tips to enjoying the famous dish anywhere you find it in the world.

If it’s easier for you, eat sushi with the fingers. Sounds uncouth but picking up the sushi with your bare hands – in an upscale sushi restaurant no less – is totally acceptable. Chopsticks are also permissible, whether it’s rolls, nigiri or sashimi. The benefit of using your hands is that a better grip of the sushi is more plausible; you can have more control when you dip your sushi into your soy sauce.

Nigiri, sushi with usually a thin slice of raw fish on top of rice, is eaten with chopsticks. And the best manner is to first turn the nigiri on its side, and then pick it up so that one chopstick is holding the fish side and the other is holding the rice side. This way the nigiri will stay in one piece and the rice won’t fall apart.

There’s etiquette of using soy sauce. You don’t ruin the balance of flavors by over dipping. Chefs try to give you the perfect balance to enhance the flavors of the fish and the texture of the rice. So don’t douse your sushi in soy sauce. You have to trust the chef.

If you have to add soy sauce to your sushi roll, do so by gently touching the nori or seaweed on your roll to the sauce. Sometimes, people dip the rice part of the roll into the soy sauce and that can result in saturating the roll with soy sauce. So remember to dip the seaweed part of your sushi into the soy sauce, not the rice.

Usually, nigiri is served brushed with some sort of sauce. You mustn’t be adding any additional soy sauce to the nigiri served by your chef. Did you know there’s a reason chefs put sauce on your sushi, and adding soy sauce to it can detract from the flavor they were hoping you would experience.

You can mix a small portion of wasabi into your soy sauce, if in case you can only tolerate wasabi in small doses. However, if you’re eating sashimi you can put a bit of wasabi directly onto the fish.

Finally, use ginger as a palate cleanser. Chefs put ginger on the side of your sushi plate and it’s not for decoration. It serves as a palate cleanser when eaten in between different kinds of sushi rolls.

Sushi Restaurant in Bellevue

Want to know more how you can enjoy sushi best? Then let our chef at Flo tell you. Just drop by your favorite Japanese restaurant and enjoy one of the best sushi selections in Bellevue.

The Top Fish Choices That Make The Best Nigiri

Best Raw Fish For Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri sushi literally means “hand-pressed sushi.” Nigiri sushi is the small rectangular ball of rice topped with a slice of fish (sashimi). You may not be a sushi chef or expert, but there are many passionate sushi consumers who can tell the best raw fish for the best of sushi to experience and enjoy. And when you say raw fish on sushi, you mean nigiri sushi. So what are the most popular fish choices for sushi?

Bluefin tuna is at the top of the list as one of the most prized fish in Japan for its heavenly rich flavor. Most of the tuna at sushi restaurants will be hon-maguro or bluefin. However, its popularity has led to over- fishing, and the bluefin tuna species is now classified as endangered.

Japanese amberjack, also known as yellowtail, is beloved for its high fat content. It packs a unique combination of flavors due to its fat marbling. The spicy, salty, and rich yellowtail is a sushi aficionado’s guilty pleasure.

Salmon or shake is a sushi favorite and can be found in almost every sushi restaurant, both in Japan and the United States. In addition to its tasteful freshness, the salmon’s distinctive peachy color adds to its overall visual appeal. Added to that is its health-giving omega-3 fatty acids.

Mackerel is another fish packed with omega-3’s. Mackerel has a potent fishy flavor more appealing to the Japanese than to Westerners. It’s a versatile fish, four different types of mackerel are prepared and served – one of them being saba, which is cured for hours with vinegar and salt.

Squid or ika intimidates many if prepared as sushi, though as fried calamari has more fans. The squid is quite underrated, but its texture and delectable umami flavor classify it as one of the best fish for sushi.

Eel or unagi is a relatively popular fish among sushi chefs. Chefs often roast the unagi over charcoal and serve the freshwater eel brushed with a sweet soy sauce made from the simmered bones and heads of the fish. Unagi is full of vitamin B and fatty flavor.

Uni is the sea urchin’s gonads, a combination of the briny ocean taste and creamy texture which is definitely not for everyone. But sushi chefs don’t count it out. Its edible golden ovaries have a buttery texture that produces a desirable melt-in-your-mouth effect. It’s a non-fishy sushi.

We’ve Got Them All in Bellevue

At FLO, our Japanese restaurant in Bellevue, we offer some of the best fish choices for nigiri and more. Better come by and try your hand and taste buds on some of the freshest and tastiest nigiri sushi.

The Healthiest Seafood of All

Not All Seafoods Are Created Equal

It’s common knowledge that seafood pack a lot of health benefits. We know that omega-3 fatty acids found in fish contributes positively to heart health. Studies have shown that eating seafood also supports brain function. It’s also a storehouse of valuable nutrients, as vitamins and minerals. Many seafood have a relatively high protein to calorie ratio, like as high as 7 grams per ounce.

Although many people are aware of the health benefits of different types of seafood, not everyone knows which is best for their diet. Here are some seafood choices to fit a wide range of types and price points that can fit every palate, budget and diet.

Salmon is a fatty fish rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, a good source of vitamin D for healthy bones, and which is not easy to find in many foods. The daily recommended value of vitamin D is 400 IU for adults and children ages 4 and older. Canned salmon with bones is an excellent source of calcium. Canned salmon is actually cooked in the can, so any liquid in the final product comes from the natural juices of the flesh when the salmon is cooked.

Tuna is also heart-healthy, containing omega-3 fatty acids, and niacin which helps lower cholesterol levels. Fresh yellowfin tuna contains almost 16 mg of niacin per a 3-oz serving. The same amount of canned tuna has an impressive 11 mg of niacin, an inexpensive way to stock up on lean protein. Mashed avocado is a healthier alternative to mayo as a compliment to tuna and other fish.

Medium-sized or jumbo shrimp brings in big benefits – 20 grams of protein from just 3 ounces of shrimp Besides protein, a serving of shrimp provides all of daily selenium needs, which helps support thyroid function, heart health, boost immunity and fight inflammation.

Cod is a mild-flavored fish with white flesh that can hold up to many different types of preparations without falling apart. It’s one of the leanest sources of protein. Cod is an excellent source of vitamin B12, with one serving containing a little more than 30% of the recommended daily value.

From sardines’ bones, there’s about 40% of recommended daily value of calcium per serving. Sardines are an excellent choice for many types of diets, especially those that can’t tolerate dairy. Sardines are also an excellent source of vitamin B12, selenium and phosphorus. Sardines are delicious right out of the can, served on top of a salad or mashed on top of a crusty piece of whole grain bread with a thick slice of tomato.

Scallops are a great source of magnesium and potassium, both important for heart and brain health. They also promote blood vessel dilation for better circulation, hence helping control blood pressure. A 3-oz portion of scallops is only 75 calories, 15 grams of protein and less than a gram of fat. They don’t take very long to cook and can easily be prepared. Only a touch of salt, pepper and avocado oil in a hot skillet can bring out the naturally sweet, buttery taste of seared scallops.

Oysters can boost iron intake. Oysters are very rich in iron, providing about 60% of daily needs in just one serving. There’s also vitamin C, vitamin E and plenty of zinc in oysters. There’s not much cooking when it comes to eating oysters. Slurping them down raw is best along with the addition of tangy sauces like mignonette or just a squeeze of lemon juice.

Clams provide a significant amount of vitamin B12 in just 3 oz of serving. Clams also provide iron and vitamin C, which all work together as vitamin C helps enhance the absorption of iron.

So which of the above is the healthiest of them all?

It depends on what nutrition you need. Each class of seafood presents its own blend of nutrients or the right combination can create a balance just for you. A word with your nutritionist and/or your doctor should be a lot of help. Next time you go to your grocer’s, ask about it.

Dining Out Healthy Japanese in Bellevue

Once you know, a Japanese dine-out might be able to help. At FLO, Japanese restaurant in Bellevue, we have a healthy combination of most of the best sources of nutrients for your diet. Enjoy our fresh seafood prepared in authentic Japanese style. Come by when you’re in Bellevue!