The Black Cod

Black Cod: The Succulent Non-Cod Fish

Many fish are called cods and there are many cods in the market sharing similar traits – firm, white, meaty flesh. A few of the most common are Atlantic Cod, a favorite for fish and chips; Lingcod, a favorite for recreational fishing by anglers on the West Coast; Pacific Cod, the second most abundant white fish in the world; Alaskan Pollock, the oilier and stronger-tasting most abundant white fish in the world, used in fish sticks and fast-food fish sandwiches; then there’s the Black Cod.

Black Cod or Sablefish is often called ‘butterfish’ due to its intensely rich, buttery flavour, yet very delicate texture. It is a deep-sea fish, living 5,000 feet (or up to 9,000 feet) in muddy depths below sea level in the Pacific Ocean, from Alaska to British Columbia. It is available in Eastern Pacific (from Southern California to Bering Sea) and Western Pacific (from Kamchatka and Russia to Southern Japan). Its predators are Salmon, Sperm whales, Pacific halibut and Orcas. Its diet consists of squid, small fishes and jellyfish.

However, it is not a true cod. Black Cod just resemble regular cod fish. But they mature early and are are long-living (like up to 90 years). This makes them a good sustainable source of food.

Like salmon, black cod can contain as much omega-3 (EPA and DHA), has three times more saturated fats than salmon and has many of the other nutrients found in salmon as well, such as vitamin B12. It also contains amino acids and other minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Its rich succulent taste and texture is often compared to that of sea bass. It can also substitute for Chilean Bass.

In Japan, black cod is an essential element for sushi. Its high fat content allows it to go through different forms of cooking – frying, steak, smoking, broiling, baking and grilling.

Enjoying Bellevue Black Cod

You will just love Flo’s broiled Black Cod marinated in house-made Saikyo Miso sauce and served with light-tempura enoki mushrooms. It makes one great dinner.

Udon and Soba: Perennial Noodle Favorites in Bellevue

Everyone’s Favorite Japanese Noodles

Udon and soba are so very typical Japanese noodles that they have been integral to the Japanese diet and culture. Both can be added to other ingredients, blending well and giving texture and flavor to the whole dish. They can be served hot or cold even if they are cooked similarly- in a large container of boiling, salted water and considered done when they reach the right consistency.

There are many different varieties of udon and soba in different regions of Japan, though both originate from China. Udon came to imperial Japan during the Nara period (710-784 AD) while soba came much earlier, during the Jomon period (13000 BC to 300 BC)

The noodles also differ in their composition. Udon noodles are made out of wheat flour – they are thick and white in color. They are best eaten as fresh as they are soft and chewy. Neutral in flavor, they are able to absorb strong-flavored ingredients or dishes from curried broths to toppings that include deep fried fish, various vegetables, pork, etc. The texture of dried udon is, however, more dense.

Soba noodles are made out of buckwheat, with a strong nutty flavor. If they have wheat in them, and many do, it means they are not gluten-free. Pure buckwheat soba is gluten-free and stronger in flavor. The noodles are thin and soft, a lot chewier and nuttier than udon. Dried soba looks like flat spaghetti and is usually light beige to dark brown-gray in color.

Both udon and soba are extremely popular, filling noodles to be eaten at any time of the day. While there are other Japanese noodle types, like yakisoba, ramen and somen, the udon and soba are the much loved, traditional and versatile favorites in any honest-to-goodness Japanese restaurant.

Enjoying Udon and Soba in Bellevue

Here at Flo, we serve your favorite noodles together with other great classics. They are our lunchtime specials. We’ve got Tempura Udon or Tempura Soba or our Nabeyaki Udon. Enjoy our noodles like nowhere else, only here at your Japanese restaurant in Bellevue.

Bellevue Japanese Restaurant: Salmon Skin Has Benefits

Salmon and Salmon Skin

It is no secret that salmon is a healthy food choice. The fish is high in good fats, that of Omega-3 which is beneficial to cardiovascular health. Omega-3 is found in the salmon’s fat and in its skin. So how come you tend to remove the skin off the fish before cooking it? Most people do when cooking salmon fillet, others do not like the taste of salmon skin. Others believe that the skin absorbs much of the toxins if the fish swim and feed on other marine life in contaminated waters. Notorious pollutants are PCBs and mercury that can lead to health complications.

However, many great recipes include salmon skins. Why so and is it safe to eat them? Know that Omega-3 is absorbed by the skin during cooking, so there is an additional health benefit. With skin on, the meat also retains its moisture as it cooks. Seared skin adds a crispy dimension to your salmon dish as well, if cooked right.

Salmon skin contains the highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce triglyceride levels and decrease your chances of heart disease. Cooking fillets with the skin on can also keep nutrients and oils inside the fish that might otherwise be lost in the preparation process. While the US FDA recommends two to three times a week eating salmon, it knows about contaminated fish. With the help of the Environmental Protection Agency, the FDA advises on how to consume fish safely.

Firstly, it’s important to know where the salmon you eat comes from. The most contaminated fish is farmed from the Atlantic Ocean, so it might be best to avoid eating its skin. But if your salmon is wild-caught from the Atlantic it is slightly less contaminated. The best salmon skin to cook and eat would come from a wild-caught Pacific salmon. For most other people, the benefits of eating salmon skin will probably outweigh the risks for if the salmon comes from uncontaminated waters.

Eating Safe Salmon Skin in Bellevue

Try Flo’s delicious smoked salmon skin salad when you’re in Bellevue. Our safe-sourced salmon skin salad is mixed greens, yamagobo (pickled burdock root), shaved bonito, and kaiware (winter radish) with Japanese vinaigrette. You will also love our salmon sashimi and sushi. Try healthy and delicious at Flo.

What Makes A Great Steak?

The Flavor and Tenderness of Dry-Aged

What do you think distinguishes a good steakhouse from a great one? Great steakhouses serve dry aged beef. What does dry aging do to steaks? Dry aging does for red meat what cave aging does for cheese, or what cellaring does for Bordeaux. Aging improves the taste significantly.

There are many chemical reactions happening while dry aging red meat. Simply put, water content in beef evaporates while it ages, leaving behind the meat’s original flavor. There is breakdown also of connective tissue enabling the meat to be more tender, but again, there is no loss of flavor.

Many diners would love their steaks really tender so they’d opt for more tender cuts, like filet mignon. However, they may be less flavorful. The loss of flavor for tenderness is a compromise not found with dry aged beef. If you choose rib eyes or porterhouse/T-bones, where you go after the meat nearest the bones for flavor, if the beef is dry-aged, you get both tenderness and flavor.

Dry aging beef to enhance its flavor and tenderness is used by a very small number of meat purveyors for upscale hotels and restaurants and by an even smaller number of retailers for the gourmet market. Dry aging at refrigeration temperatures for one to five weeks allows the natural enzymatic and biochemical processes to result in improved tenderness and the development of the unique flavor.

Omaha Steaks are, of course, one of the more revered products out of Omaha, Nebraska. Family-owned and operational since 1917, the brand is recognized nationally. Beef are grain-fed, USDA-inspected, naturally aged and trimmed by hand. The vacuum-wrapped beef are flash-frozen to seal freshness. Omaha Steaks is the largest small parcel direct shipper of gourmet foods in the US.

Aged Omaha New York Steak: Flo’s Pride

Flo does its steaks like no other. Dry-aged Omaha steaks come with a slight Japanese twist that diners love. Pan-seared, the New York style steak comes with house-made Yuzu ginger Demi Glace or teriyaki and sautéed with seasonal vegetables. A must-order for special occasions.

Shiitake Mushrooms: Fungus With Benefits

The Amazing Fungus Called Shiitake

The shiitake mushroom has primordial origins and most revered for its health-boosting properties, hence, its use in antiquated medicine. The mushrooms have no roots, no leaves, no blossoms, or seeds, so they fall into a special category: fungus. They are sought after for their rich texture and smoky flavor, in fact more flavorful than the most readily available and cultivated edible mushrooms in the world, the white button mushrooms. When shiitakes are dried and reconstituted by soaking, their flavors intensify the more.

Japan used to be the leader in world production of shiitake mushrooms though China holds that post now – 80% of supplies. However, there are hundreds of US growers that use the superior “forest farming” method to produce shiitake mushrooms on hardwood logs. Elsewhere, the mushrooms are mass-cultivated, using pesticides and fungicides. So better look at labels saying that the product is certified organic.

The vitamins and minerals in shiitakes are unique than other foods. Copper in the mushrooms are 65% of the daily value per serving, one of the few metallic elements essential to human health. Few people eat copper-rich foods, leading to a copper deficiency that can be a factor in coronary heart disease development.

Shiitakes also provide 52% pantothenic acid and 51% selenium of the daily value. Riboflavin, niacin, zinc, and manganese play supportive roles, along with ergothioneine, an antioxidant that inhibits oxidative stress. They also have strong compounds that discourage inflammation, tumors, “bad” bacteria, harmful viruses, and other fungus. Vitamins B2, B5 and B6 are also present, providing energy by breaking down fats, carbs, and proteins.

There is a study showing the cancer-preventing properties of the mushrooms due to a potent antifungal protein found in them – lentinan. This protein slowed down the development of smaller tumors after oral treatment with lentinan. Another study found that the spores of shiitake mushrooms can have protective abilities on the liver, suppress inflammation, and even have cancer-preventive properties for patients with chronic hepatitis. (Original Article)

Shiitake In Your Diet in Bellevue

When you dine at Flo, your Japanese restaurant in Bellevue, request for your grilled and organic shiitake mushrooms; ours is lightly seasoned. It’s one of our most requested items on the menu. Eat delicious and eat healthy. Remember, it’s good for the heart.