From the Underbelly of the Bluefin Tuna
If you like raw Japanese tuna, you’ll easily say that the toro in the tuna is your favorite part. True toro is only taken from bluefin tuna, though there are many types of tuna, like yellowfin and big eye, that are made into sushi. Toro comes from the fatty underbelly of the tuna, divided into grades based on the marbling of the meat. Otoro is the most valuable toro, from the underside of the fish close to the head. A lesser grade toro is chutoro, from the belly in the middle and back of the fish and is less marbled.
In Japan, when bluefin tuna arrives at the fish market, it is handled with care so as not to bruise or damage the flesh. A special tool is used to get the core samples of the flesh and then its color, texture and flavor is assessed before it is priced. When it comes to the fatty belly of the tuna, the higher the quality of the cuts, the pricier it is.
The high quality otoro is pale pink with rich white streaks; the chutoro has less of it while being more fatty than cuts from the upper side of the fish. Of all the seasons, winter is the time that toro is more flavorful as tuna accumulates more fat. And because it cannot withstand prolonged freezing, it is best eaten fresh.
Toro beguiles many fish eaters because of its delightful flavor. The belly fat combined with raw tuna flesh leaves a buttery melting sensation in the mouth as it is eaten. It is often used two ways – in sashimi and nigiri sushi, displaying their distinct beautiful marblings It is also sometimes used to make seared rare tuna, grilled outside and creamy cool inside.
While toro is widely consumed in Japan, it is surprisingly only available in some specialty Japanese restaurants in coastal United States. Finding places like these and experiencing the gastronomical delights of the toro is just rewarding.
Flo: Bellevue’s Favorite Sushi Restaurant
Right here at Flo, your Japanese restaurant in Bellevue, experience our Otoro Fatty Tuna that is one of our more popular gems among other classics. We are truly your authentic and fresh, traditional yet fashionable fusion spot. In fact, Flo has once again been selected as best among Japanese sushi restaurants in The Best of 425, a 2017 survey release by 425, Eastside’s favorite community magazine.
Find here readers’ choices of the best of everything, tallied from thousands of votes. It describes Flo as a tasting tour of Japan without leaving Bellevue. So if you’re nearby, come see us and find out why we are readers’ pick.