Mark Guthrie visits Furari Sushi’s new shop in the Sakae NHK Building
While I am sure that most of you are good law abiding gaijin, I am just as certain that there are a few of you who have attempted to give the NHK man the slip. I know that because I am one of those terrible people. When they have come a-knocking, I have tried all sorts of avoidance tricks such as hiding in silence as they rattled the door, I have spoken in my fastest English to confuse them, and I have even slipped into my broken Swedish when, to my horror, the guy on my doorstep unleashed a reply in perfect, American accented English.
Yes, I have tried to avoid the NHK like a Donald Trump supporter avoids sanity, but today I ventured into the belly of the beast, risking capture by heading into the NHK building and down to the second basement floor, because it is there that, last month, the Furari chain opened a new restaurant, Sandaime Furari Sushi.
Longtime readers may have seen my reviews for two of their other restaurants, Furari Sushi in Fushimi and Odaidokoro Furari near The Tokyu Hotel, and if you have read those reviews and perhaps heeded my advice to pay them a visit, you will understand why I risked my NHK exposure, because they are undoubtedly, consistently excellent. My case in point is the astounding fare that I was dished up today.
Sat in one of the booths I was engrossed in watching the ‘itamae’ (that’s sushi chef to you or me) prepare dishes for the group of office workers in the booth next to mine, so I was startled when my first dish came out to my table, the tuna steak.
Of course I’ve had tuna steak many times, even back in the UK, but it has never been anything like this. This was sliced and served like you might expect sashimi, and that isn’t far off what it is. The outer edges are slightly seared, meaning the inner meat, though warmed, is as close to raw and red as it can be.
It reminded me of how, in my opinion, beef steak should be prepared (and almost never is in Japan), warm with the slight sensation of a pulse, and when I put it in my mouth it’s no exaggeration to say that the juicy centre exploded from its seared outer prison, no doubt making me pull that ‘uuuumaaaaai!’ face that the insincere ‘talents’ on Japanese TV attempt yet systematically fail to replicate.
So far, so raw, so good. But Sandaime Furari Sushi, despite the name do not excel in only raw food (evidenced by the mammoth, mouthwatering plate of karaage that I saw being delivered to the next table) and my next offering was a grilled aji, a Japanese horse mackerel, that was so crisp and light and barbecue-tinged that I couldn’t help but think back to fishing trips of my youth. But, of course, infinitely better. The only problem I found with the aji was that I’m less than expert when it comes to using chopsticks – despite the insistence of Japanese observers – and it can be tough to not get a mouthful of bones if you don’t do it properly. In the end I propped up the menu around my dish for cover and used my hands. I don’t think anyone noticed, though I think one of the salary men saw licking my fingers afterwards. But I could neither resist nor care less.
“Now come on Mark,” you are probably saying. “Don’t tell me you went to a restaurant with ‘sushi’ in it’s title and didn’t eat anything totally raw?” Well, to that I say, hold your bloody horses. I’m obviously getting there. You can see that there are three paragraphs to come, so have a bit of patience. And while the previous two dishes took some topping, I’m saving the best for last.
The sashimi boat that sailed into view while I was still not-so-surreptitiously slurping aji juice from my thumb was nothing short of phenomenal. And I mean boat, because this was absolutely bloody huge. There was tuna, mackerel, salmon and prawn. There was yellowtail, ikura, snapper and katsuo, and it all came served on a bed of ice to keep it at an optimum temperature. It was so ornate and fancy that I was a little worried about digging into it, not wanting to upset the picturesque harmony, but dig in I did and, well… Christ. Words can’t do it justice. But then I’m supposed to be writing a review, so I suppose I should probably try.
When it comes to sashimi I have a tendency to go a little over the top with the wasabi – I love that little green demon radish – but sensing that I was in the presence of something pretty special I mixed just a little with the soy sauce and I’m glad I did. In terms of texture and freshness there was little to compare it with – perhaps the sashimi I once had straight from the boat in a Taiwanese marina – and at times I found myself eschewing the wasabi completely, so flavoursome and delightful was the fish. I had been given a sharing dish for three and to my shame (and pride) I finished the lot.
Finally finished, stuffed to the gills with fish, I made my way back through the NHK building, and on the escalator I saw the English-speaking NHK guy. I pulled down the brim of my hat and made for the exit with a dash. It was a lucky escape. But do you know what? I’d risk capture again in a heartbeat for just one more bite.
Lunch: Daily 11:00~16:00
Dinner: Daily 16:00~22:30
[lsd_gme type=”place” q=”魚屋の台所 三代目 ふらり寿司” ]