Update: osechi ryori recap here
This is unfamiliar territory for most sushi lovers, so I thought I’d give a little background info. Some info about what it is, and details about the foods we’ll enjoy on January 3, 2012. Signup info, full menu and RSVP link can all be found on our New Years Osechi Ryōri page.
First of all we’re celebrating the Japanese New Year, or oshogatsu. This is one of five seasonal holidays during which these holiday meals are eaten. New Years is an important holiday, so people are busy preparing during the preceding days. After the New Year, wives traditionally refrained from cooking. For the first three days of the New Year they celebrate as all great cultures do, with great food!
The foods eaten during this festival are called osechi-ryōri, or osechi for short. These foods are served in stackable boxes called jūbako — similar to bento boxes.
Bento boxes can be boring and straightforward. I’m sure most of you have seen the offering on the lunch menu at a run-of-the-mill sushi place. You know the type I’m talking about.
Well the real tradition started with Japanese moms who would pack great lunch (bento) boxes for their kids and even their husbands, and they skillfully made sure they looked as good as they tasted! Talk about the transient nature of art!
Now in the West, there are new generations of moms who carry on this tradition with a lot of class. Check out the great artistry and style of these uber-moms. I’m sure their kids have a smile on their face every day as they open their bentos and witness what Mom has created — right before devouring the contents.
Here is our totally subjective list of standout sushi items in South Florida for the past year. Being highly subjective means you won’t find any tempura cream cheese rolls on this list.
It should be noted that there are sushi-boatloads of worthy runner-ups we’re dying to mention. But to start listing them too would defeat the purpose of having a “Best Of” list. So here goes:
10. Best Futomaki – Sasaya Grocery, Fort Lauderdale
This place has the best futomaki in town. It’s huge, but you can order a half of futomaki
Winner of the Fort Myers Sushi Survey round 1 by TKO was Origami. We will never return to Sans Sushi unless drunk, but at Origami we can at least get decent sushi and sake, along with our very own signed masu if we become regulars.
Now let’s take a look at two more Fort Myers / Cape Coral Sushi restaurants.
Tokyo Bay – Fort Myers, FL
This place is a great looking restaurant with a half dozen hibachi tables and a nice sushi bar.
Their menu is the nicest so far as well, with good offerings for any taste at decent prices. We’d have to go back a few time to really recommend a place with confidence, but this place has the right feeling.
They really look like a great place to eat hibachi, but we only tried the sushi. On a future trip we really should try though; they have the perfect setup for it. They also have the best website among the bunch, most of which have either a horror show site or in the case of San Sushi, no website at all.
If you like authentic Japanese dining opportunities you won’t want to miss this special New Years meal to celebrate o-shogatsu! It’s going to be held on Jan 3 in Miami at Maido Japanese Restaurant.
Ozouni – 雑煮 is a traditional New Years soup made with mochi (glutenous rice cakes) The exact ingredients vary from specific region to specific region.
This meal is more than just the ozouni however, we’ll be enjoying large box dinner set called osechi. It’s a traditional New Years meal dating back to early samurai times. Now it’s the traditional meal to celebrate O-shogatsu (new years)
We have the chance to celebrate New Years in style with a traditional Japanese New Years meal featuring this gooey treat. Here’s the details, followed by the dinner menu.
When: Jan 3rd, 7:00 pm
Where: Maido Japanese (see map below)
Cost: $65.00 for 2 people, includes everything!
Terms: Must pay by Paypal on or before Jan 2, 2012
Refunds: full refund before Jan 1, 2012
So being in the area for a week, it seemed like a fun idea to go to some local sushi bars and try the sushi. You know, to compare, since I know nothing of the local sushi establishments. We decided to go and order standard sushi dinners at a few places and see what was what.
Well the results are in, and they’re not pretty. Didn’t find any horrible sushi, for those of you looking for a blistering indictment of all the area’s sushi. But we also did not run across any sushi chefs who were trained by sushi masters. We did not ask. We relied on our keen powers of observation — we always sit at the sushi bar and watch closely.
Yep, that’s right: sloppy maki ends being served, sashimi being 90% cut in the first stroke. Fish cut to be neta (nigiri toppings) at weird angles versus the “grain”, cuts not uniform thickness or too thick/thin. Rice packed way too hard. And so on, you know the story.