Otome Sushi, Kanazawa

May 1, 2010

On April 15, 2010, Noriko, Linda and I went for lunch at Otome Sushi in Kanazawa. (Otome means “young girl.”). I was particularly looking forward to this as people in Kanazawa think that their fish from the Sea of Japan is better than that which passes through the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo.

It was an advantage to have Noriko, who was knowledgeable about food, explain a lot to us. We were seated at the end of the counter where we could get a good view of things. The rest of the counter was already full and there were diners in the private rooms you can see in the back.

We ordered the chef’s choice sushi and sake.

The first sake was Kuroobi (black obi) from Ishikawa; the second was Sougen from Noto; it had a fuller flavor, but both were good.

The first piece of sushi was squid with salt and juice of sudashi, a green citrus sprinkled on top. On the right is strong fresh pickled ginger.

The second was a sweet shrimp with wasabe. The third was yanagi hachime, a fish resembling cod.

The assistant chef is grating wasabe on a sharkskin grater. She did this several times while we were there.

As we were sitting by her workstation, we could see some of the other tasks she did: mincing leeks and tuna for the nigiri sushi, bringing out the sea urchin box, decorating plates to be carried to the diners in the back private rooms, filling the soup bowls, grilling and reheating eel, peeling raw shrimp, preparing the nori (seaweed), bringing more rice to the chef, etc etc. She seemed cheerful and efficient. We learned that she had been a ballet dancer for five years. She has been doing this job for eight years and hopes to be the first woman sushi chef in Kanazawa.

Sayori (needle fish): seasonal in the spring; very good. Flounder seasoned with seaweed. The freshness of everything was evident, helped by the chef’s serving us directly, one by one, just after he prepared three for our litttle group.

Toro tuna; this melted in your mouth; it had a very elegant flavor, but the chef was right in suggesting that we dip it in soy sauce as it needed something to spark it up. Mackerel with Asatuki (spring onion) rounds; the flavor was stronger than what we had been served up to now and was very good.

Uni (sea urchin); the portion was big and superb. It was not local, but came from the colder waters around Hokkaido. Grilled eel wrapped with nori; we could taste the difference the fresh grilling makes.

A nigiri sushi (hand cone) of chopped tuna and leeks. The chef advised us to dip it in soy sauce. Very good.

A soup of cod, dashi, leek rings and a Koji miso paste, unique to Kanazawa.


Tea was served to end the meal. We were the last diners. I liked the ambience created by staging the fish in wooden boxes rather than metal or plastic.

Being seated at the end of the counter I could peek into the small, clean kitchen.

The lunch was superb, the best sushi I have had, surpassing the previous best six days before. Linda agrees.

4 Responses to “Otome Sushi, Kanazawa”

  1. SushiTail Says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog. Thank you for sharing your experience. The former ballet dancer appears to be well on her way to become the first female sushi chef in Kanazawa.

  2. Lewis Says:

    I guess Sushi-Den will never be the same as your experiences in Japan, Kanazawa in particular. I’m still enjoying “travelling and eating” with you on your fabulous trip.

  3. michael Says:

    I enjoy reading your blog!
    If choosing between Zeniya and Otome-Sushi, which would you recommend to a traveler?

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