May 27, 2010
On April 24, 2010, Linda, Toshio and I dined at Hayashi. It has been on the fourth floor of a building in the Akasaka restaurant district for the last 34 years. Linda and Toshio pose for a photo outside as we arrived.
The first sake, which was served in the square wooden cups, was Hakkaisan (Niigata.)
Next came a bowl of soup of junsai, water shield, a spring marsh plant with almost no flavor, appreciated for its gelatinous texture.
We started on a second sake, Joppari, a brew from Tsugaru, Akita.
Abalone in their shells were put on the grill and basted with soy-based dashi. They were a bit chewy, but not tough, with a distinct flavor.
The skewers of chicken balls were added to the grill and occasionally dipped in miso sauce for basting as they cooked.
This course was delicious, particularly the chicken balls. Everything had picked up flavor from the grilling.
Three ayu, or sweetfish, were then presented. Skewering ayu lengthwise, so they look as if they were swimming, is traditional. Our competant, genial apprentice chef then arranged them vertically over the hot coals.
He basted them occasionally. The fish oil and basting liquid dripping down into the coals really smelled good.
He took out the heads and backbones and put them back on the grill. He served us the body with a green sauce. Eventually, he served us the crisp heads and bones. Ayu is a prized fish as it is an omnivore and is known for its sweet taste. It was delicious. The crispness made it all the more enjoyable. Bravo.
A bowl of sliced beef was then presented and grilled. (My notes say “tojiki beef,” but I can’t find a definition of tojiki anywhere.) The grilling did not achieve a crisp outside, but preserved the tender, pink, delicious inside. It was served with a green salad and a soy sauce that looks like it has grated daikon and something else. Excellent.
The last course, instead of the usual pot of coarse rice, was grilled rice cakes with shiso leaves. They were served with a nice pickle selection and a cup of miso soup. Very good.