Friday, May 15, 2015
Taste something new
Today I had a late lunch at one of my favorite places, Hide Sushi on Sawtelle Boulevard. I wanted to go beyond the usual, so I had nigiri-zushi of halibut, drizzled with yuzu, and saba, which is mackerel, a very strong-tasting oily fish.
There was something on the menu I was unfamiliar with, so I ordered it next.
Mentaiko is the roe of pollock, but on the menu it was called "spicy cod roe." It was introduced to Japan after World War II from Korea.
The tiny roe, a coral red in color, are marinated in yuzu and chile. Here at Hide Sushi, the itamae, or sushi chef, rolled into maki-zushi, with cucumber and radish sprouts.
"How does it compare to other roes?" I asked the itamae before I ordered it. "Are the eggs large, like salmon roe, or small?"
"Tiny eggs," he said, "It's salty and spicy."
It was quite fishy-salty tasting, with a chile heat I had to cool with a bite of crunchy cucumber sunomono. I love fish roe, for the way the tiny eggs pop in my mouth, but this mentaiko didn't give me that satisfying crunch Icraved; the little eggs were more like a paste.
But I liked it. It's always good to try something new. Next time, I might try the kurage, or jellyfish.