April brings warmer weather, longer days and blossoming flora, but for Shiro’s, we also welcome an array of seasonal fresh fish straight from Japan. This month come in with friends and family to experience this just-arrived seafood complemented by wonderful, dry sake.
Madai (Japanese Sea Bream) – It’s time to celebrate with Madai aka Japanese sea bream! Known as a celebratory fish in Japanese culture, due to its rarity and luxury status, Madai is often only served at special occasions. Renowned for its size, gorgeous color, shape, sweet flavor and medium texture, Japanese sea bream is best enjoyed between winter and spring. In Japan, it also goes by the name True Snapper, because of the fish’s Japanese characters, Ma (True) and Tai (snapper). Sayori (Japanese Halfbeak) – It’s officially Sayori season! Though these slim, silver belly fishes are often fished out of Japan in the spring and fall, their peak season is between March and May. These tiny translucent fish are rich in Vitamin C, Omega-3’s and low in fat content. Try this fish on your next visit before it disappears for another year.
Amaebi (Sweet Shrimp) – Our sweet shrimp or Amaebi is still one of the most popular fish on our menu. These delicious, cold weather shellfish are known for their small size and sweet taste. Amaebi’s are actually hermaphrodites, spending the first part of their lives as males and then switching to females as they begin to age. Sweet shrimp are primarily caught and served in their male state, when they’re at their peak sweetness and flavor. To truly experience the luscious flavors of Amaebi, try them raw as sashimi or nigiri. Hirame (Flounder) – Flounder or Hirame is a versatile flat-sided fish. It can be fried, baked or served raw (our preferred way). There are multiple species of flounder, but we primarily work with summer (Fluke) or winter flounder (Blackjack), which both have distinctive facial characteristics. The main differences are in their eyes; Fluke’s eyes are found on the left side and Blackjack’s on the right side of their head. Come in and experience this delicate fish on your next visit. Hotate (Scallop) – Nothing says indulgence quite like scallops (Hotate)! These juicy, sweet bivalves survive and thrive on the sandy and rocky beaches of New England, but can also be found in Eastern Canada and the British Isles. Hotate are unique in that they can actually swim by intensely clapping, which then projects them forward, allowing them to move swiftly. Our chefs recommend trying our scallops served raw with a little soy sauce.
Sohomare Tokubetsu Junmai – This month we’re offering a contemporary Junmai-style sake! Sohomare’s “Tokubetsu Junmai” sake comes straight from the Tochigi Prefecture of Japan. This modern dry sake is brewed using Yamadanishiki rice, the highest quality rice in all of Japan. Known for its slight acidity and umami flavor, this translucent sake is the perfect complement to your next sushi dinner.
Japanese Food Traditions
Miso Soup – While the U.S. only has a few styles of miso soup, Japan has hundreds of varieties, flavors and preparations. Most Japanese families begin preparing miso soup in the morning, utilizing leftover ingredients from around the house. To create your own version of miso soup, you just need dashi, hot water and miso. You can add anything you like, from bacon to cabbage. Just add them all to hot water and finish with miso; the possibilities are endless. But, whatever you do, don’t boil the soup after you’ve added the miso – it will only result in a very salty and flavorless broth.
Sumo + Sushi
We are excited to be partnering with Seattle’s Sumo + Sushi event presented by SE Productions on Saturday, April 28 at WaMu Theater (800 Occidental Ave. S, Seattle)! You don’t have to fly to Japan to experience the excitement and fun of this 1500-year-old sport! Learn about the history, rules, and culture of Sumo followed by six live matches and a question-and-answer period with the wrestlers. We will be serving a variety of Japanese cuisine, along with our beloved sushi. Choose from several ticket options with meal packages (event is 21 and over). Reserve your tickets online today!
This month: Aaron Pate, Sushi Chef
What is your favorite sushi? I like all hikarimono: blue-backed fish and sea urchin. In general, hikarimono has a stronger flavor and chewier texture, which I enjoy. Sea urchin is an acquired taste for many people, but I love its sweet and creamy texture. Once you love it, you’re hooked on it.
What is your favorite sushi/beverage pairing? I like to drink dry sake and/or full body beer with sushi. Lots of people prefer the expression of “smooth,” but I like food or drink to scream for their existence.
What is your favorite non-Shiro’s dish? Korean BBQ is my favorite dish to eat out. Beside the great taste, I can’t cook this at home, and also the little side dishes called banchan are great accompaniments. My family likes me to cook at home. We like to do hot pot, stew or gratin family style.
What are your hobbies? Since I grew up in Hawaii, I enjoy anything to do with water, especially outrigger canoeing. I also enjoy golfing on land. Fishing comes naturally to me. I live on a lake, so I fish with my daughter there. She often catches more trout than I do; then we smoke what we catch. My other hobby is gardening. I grow veggies and herbs in my tiny garden and trade my produce with my Mom, who has a much larger garden and grows a variety of different plants.
What is your favorite time of year (here or in Japan) and why? Because I’m from Hawaii, I enjoy summer the most in Washington. It’s warm and the days are much longer.
- April 1-30: Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
- April 6-29: Fifth Avenue Theater Presents: Kiss Me Kate
- April 20-22: Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival
- April 28: Sumo + Sushi, WaMu Theater