Though February is one of the harshest winter months, there is a bright light and it comes to us in the form of a beautiful bounty of cold-weather fish and rare winter sake that is only available this time of year. Top that off with one of the most romantic days of the year, and the shortest month of the year turns into one of the most palate-pleasing!
Sawara (King Mackerel) – Our fresh Sawara, or King Mackerel, is a wonderful winter delicacy. Fished right off the coast of Japan, this highly prized fish is part “hikarimono,” or “silver skinned, shiny fish,” and another part “shiromi,” or “white fish,” which gives it a unique, almost flaky texture and rich umami flavors. Now that Sawara are perfectly in season and plump, they go by another name: Kan Sawara.
Akamutsu (Sea Perch) – Akamutsu may be on the small side (they reach a maximum length of 15 inches and weigh about two pounds), but once you indulge in its fatty, oily goodness you’ll understand why it’s coveted by sushi lovers everywhere. The best Sea Perch is line-caught off the east coast of Japan every winter, and from there it makes its way to our kitchen, where we invite guests to enjoy Akamutsu raw or slightly seared, which enhances its natural sweet flavors.
Kikusui “Hiyaorishi” (Junmai Ginjo) – Kikusui Hiyaoroshi, also known as “Chrysanthemum Water,” is a rare and intricately brewed sake. The brewing process starts in the dead of winter in Niigata City with the freshest rice harvest, and isn’t complete until the following fall. The next step is crucial to this Junmai Gingo-style sake’s unique flavors – instead of pasteurizing the sake twice, it is only pasteurized once, resulting in a rich, smooth finish that lingers after each sip. In fact, this process even has a name – Hiyaoroshi.
Japanese Food Traditions
“Gari” (Pickled Ginger) – For all those pickled ginger enthusiasts out there, this delicious sushi accompaniment has a long history in Japanese sushi culture. The ginger tradition originally started in the Edo period of Japan before refrigeration was possible as a way to kill germs with its bactericidal component known as “Gingerol.” Sushi chefs then started pickling sliced ginger with vinegar to make it last longer and more enjoyable for guests to eat between each sushi bite. Today, pickled ginger is best enjoyed as a palate cleanser while serving as a disinfectant for fingers of those who eat Sushi with their hands.
Valentine’s Day at Shiro’s
Looking to impress this Valentine’s Day? We have a few seats left if you’d like to treat your special someone to a lavish omakase or a la carte sushi dinner, as well as our gift to you – a beautiful, complimentary rose. We’ll be serving a decadent cream mousse with your choice of either strawberry or mocha mousse dessert, only available on Valentine’s Day. Reserve one of the last February 14 spots by phone at (206) 443-9844 or opt for February 15-17 when we’ll also be offering a special Valentine fruity champagne cocktail with berries.
– Profiling your favorite sushi chefs with a short interview –
This month: Eric Chu, Sushi Chef
What is your favorite sushi? That’s easy! Sea Urchin – Uni! It’s an acquired taste, but any other sushi ingredients can’t compare to the deep sweetness and creamy texture of Uni.
What is your favorite sushi/beverage pairing? Sake goes hand-in-hand with any raw fish. My preference is any good sake with white fish since they are light on the palate and many have a crunchy texture, which I like. It’s the perfect combination!
What is your favorite dish besides sushi? Korean Barbeque and Ramen. I’m of Korean descent so I love Korean Barbeque. Ramen was my household food item growing up and I’m glad that so many Ramen restaurants are available now so that I can have fresh noodles instead of instant ones.
What do you enjoying doing most outside the restaurant? I go to Mt. Baker, Snoqualmie and Crystal Mountain as often as I can during the season for snowboarding. I also visit the gym regularly and the workout I most enjoy is weightlifting.
What is your favorite time of year? December is my favorite month. I make plans for snowboarding usually a year ahead.
We received these amazing macaroons from long-time guests on their last visit. Thank you so much for the lovely gift – we are incredibly grateful.
- February now-11: PNB Presents “Swan Lake“
- February now-14: Mamma Mia
- February 7-11: Northwest Flower & Garden Show
- February 22-25: Seattle Asian American Film Festival