Fluke Kumquat Sashimi at Sushi Roku
You might think, with all the emphasis on food in the past decade, that our palates would get more refined by the day. You might assume that the wild success of the Food Network would have helped us learn about complex flavor profiles swirling together harmoniously to create one spectacular bite. But alas, things seem to be going the opposite direction.
Guy Fieri, majordomo of Flavortown, is arguably the biggest food name in the country. Michael Symon, a James Beard Award-winning chef, has a new show launching called “Burgers, Brew & ’Que.” Every contestant on every show talks about “big, bold flavors” – which often means savory on savory on savory.
That’s why we need restaurants like Sushi Roku. Where other restaurants (even sushi restaurants) try to smash diners over the head with flavor, Sushi Roku is happy to play it cool. Executive sushi chef Hiroshi Shima trains his crew to have a light touch and understands that the most powerful bites are the balanced ones.
Take, for instance, the Fluke Kumquat Sashimi – a dish that could come only from a kitchen with little to prove. The fish is sliced so thin that it’s actually translucent. The flavor is mild, barely fishy, gently sweet. In blind taste tests it could be mistaken for a relative of the honeydew. This is topped with kumquat jam, which adds brightness and sweetness without feeling cloying. The yuzu vinaigrette is another understated choice – providing the citrus that any good fish dish needs and a little umami (soy sauce is in the mix somewhere). It’s all so subtle and yet it adds up.
This is a worthy lesson for today’s chefs: A whisper can sometimes be as powerful as a lion’s roar.
Sushi Roku, Fashion Island, 327 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach 949.706.3622 :: innovativedining.com
Fluke Sashimi & Kumquat Jam with Yuzu Vinaigrette Kumquat jam recipe
2 cups of thinly sliced kumquats, seeds removed
1 cup sugar
Combine sliced kumquats and sugar into medium sauce pan.
Simmer on low heat for about 25 minutes (until skin is soft).
Transfer hot kumquats to a glass jar and cover with lid.
Once jam reaches room temperature, store in the refrigerator.