For our anniversary, I wanted to try the fanciest sushi place in town since all my friends had been raving about its happy hour. I figured an anniversary was an adequate reason to splurge (and it was B’s turn to pick up the tab since I paid for V day hehe)
I tried to make a reservation, but it was totally booked for weeks. When we got there at 5:15 pm right at opening, the host told us the wait would be more than 1 hr and 20 min. Right then, a waitress said something to him, and he said, “Actually, you can get seated right now.” What luck – a wait from 1 hr and 20 min to 20 seconds isn’t too shabby! The couple eating next to us told us they had waited in a line outside before the restaurant opened.
When we ordered, each dish was about 3 bites. Literally, the amount of food each plate fit in the palm of my (small) hand. Now the $6 palm sized happy hour plates were fine, but the $18 main dish we ordered gave us 1 1/2 bites each (that happened to be B’s favorite dish of course).
Don’t get me wrong, the sashimi was fantastic. I was very satisfied (not stuffed, a nice change) post meal, but Mr. 6 ft 2 in was still hungry.
So after eating these incredibly gourmet dishes (with the finest fish flown in from all over the world the same day and artfully displayed), B drives up to Whataburger and orders a combo meal with their classic burger, soda, fries and inhales it all before I can blink.
Anyways, I’m just not sophisticated enough to differentiate ordinary Costco tuna vs $$$$ tuna flown from another country. B has a sushi chef friend who made pepper crusted ahi once, which I was dying to recreate, so I requested B makes his famous sashimi during his visit as well.
I didn’t like the ahi tuna recipes I found, so I made my own version, which matched B’s friend’s dish spot on. We also made rolls from the tuna sashimi as well. They weren’t pretty… but they give a lot more sashimi and sushi for a lot less money, and that’s good enough for the two of us.
Pepper Crusted Ahi
2 (5 ounce) ahi tuna steaks
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
coarsly ground peppercorns
Season the tuna steaks with salt, paprika, lemon juice, and sesame oil. Coat entire with peppercorns.
Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Gently place the seasoned tuna in the skillet and cook about 15 seconds per side for rare.
Tuna Sushi Roll
1 lb Tuna steak
1 cup sushi rice
1/2 an avocado
1 package nori seaweed (optional: toasted)
1 cucumber, sliced thinly
Prepare tuna sashimi and sushi rice as in the sashimi recipe here.
With a sharp knife, cut tuna into thin slices lengthwise. Cut the cucumber into narrow strips about 4 inches long.
Lay a sheet of the nori, shiny side down, on a bamboo rolling mat with a plastic wrap in between to prevent sticking. Add water in a mixing bowl, and moisten your hands to prevent the rice from sticking to your hands. Spread the sushi rice on the 3/4 of the nori closest to you, spreading it to the edges. Add a small amount of wasabi across the center of the rice. Lay cucumber strips and tuna slices evenly.
To roll, hold the line of ingredients in place with fingertips, and use thumbs to push up and turn the end of the bamboo mat so that the edge of the nori is lifted up and meets the far edge of the sheet. Correct the shape by gently but firmly pressing the bamboo mat around the roll for about 30 seconds to shape it.
Use a wet knife to cut each roll into 1-inch rounds in one clean slice (don’t saw).