kodo press

How Sushi Master Yoya Takahashi Makes His Kyoto-Style Omakase — Omakase

November 19, 2022

I tried to go into acting because I thought I could do it, but now I stand on this sushi stage and get to have fun with my customers. Yoya Takahashi is one of the most boisterous sushi chefs in America. His omakase includes influences from home region Kansai, where amadai is celebrated. Welcome to Hamasaki, Kansai is located in southwest japan. What I consider Kansai- style food is food from Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and actually there is a large variety... but here in America they are kind of bundled together Osaka is about fun food, it's everywhere. Kyoto is about traditional food and protecting that tradition and Kobe is a place that made wagyu famous. I'm from Kyoto they say Kyoto is traditional, but look at me. Nice to meet you.

This is my favorite fish from japan, from Kyoto, it's called amadai. Today's amadai is from tanba, a sea north of Kyoto. Kyoto people call this fish guji. It's kind of traditional. You see amadai everywhere in Kyoto during the summer. Of course, the body meat. I use for sushi and we can do grilled fish. I grew up with amadai or guji, growing up in Kyoto. So I think it's one of the most delicious white fish with lots of oil. To be able to use amadai that's from the same place I am from in Kyoto here in the US gives me great pride, of course. I only like amadai grilled, a beautiful white fish. Yakizakana is straight forward. Yaki means grilled. Sakana is fish. Grilled fish. When you grill the amadai, it brings out the oil in the fish and there is sweetness to this oil that I love with lemon and salt, like the Japanese word, mottainai. It's mottainai (wasteful not to use). I love that you could eat everything on the amadai. So I make it just like that. It's just nice and smoky, makes the flavor more tasty, so I just grill first, the bone and the head. so yeah, smells good. You can smell it?. Come here. Yeah, nice. Fish broth is my favorite thing. So to take it from grilled fish's head and bones, you keep them, and use it for the soup for the grilled fish. Today I plan to put it on top of a warm nyumen. With dashi taken from guji's head and bones. This is my personal favorite and make it at home a lot. It's food that I know, that I grew up with my grandfather was a stage actor. An old actor who's name is akio kobori. I wondered if I could make it as an actor here. So this is ocean whitefish. It's a local fish. I still don't much use a Japanese traditional knife. Because I like chef's knives more. Easy to break it down. Any of the fish. That's why. I came to U.S, to LA in the year 2000. And of course, I could not be an actor, since I did not speak english.. I said cola. cola. They give me coffee. Even in some places, I ordered Asahi beer. Always miso soup. No. I said Asahi beer. I don't need miso soup. C'mon. After beheading the fish, there is still some blood left in the body. Which we are washing out with water pressure. And by doing this, we are able to keep the freshness of the fish last longer. So this is what my head chef bought after watching too many YouTube videos. It's called a tsumoto-shiki and is apparently popular in japan. This is called itohiki-aji. Itohikiaji is in the aji family, I think, and to be honest, it was the first time my fish supplier, sent me that fish, but it looks like something between hamachi and aji. It's known as an ornamental fish that you keep as a pet. Kind of sad to think about eating you pet fish when it gets bigger. This is himeko-dai. Princess snapper, how cute the name. Cultural difference between the Kansai and Kanto(Tokyo). Is first of all the dialects. Ookini, maido. Ookini can mean what's up, thank you, hi. Kansai dialect...it's hard to say... Maybe it sounds like we're angry, or, loud to other people. But I have friends in kanto who are like that too, so not really sure. To me, I think it's just probably the sound that's different. Ebisu-dai this is in the tai family. Do you know the Shichifukujin? Japanese 7 happy gods. One of them is called Ebisu-san. He's like a rich Buddha. This is the fish he carries with him. The tattoo I have here is the lucky hammer one of the 7 gods is holding. How happy does that make me. The more you shake, the most luck comes in. The more I make sushi, the more luck comes in. So this is sanma. Saury pike fish from japan. This is aomizakana, that means blue-skinned fish. I love grilled fall fish. I've been doing this 20 years, but it's only in the last 10 years that sanma became available here. It was cheap but now they are expensive. This is hakkaku. Sailfin poacher. See that? Beautiful fish but looks ugly. Looks like a dragon. I go back to Kyoto every year. But these days I try to go to other places. There were many places in japan I had not been to when I lived there. But like my peers would say, I have a loud voice, and I walk my own path. Hamasaku restaurant has been here 20 years in this location. This is amadai. We are a tiny oasis inside a unique strip mall. Grilled amadai nyumen. To diners that come here, I want them to know that we are continuously challenging ourselves, This is ocean fish. So in a good way, it has really changed, and we are coming from all walks of life, from all races. This is ebisu-dai. Princess snapper tempura. Learning and pondering creating this thing called sushi. Hakkaku.