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[I Ate] Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel, Sea Urchin, Yellow Tail Nigiri

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I've always heard that sea urchin is the ultimate in acquired taste. Can you describe it? Did it take a few tries to enjoy it?

Original Poster12 points · 6 months ago

Ohh, good question. A good fresh one, which generally you can tell by it’s golden yellow orange color, is very sweet (savory umami sweet) intense ocean taste with a texture... I think almost like oyster. Yeah, take a really fresh oyster and make it umami sweet, like sweet shrimp kind of sweet.

However, a really bad uni can be bitter and leave a bad taste in your mouth. If you want to try uni the first time, go with an really good restaurant that has a good reputation, not like any random Japanese restaurant.

Most good restaurants get their uni daily from the market. A good one to try is the Santa Barbara uni which is known to be really sweet. So ask around restaurants to see if they really know where their uni is from. Knowledgeable ones will be able to tell you where it’s from. Hokkaido ones are good too!

Thanks for the tips!

I've always heard that sea urchin is the ultimate in acquired taste.

You're confusing it with natto. Natto is the ultimate in acquired taste. And it's delicious. Also pork intestines. Yum!

Did it take a few tries to enjoy it?

Yes! Many, actually. But now I like it. I don't get it often, but I do sometimes. Some restaurants have dishes with uni -- there's one place near me that does a pasta with uni and bottarga (or at least they had it last time I went), and it's actually really nice that way.

Can you describe it?

No. But that won't stop me from trying. So.

First, it's a paste. It's not very thick. It's not solid like a piece of bad tuna or unctuous like a piece of good tuna. It's pasty. And it's bitter. And it tastes like seawater. It's bitter seawater with a very light texture. Ringing endorsement, I know. Honestly, I don't know why I like it; it definitely took me many tries, as I mentioned. In some places you can get sea urchin in the shell, like a prepared dish, and it's still bitter seawater but it might have more texture. Damn, now I want some uni, but we have a different dinner planned...

I know OP compared it to a sweet oyster, but I don't see it. Oysters are sweet and salty, but uni is bitter, and I've had it at good restaurants. But people like beer, endives, and other bitter foods, so there's nothing wrong with bitter. Fuck, people like bitter melon. That's one I'll never understand.

Good notes, thank you.

4 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Salt water marshmallow paste. That's how I'd describe it. Lol.

Where from?

The ocean.


Original Poster14 points · 6 months ago

Naoki Sushi is Chicago. In my opinion the best sushi rice ☺️ Chef Naoki is trained and from Japan I believe.

If you’ve never had the opportunity, go try Kai Zan (Chicago). The premium omakase can be a little on the pricey side, but for maybe the best 10 courses of sushi I’ve ever had it’s definitely something we try to go experience at least once a year.

Original Poster3 points · 6 months ago

Yes! Kaizan is one of my favorites too! I did the omakase a few times but it was too much food for me lol Nowadays I just order a la carte ☺️ I normally split the Uni Toro Tartare since it’s not on the omakase menu.

What does a dish like this cost? It really does look about as perfect as food could look.

Original Poster3 points · 6 months ago

Normal sushi restaurants can do for $3-7 a piece. This place we went to is more expensive (went for a special occasion) and it was around $7-$10 a piece depending on the fish type.

I don't know how much OP paid, but I could get something like this at a very good restaurant near me for less than $40. It's not cheap, but it's not crazy expensive either.

That looks so good. Did you use any sauces? Man, that tuna is making me drool.

Original Poster6 points · 6 months ago

Nope! The chef says the sauce is already brushed on and meant to be eaten without soy sauce 😊

That is when I feel confident about a sushi place. Brushed on is my preferred method.

Original Poster5 points · 6 months ago

That reminds me of Chef Jiro from the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi. All the sauce is brushed on. I regret not being able to go there when I was in Japan.

IIRC you need like a crazy advanced booking anyways, he has like 12 seats or something

Pretty sure they're not even accepting reservations right now, thats how booked they are


Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

Yeah, wish I had know. We thought 2 months were advanced enough :(

Good sushi doesn't need sauces!

I like just a few drops of ponzu on mine....

I was about to say that. All that sauce on it is killing me inside. Only fish that should have sauce is albacore as it's very tasteless unless prepared with something. And even that, I go basic as hell with something like garlic ponzu and tiny bit at that.

So nice to see real sushi and not just a tray of rolls :)

Some self proclaimed sushi eater that probably orders Cali rolls and calls it sushi downvoted you. I got you bro. Rolls are shit in comparison to sushi and sashimi

Original Poster2 points · 6 months ago

I agree! The only good rolls are the traditional maki (the smaller rolls) that all they put in is just fish and nothing more ☺️

Sea urchin is awful. Had it as fresh as you can get plucked straight out the was meh. And I'll eat anything .

looks expensive

It is. You can tell by the color of the tuna. If it was light pink you can tell it's probably an all you can eat. That dark red indicates it's blue fin. Which is amazing.

Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

Wow, you’re good. It is indeed blue fin!

1 point · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

I'm curious how the mackerel was. It's a pretty oily and strong tasting fish and many people don't even like it when it's cooked.

Original Poster2 points · 6 months ago

It’s just like the way you described lol I was never a fan of it and just let my friends have it 😅

what are the other pieces? chu toro? snapper?

Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

Chutoro, Amber Jack (Kanpachi) and Sea Bream (Madai) ☺️

How is macrel sashimi? We catch Spanish and king Marcel where I'm from, but the meat is very oily and most people only eat it smoked or in fish dip

Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

Technically for most Mackerel sashimi, it’s not really raw but cured in vinegar and salt. You can still enjoy it raw but it has to be freshly caught. It’s still very oily and rich, but the vinegar helps break up the taste. Still not much my cup of tea tho 😅


All of them look good, except the salmon.

A great sushi place will want to use wild salmon; not farm salmon.

how can you tell?

Original Poster2 points · 6 months ago

Wild salmon has less fat (the white stripes), farmed has more obvious white fat stripes 😊

I guess that makes me a farmed human.

I prefer the farmed, way more fatty than the wild. The two are very different things.

-25 points · 6 months ago(0 children)
Original Poster9 points · 6 months ago

There’s a difference in flavor and texture before and after cooking. Tuna for example, before cooked is soft and has a fresher taste than cooked, which is rougher and chicken like. Some people don’t like raw food, which is fine. But eating raw is not equivalent to being an animal as long as we don’t get sick from bacteria.

Unrelated, but what would you recommend as a good thing to try first for someone who never had sushi before?

Tough to tell, but maybe something without fish first. A california roll maybe. It'll get you introduced to seaweed if you havent been yet. If you like that, try something with salmon or tuna in it, along with another ingredient that you know you like.

Try unagi! Just tell them it's a cooked fish (not a lie)

Well, I'm the guy who would be eating it, and I don't mind it being raw at all. I never tried raw fish in any form, but if steak is so good, I see no reason why fish wouldn't be

Oh then I recommend salmon! My husband is from Texas and only ate steak. He though sushi was only California rolls but the he met me and fell in love with salmon nigiri. Raw fish is actually less "fishy" than cooked fish because cooking the fish releases fishy oils.

Original Poster1 point · 6 months ago

Yep! I second Salmon as well. It’s milder on the flavor and less fishy as well.

Unagi is garbage...

You're hurting my soul :(

A simple (or spicy) tuna roll is probably your best bet for trying raw fish for the first time.

I'd just lile to thank all of you guys for the great advice. I'll go try it all out on Monday! :)

Maki rolls

Do you cook your salads too?

There's no need to cook all fish, just like there's no need to cook all meats or all vegetables, so long as they're fresh enough.

-1 points · 6 months ago


I'm sorry about your treatment, but I think it's because your question wasn't worded very respectfully (and I don't even see a question mark). The way it's written you're not asking why people eat raw fish; you're asserting that you think doing so is bad, because only an animal would do such a thing. You're judging rather than asking. That's what people are responding to. If you had asked "why do people like it so much?" or "please help me understand" instead of saying "I'm not an animal", you'd have gotten answers instead of downvotes.

Different strokes for different folks.

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