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Izumi for Dummies


RedRambler
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I have to admit, I have never had sushi in my life.  I am a "corn fed countryboy from the midwest that would rather have rare steak, strong whiskey, and cold beer". Ok I am not as bad as the stereotype I just depicted, but I do need plenty of guidance.  I will be on the Allure in 16 days and have decided to try things I haven't tried in the past.  We have dined at Izumi before but for the hibachi experience.  This time I plan to try sushi for the first time ever.  My problem is I have new clue where to start, so I need some of you experts to give me a guide of do's and don'ts and make sense of the menu.  Flavor is important to me, texture doesn't bother me, and if I can eat a steak rare I can eat a raw fish.  I look forward to your advice!

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Kudos to you for trying it out!

 

I love sushi, but freely admit it took a while to try rolls I now enjoy a lot.

 

I would make a few recommendations...

 

1. Start with hand rolls (Nigiri).  These are the pieces of sushi wrapped in a roll, and I believe those new to sushi will like the fact there is less fish because it is wrapped in rice.

2. Try some great starting rolls: California roll, tuna roll and Philly roll are really good choices to begin with.  Yellowtail (which is just a different kind of tuna), Salmon and spicy tuna rolls are also good choices.

3. Go easy on wasabi (the green stuff) and ginger (the orange slivers).  They are optional and something to consider down the road.  If used incorrectly, they can overwhelm the sushi.

4. Dip the sushi lightly in soy sauce.  A little splash will do just fine.

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One other thing to note is, it is VERY customary to eat Nigiri, Hand Rolls (obviously), and some of the less messy rolls with your hands.  For some reason, plain raw fish, no rice (sashimi) is supposed to be picked up only with chopsticks.  In America i find we almost try to prove to ourselves and others that we can use chopsticks well but when you are in Japan you will see people just pick up each piece and plop it in their mouth.  If you find yourself breaking apart slices of a roll or your nigiri with chopsticks, pick it up and enjoy!

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Kudos to you for trying it out!

 

I love sushi, but freely admit it took a while to try rolls I now enjoy a lot.

 

I would make a few recommendations...

 

1. Start with hand rolls (Nigiri).  These are the pieces of sushi wrapped in a roll, and I believe those new to sushi will like the fact there is less fish because it is wrapped in rice.

2. Try some great starting rolls: California roll, tuna roll and Philly roll are really good choices to begin with.  Yellowtail (which is just a different kind of tuna), Salmon and spicy tuna rolls are also good choices.

3. Go easy on wasabi (the green stuff) and ginger (the orange slivers).  They are optional and something to consider down the road.  If used incorrectly, they can overwhelm the sushi.

4. Dip the sushi lightly in soy sauce.  A little splash will do just fine.

 

Great recommendations, Matt! Pretty much what I was planning to put until I saw your reply, and not just for Izumi but any sushi restaurant. :)

 

One minor correction -- Nigiri is the thin sliced fish on top of a small ball of rice. The hand rolls are maki. Both, as Marti noted, are "finger food".

 

I honestly prefer nigiri to rolls, as you are getting a good-sized piece of fish per piece and not just filling up on rice. That lets you really pick up on the flavor of the fish and decide what you like and what you don't. But it's a lot more expensive to get 18 pieces of nigiri as opposed to a typical 3 maki rolls (6 pieces per roll) for one person.

 

Some other nigiri I'd recommend for a beginner are:

  • shrimp -- not served raw, but cooked to meet US health regulations
  • flying fish roe -- a small clump of tiny fish eggs (about the size of grains of sand), served on a ball of rice that's wrapped in a small piece of seaweed to keep the eggs in place. The flavor is very mild, with a slightly spicy finish
  • salmon roe -- larger fish eggs (about the size of small peas), served the same way as flying fish roe. No heat, another delicate flavor to enjoy without an overwhelming texture.

 

Once you're feeling more adventurous, mackerel and eel are both good choices. Both are cooked, like the shrimp, and the eel is actually reheated before serving. I know it's a cliche, but I always find that eel tastes like slightly soft, seasoned chicken. Mackerel is somewhat oily, but has a good strong flavor.

 

If you're really feeling bold, and the restaurant serves it, I find the best nigiri of all is Uni (sea urchin). I won't lie -- it looks digusting! It's this blob of brownish goo served like the fish roe, and the only real option is to pop the whole piece into your mouth. Chew it slowly so the texture doesn't overwhelm you, and you'll find it's some seriously great-tasing sushi! Considering it tends to go for upwards of $5 or $6 a piece, it's a good thing it's so tasty!

 

It's a lot, I know, but I'm a serious sushi lover and like getting new folks into this really different cuisine. The best meal I ever had, bar none, was the deluxe sushi platter served at the sushi and hibachi restaurant (Taka?) in the Japan section of Epcot. It was about 15 pieces of assorted nigiri and two maki rolls, and it was heaven on a plate! My daughters had the same thing and we all couldn't stop talking about it, even weeks after we got home!

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Kudos to you for trying it out!

 

I love sushi, but freely admit it took a while to try rolls I now enjoy a lot.

 

I would make a few recommendations...

 

1. Start with hand rolls (Nigiri).  These are the pieces of sushi wrapped in a roll, and I believe those new to sushi will like the fact there is less fish because it is wrapped in rice.

2. Try some great starting rolls: California roll, tuna roll and Philly roll are really good choices to begin with.  Yellowtail (which is just a different kind of tuna), Salmon and spicy tuna rolls are also good choices.

3. Go easy on wasabi (the green stuff) and ginger (the orange slivers).  They are optional and something to consider down the road.  If used incorrectly, they can overwhelm the sushi.

4. Dip the sushi lightly in soy sauce.  A little splash will do just fine.

 

Matt,

 

Thank you for this ..... I love pretty much everything but haven't been able to bring myself to trying sushi (heck, I even love raw oysters.... that's the Maryland in me).

Tyna, my wife loves sushi, and we LOVE Izumi (I got the beef that was cooked table side on the hot stone -- It was amazing) --- but on the next trip, I may just have to follow your lead. 

 

Every ingredient you mentioned, I like, just in other forms and foods.  What have I got to lose, a cruise is the perfect opportunity to try new things.

 

Mark

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It took me a long time to try sushi, what got me going was to get something cooked.  Like tempura, I'm still not too much on the raw part but can do some but once they cook it I'm good.

Good point.  When in doubt, if it's fried, it will taste good. I mean, I dare you to find anything fried that doesn't taste good!  :P

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I guess this is my beginner ignorance, but how big are these sushi rolls?  "Finger food" was mentioned earlier, so are the slices small enough to be single bites that you pop in your whole or are the pieces more than one bite?  Also how many rolls or pieces would be considered a normal meal?  Wife wife always makes fun of me that my "normal meal" is not the average "normal meal" because I am a former football lineman and currently a coach that weighs 280 pounds. I just don't want to appear to be glutton or at the same time leave hungry.  

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I guess this is my beginner ignorance, but how big are these sushi rolls?  "Finger food" was mentioned earlier, so are the slices small enough to be single bites that you pop in your whole or are the pieces more than one bite?  Also how many rolls or pieces would be considered a normal meal?  Wife wife always makes fun of me that my "normal meal" is not the average "normal meal" because I am a former football lineman and currently a coach that weighs 280 pounds. I just don't want to appear to be glutton or at the same time leave hungry.  

Well I run 180 and can eat 2 rolls.  I've seen them come with as few as 4 pieces and as many as 10.  Depends on the roll and the chef.  For you, I would think 3 roll would get you by.  But you can always order more...

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I guess this is my beginner ignorance, but how big are these sushi rolls? "Finger food" was mentioned earlier, so are the slices small enough to be single bites that you pop in your whole or are the pieces more than one bite? Also how many rolls or pieces would be considered a normal meal? Wife wife always makes fun of me that my "normal meal" is not the average "normal meal" because I am a former football lineman and currently a coach that weighs 280 pounds. I just don't want to appear to be glutton or at the same time leave hungry.

With most "basic" rolls (tuna, spicy tuna, salmon, etc), the pieces are small enough to fit in your mouth. There are some specialty rolls, like the dragon roll (tuna, salmon, and yellowtail, plus thin-sliced avocado wrapping the rice), that are going to make you think you're playing "chubby bunnies" after popping a piece. And then there are "giant rolls" like tempura shrimp that have slices around an inch and a half across and half an inch thick that really require two bites to eat.

 

Typical number of slices per roll, as already said, is six or eight. Seems to depend on the chef and how he was trained. But the total length before slicing is always around 8". I range between 190 and 210 depending on how badly I'm doing with dessert management (😉), and if I'm just doing rolls I usually have 3 (18-24 pieces). If I'm combining rolls and nigiri, then I usually have just one roll and get around 12-15 pieces of nigiri.

 

Do be aware sushi is similar in rep to Chinese food, at least for me. It's really good and leaves you feeling full, but an hour or two later you may find yourself feeling hungry again. I recommend reducing that risk by accompanying the meal with a generous portion of sake. ðŸ˜

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I guess this is my beginner ignorance, but how big are these sushi rolls?  "Finger food" was mentioned earlier, so are the slices small enough to be single bites that you pop in your whole or are the pieces more than one bite?  Also how many rolls or pieces would be considered a normal meal?  Wife wife always makes fun of me that my "normal meal" is not the average "normal meal" because I am a former football lineman and currently a coach that weighs 280 pounds. I just don't want to appear to be glutton or at the same time leave hungry.  

Most sushi rolls are around 8 pieces in size (give or take 2 pieces).  2 rolls is an average meal and 3 will leave you feeling full.  In my glory days, I could pack away 4 rolls but that would require a nap after.

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RedRambler -

 

Everyone here has given you great advice.  If you've never eaten sushi before, my advice is to start out with things that are cooked.  They are still served "sushi style" so you get the drift and can get your training wheels.  You can pick them up and eat them by hand or with your chopsticks.  That would be California rolls (with cooked cold crabmeat), Tempura rolls (with fried shrimp), vegetable rolls (cucumber for example), spider rolls (with panfried soft-shell crab), tamago or tamagoyaki (which has cold cooked omelets inside), pieces with sea eel (which is always cooked) or smoked salmon.   Don't be afraid to ask your server, but if you start with cooked pieces, you can feel comfortable and then graduate to the raw stuff (which you will eventually love). 

 

Kudos for trying new foods!

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I've also opted to try Izumi on this our first ever cruise. I love sushi and could easily make a meal of it. Although my wife likes sushi, will only have a piece or two and is satisfied. Nice to see a variety including salads and "hot rock" options. I think this would be a good choice for those who aren't sure if they like sushi to add a roll or two along with other menu items. I've decided that I'm going to try something different at each meal that I've never tried before. At least in most of the restaurants on board, if you don't like it, just get something else. Explore and enjoy!

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The udon and ramens are also quite good as an alternative.

 

 

They have ramen?!?

 

Dammit, now you've forced me into booking a cruise on a ship with a true Izumi on board and not just Izumi express. Lucky for me, Anthem has one and I'm already planning on that Bermuda cruise next year. ;)

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They have ramen?!?

 

Dammit, now you've forced me into booking a cruise on a ship with a true Izumi on board and not just Izumi express. Lucky for me, Anthem has one and I'm already planning on that Bermuda cruise next year. ;)

They do with the pork, soft boiled egg, etc.

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They have ramen?!?

 

Dammit, now you've forced me into booking a cruise on a ship with a true Izumi on board and not just Izumi express. Lucky for me, Anthem has one and I'm already planning on that Bermuda cruise next year. ;)

 

They had a ramen dish that was served in a mildly-spicy coconut milk that was really good.  My son had it, and I wish I could have ordered a small bowl as a side....but I was too full by that point. :)

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OK.  First things.  

 

On your plate in addition to the sushi rolls, you will see a small, thumb-sized pile of green dough.  That is to cleanse your palate.  Just pop it in your mouth and roll it around to prepare your tongue for all the flavors....

 

Okay just kidding.  When one of my friends first went for sushi, he did not realize it was wasabi, a horse-radish condiment that you mix in with the soy sauce to give it a little kick.  If you try it undiluted, you'll get a kick alright!  He swallowed it whole!

 

This is a good instructional:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqJHjulSheI

 

The following is for fun.  do not follow this as real sushi ettiquite:

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