Based in Toronto, Ontario, Nancy Matsumoto is a writer and editor who covers sustainable agriculture, food, sake, arts and culture.

Aji Sushi

Masanori Nakamura’s Michelin-starred sushi bar is a honey-hued cocoon designed, like many other sushi restaurants of its kind, to soothe the senses and focus the taste buds. After one bite of the chef’s exquisite sushi you’ll know you’re in the hands of a master. One standout was his aji (horse mackerel) sushi. Part of the pleasure is watching Nakamura score (with lightning speed) the top of the fish tateyoko (horizontally and vertically). When it is draped over a dainty finger of vinegared rice from Niigata Prefecture, a bumpy cross-hatch pattern of silver and pink emerges. The technique renders the fish delectably silky. No vulgar soy sauce needed here; Nakamura brushes the top of the sushi with a layer of subtle nikiri, a soy sauce and sake mixture in which the sake has been cooked off. Be prepared for the exotic, too: our omakase included abalone dressed with the intestines of sea cucumber and an intensely salty, flavorful taste of fermented red sea urchin.

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