Okonomi Part 2: The Hook Up For Fresh Fish
Hello! Welcome back to Part 2 of this post. In case you didn’t read Part 1, we're talking about Okonomi in Brooklyn, NYC. This 12-14 seat restaurant opened in mid-2014. Okonomi is a unique Japanese dining experience, focusing on freshness and quality.
During the day, it serves a breakfast/lunch ichiju-sansai, or set menu, that includes fish, soup, rice, and several small side dishes. Each day, fresh ingredients are delivered from local markets. If you're interested in reading more about the side dishes and other interesting facts about Okonomi, read our last post here.
IMPORTANT: Okonomi and Yuji Ramen do not take reservations. Since we've only been here for breakfast, we recommend that you come at around 9:40AM before they open. Otherwise, you might have to wait a while.
Anyways, let's start talking about the food. During our visit, they were offering 3 types of fish prepared in their own special way. There was a Spanish Mackerel Shioyaki, Tuna Donburi, and Kombu Cured Perch. Regardless of what we ordered, each entree came with a bunch of seasonal side dishes, miso soup, and six grain rice.
My mom got the Spanish Mackerel Shioyaki (pictured above), which was salted and roasted in the oven.
Let me tell you about Mackerel though. Its flavor is absolutely ambrosial given its strong, savory goodness. Mackerel is an oily fish, rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that fight against risk of heart disease and joint pain. So, if you're feeling like poop, eat Mackerel to be healthy AND happy... or just look at a picture of my biceps. Anyways, Okonomi makes some pretty solid Mackerel Shioyaki. It's practically only seasoned with salt so you get a lot of rich, natural flavor. I'd say it's the best way to appreciate this rockstar of a fish.
Steph got the Kombu Cured Perch. Also known as Kobujime, the process of curing fish using Kombu, or dried sea kelp, has been around for hundreds of years. It is used to drain the water out of the fish. But, don't fret! Less water doesn't mean less flavor. Curing enhances the texture and concentrates the flavor of the fish. In the past, curing was actually used to preserve the fish. By lowering the water content, curing actually inhibits the growth of bacteria. WOW. Science.
Kombu also has a very neutral flavor so it doesn't distract you from the awesome flavor of the fish. Anyway, Okonomi prepared this really well. Similar to Snapper, Perch is a firm, white fish that is mild in flavor.
Lastly, I got the Wild Bluefin Tuna from North Carolina. It's served as sashimi over rice. The thing about sashimi and sushi is that you can't add too many ingredients and crazy flavors. Otherwise, you're not really enjoying the fish. Okonomi put just the right amount of other ingredients in this donburi. It was flavored with a sweet soy sauce, fresh ginger, nori (seaweed), and shiso leaf. I LOVE shiso. The flavor is hard to describe. It's on the herbaceous side, as if mint, basil, and anise had a weird baby called shiso. I like eating shiso as a garnish rather than an actual dish. Anyway, thanks for reading. I hope you guys end up trying this place out. :)
BONUS: They do not accept tip similar to other traditional Japanese restaurants.