Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Onikoroshi

One of the many great experiences we had last weekend on the Monterey peninsula was our last stop on the way out of town. My wife's family was visiting from the Midwest, and one of the things they always crave when they visit here is sushi. So we took them to our favorite sushi bar down there, Sakura.

We've been to Sakura quite a few times, and it has several things going for it:
  • It's open quite late.
  • It caters to locals more than tourists.
  • Kazu, the owner and chef, is a kind, friendly host.
  • He grills his unagi on the spot, and it's fabulous.
  • His other nigiri sushi is very fresh and tasty, too.
And really, what more could you ask from a sushi bar?

As a group of seven, ranging from a five-year-old to two teens to four adults, we could have been a nightmare in some restaurants, but after we ordered and consumed 15 pieces of unagi, 15 pieces of wonderful hamachi, a dozen of maguro, one of Kazu's special avocado rolls covered with unagi, and a couple of other things (and several bottle of the house sake), we were still welcome guests. In fact, Kazu offered t-shirts (he designs them himself, and they're beautiful) to the youngsters. And of course, we ordered more hot sake. And some more unagi and hamachi for "dessert."

As we were finishing our desserts, Kazu came and sat with us, bringing a large bottle of sake with him, insisting that we must try his sake. It was delicious.
It's called "Onikoroshi," which translates to something like "killing the demon" or "demon slaying." We chatted about sake and sushi and demons and all sorts of things as we tasted his sake and finished ours and our dinner.

That's it. There's no punch line or moral or anything. But we sure had a terrific time, and of course, we will be back.

And if you'd like a more objective view, here's a review from the local weekly.

[Updated 17 July to "correct" spelling and add graphic.]

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