Thanks to my friend Chiz over at Sake Discoveries, I was recently able to get a front row seat to something unusual – a bluefin tuna butchering at Inakaya Restaurant. Now, I know the mere mention of bluefin tuna sets off all kinds of eco alarm bells for those of us rightly worried about overfishing and depleted oceans, but this was tuna with a twist. A product of Ten-Qoo Maguro, this tuna was billed as the first farm raised, environmentally friendly and sustainable bluefin tuna production in the world.
When I arrived, we were greeted with a wooden masu full of Sawanotsuru Junmai Genshu as a welcome sake. The 70 lb tuna was laid out on the table and I snagged a front row seat to catch all the Kill Bill action close up. If you’ve ever filleted a whole fish at home, it’s just like that, but just a whole lot bigger.
The first step was to remove the head, which was held aloft triumphantly, once it was finally separated from the body. Next the fins and then the top flank were removed to essentially cut the fish horizontally in half and expose the backbone. Next, the other flank was removed and the tail and backbone finally removed.
The big hunks of tuna were then quickly processed down into smaller uniform slabs and removed to the kitchen. Before I knew it, there was very fresh o-toro sushi in front of me ready to eat! Now I know why sushi is considered the original fast food! The taste? it was delicious. And great to enjoy with the Junmai Genshu from Sawanotsuru Brewery.
If you want to see the spectacle of a huge tuna fillet for yourself, Inakaya is offering two more shows on August 17 and 24th, 2012. Check the Urban Sake Event Calendar for details.