At Zauo, Diners Can Catch Their Own Dinners

“It’s catch-and-relish, not catch-and-release, at this new Japanese import. Customers can opt for baited hooks to snag rainbow trout, salmon trout, fluke, shrimp, flounder, farmed striped bass, rockfish, lobster or abalone swimming in the pools. Or a staff member can lend a hand. (Prices are $16 to $125 if they do the fishing, and $12 to $110 if you fish.) The chefs then prepare the seafood to order, salt-grilled, simmered in soy sauce, sashimi or tempura. Whimsically instructive menu cards provide guidance. The restaurant, which has 13 locations in Japan, was introduced there in 1993 by a company called Harbor House: The New York restaurant is its first branch outside that country. Takuya Takahashi, whose father was the founder, is president of the New York branch. A narrow but soaring space, the restaurant has a fish tank opposite the bar on the ground floor, and two more tanks on a loftlike second floor. The hull of an immense, hand-built polished wooden boat hangs from the ceiling. In addition to the freshly caught seafood, the menu offers a vast array of Japanese standbys, mostly seafood, including salads, sushi, hand rolls and rice and noodle dishes”.

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NYC Restaurants are Required to Freeze Raw Fish

sashimi-resizedSushi restaurants have lured gourmands by boasting of the freshest fish. But with new regulations, published by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, restaurants are required that fish served raw, undercooked or marinated raw are to be frozen first to guard against parasites. This regulations has been approved by the Board of Health and will be set to take effect in August. The Health Department regulation is that fish will be required a minimum freezer storage time of anywhere from 15 hours to a week depending not eh temperatures and storage process.

Though customers might be distasteful at their “fresh” fish coming from a freezer, the truth is that many chefs in NYC’s top restaurants have long used frozen fish to prevent serving their raw fare with a side of pathogens. “We purposely deep-freeze at negative 83 degrees, and we use one of those medical cryogenic freezers, this way it’s kind of like cooking, but instead of using heat we use freezing to remove parasites or bacteria on the outer surface.” says Yuta Suzuki, vice president of Sushi Zen. Even with these public regulations, because many restaurants have already been utilizing freezing as a method of pasteurizing, chefs believe it won’t take too much effect on their process of cooking. Moreover, frozen fish are free of parasites, and also cheaper, available out of season and sometimes even tastier.

To read more on NYC’s new regulations on Raw fish, click here