From Japan to Los Angeles, Hiroshi Shima has been making sushi for a long time. For nearly 15 years he’s held the position at the Innovative Dining Group as the Executive Sushi Chef commanding all five Sushi Roku restaurants. Hiroshi was also a guest judge in 2006 on Bravo’s Top Chef where contestants had to make sushi. So who better to talk about sushi than this veteran chef. We connected with Hiroshi where he gave us some tips on what makes good sushi.
Vinegar and salt
Sushi, a Japanese staple, consists of cooked rice with a touch of rice wine vinegar combined with (most commonly) seafood. In L.A., sushi can be found from a strip mall in the Valley to a high-end Japanese restaurant such as Katana (also by the Innovative Dining Group). Sushi in Japanese means “Su” for vinegar and “Shi” for salt. But sushi is much more than just California rolls, it is a serious matter, such as the importance of choosing a desirable fish. “When looking for sushi quality fish there are a few tell-tale signs to look for. First, the fish’s eye should be very clear and never opaque. The gills should also be a vivid bloody red ensuring that the fish was recently caught. Another easy sign is to observe the body of the fish, as it should glisten with scales and stiffen,” Hiroshi says.
In Japanese culture, sushi is the equivalent of a sandwich and is traditionally eaten with your fingers. Aside from the manner in which you eat sushi and the quality of the raw fish, what is the ultimate secret to good sushi? Hiroshi tells us, “There are two key things to crafting the ‘perfect’ sushi; the amount of salt and vinegar.”
While Hiroshi Shima likes to stick to tradition, he’s not afraid to venture out and incorporate nontraditional ingredients on his menu. Guests of Sushi Roku can now find an updated food menu at all three L.A. locations featuring appetizers using locally sourced ingredients like the Halibut Sashimi made with Mandarinquats and Yuzu vinaigrette, a selection of 20+ hand or cut rolls, and entree items like the Surf & Turf with Kobe New York Steak “Japonais” and half a Maine lobster or the Bamboo-Steamed Striped Bass with Ginger Soy, Sugar Snap Peas, and Baby Bok Choy.