One hour before the main visitors land for supper, Chef Tomonori Nagai remains over his cypress hangiri, an enormous level bottomed wooden tub used to get ready shari, sushi rice. This shari is the establishment of each bit of nigiri and a basic component to exceptional sushi. Nagai mixes two kinds of Koshikari rice, from Akita and Toyama prefectures, prepared generously with two distinct sorts of matured red vinegar from Chiba and Tokyo. In the event that you stroll by the splendid Ellis Street retail facade in the late evening before administration starts, you may discover him mixing, at that point fanning the rice to chill it off to the ideal temperature. The exactness and care that Nagai provides for his valuable rice foretells the valid Edomae-style omakase that is standing by.
Nagai is from the seaside city of Iwaki, in the Fukushima prefecture, and his dad, granddad and extraordinary granddad were all anglers. He figured out how to appropriately cut fish at age 10, working close to his dad in the fish advertise, and was enlivened to turn into a culinary expert subsequent to watching “Iron Chef” as a secondary school understudy. Presently, in the wake of working for Chef Morimoto in Honolulu and at Shinji by Kanesaka in Tokyo and Singapore, 42-year-old Nagai is running his own namesake eatery in San Francisco, a 20-seat sushi counter serving a 18-course omakase.
Numerous sushi eateries add sugar to their shari to temper the vinegar’s causticity, however Nagai shuns this methodology, depending on vinegar and kelp salt for the tart flavor. His mystery for including a trace of sweetness is a pinch of Japanese sweet purpose and mirin. These unpretentious subtleties probably won’t be perceptible to the normal coffee shop, yet each detail comes full circle in a progression of superbly adjusted nibbles that highlight the intrinsic flavors and surfaces of various kinds of fish.
Up to this point, the main neighborhood California fixings that show up on the menu are new wasabi root from Half Moon Bay Wasabi and reasonably cultivated American white sturgeon caviar from Tsar Nicoulai Caviar. Everything else is imported from Japan, from sauces to mountain yam for the castella-like tamago. All fish is sourced only from Toyosu Market, with uncommon rarities like tairagai pen shell scallop and mehikari greeneye, a little fish served singed entire, showing up a few times each week.
Indeed, even the youthful ginger is flown in from Kochi Prefecture and salted in house. It’s crunchier and has a more keen chomp than the dainty cuts of ginger ordinarily served in the United States.
Thatcher Baker-Briggs, previous refreshment chief at Saison Hospitality Group, has counseled on the keen wine and purpose list and is helping Sushi Nagai source uncommon containers. A glass of champagne is constantly a decent backup to sushi, however settle on a purpose matching in case you’re down to take a stab at something new. There are rounder sakes, with a rich surface for California chardonnay fans and indecent finely cleaned junmai daiginjo from Matsumoto Shuzo in Kyoto that is progressively like a splendid riesling. Cook Briggs went through two years working in Tokyo and says that as opposed to what you would figure, the nature of the water is a higher priority than the rice assortment with regards to fermenting purpose. Request to taste purpose from Akita prefecture, where all the water utilized is snow liquefy.