Nothing to do with sushi – Vedomosti

In Japan, the homeland of sushi, they are prepared according to well-established canons: exceptionally fresh fish, rice mixed with vinegar (this is done to preserve the freshness of rice), the ability to evaluate the texture of the ingredients. The Japanese art of enjoying nature in all its manifestations is embodied in cuisine, where the freshness of ingredients and the naturalness of taste are of critical importance.

Having migrated to the West, primarily to the United States, sushi faced the fact that in Western culture the idea of ​​u200bu200bfresh fish on the table is practically absent. Japanese chefs had to adapt their techniques to the demands of the public. So, in the 1970s in Los Angeles, chefs Ken Seusa and Ichiro Manashita came up with the first Western roll – “California”. The combination of crab, avocado and cucumber made it an instant hit. Bright taste, ingredients almost screaming about the well-being and high status of the eater, and catchy design turned California into the mainstream, from which the idea of ​​​​all modern super rolls took shape.

The bigger, more unusual and attractive, the better, – something like that it sounds. These rolls have absolutely nothing to do with real Japanese cuisine with its tradition of wabi-sabi, admiring every piece of food, albeit almost tasteless, but pleasing in shape, color or texture. Cream cheese, BBQ sauce, tempura shrimp, mayonnaise, fried chicken, steak and blue cheese, asparagus and ham, even the butter itself – all of which are found in sushi chefs invented on both sides of the Atlantic. Now, side dishes and salads are being added to them, or they are trying to give them a new form, such as a burger.

Gradually growing, the trend came to Moscow a few years ago. In the isakai [KU:] prepare wagyu sushi: a juicy slice of marbled beef ribs with wafu sauce on a rice ball. At Tokyo Sushi, you can find sushi with foie gras and fresh raspberries with beetroot sauce and a roll with crab and sea urchin caviar seasoned with truffle oil. The Peshi fish restaurant fantasizes about not only the filling of rolls, but also sauces for them: its menu includes a black roll with spicy apple, shrimp and salmon with onion sauce and a roll with pomegranate sauce, eel and mango. At Sakhalin, sushi chef Aleksey Kogay adds sea urchin caviar, mango, avocado, wasabi and Thursday salt to the roll with yellowtail, and the vegan roll is made from rice, avocado, iceberg and pickled daikon.

This year, several restaurants entirely dedicated to non-classical sushi appeared in Moscow at once. One of them is a project from St. Petersburg Subzero. In Moscow, on Petrovka, his flagship restaurant and izakaya bar opened. Eduard Lunin, co-owner of Subzero, does not hide the fact that the team was inspired by the Berlin Asian fusion restaurants Dudu and Dudu 13. They spied on the concept of combining ingredients from around the world in one dish, the idea of ​​breaded panko and deep-fried crunch rolls and absorbed the general spirit of the establishment , for the sake of which since 2017 people have specially traveled to St. Petersburg Subzero from Moscow. “The format has become fashionable and successful, in my opinion, for three reasons,” says Lunin. – Firstly, it’s really tasty – tasteless food does not become fashionable. Secondly, this is unusual – everyone is tired of the classic sushi restaurants of various levels, which have been opened in large numbers since the beginning of the 2000s. Finally, it’s photogenic – in the age of Instagram, that’s important too.”

The super hit of the menu of the two cities is the Rainbow rolls with avocado, crab, salmon, tuna and shrimp. It is served under a head of mixed salad, topped with shavings of daikon and microgreens, and topped with tobiko caviar. Such a side dish accompanies all Subzero special rolls – it is this side dish, as well as sauces that are absent in the classic sushi serving, that determine the taste profile of the restaurant menu. So, crunch rolls are served on a pillow of guacamole with garlic-mustard-soy sauce, green chili sauce and sesame salad dressing. Tataki rolls (this category contains rolls filled with mango, papaya and cream cheese, flavored with a portion of tuna or salmon tataki) are poured with guacamole and sauces of cilantro and green chili. It is simply impossible to distinguish the taste of the main ingredients behind such sonorous additives. However, for new rolls, this is not important, but the overall impression that the food makes.

Restaurateur Alexei Rodionov-Zrazhevsky, speaking about Japanese cuisine adapted by Western culture, notes its clear division into European and American styles. European, he says, is characterized by multi-layered variations, but more on the theme of classic rolls with all sorts of additives in the form of fresh herbs, fruits, radishes, salads, nuts, etc. These are usually less high-calorie options, but certainly with a certain pomp and “multi-story “. America gravitates towards large portions (they say that in the USA there is a general love for everything large-scale), visual elaboration of dishes and hybridization with food formats familiar to the American consumer. This is how sushi tacos, sushi burgers, sushi towers, multi-layer rolls with thick sauces and all kinds of toppings appear.

It is on them that the Gorilla by Basta menu is built, in which Rodionov-Zrazhevsky is a co-founder together with the artist Vasily Vakulenko, known under the stage name Basta. In a neon glow (it should resemble the lights of a night city), under the tracks of Vakulenko’s electronic project Gorilla Zippo, on trays and coasters welded from industrial steel, rolls with the telling names “Sweet Shrimp”, “Caramel Philadelphia”, “Truffle Tuna” are served here. The signature 1.1kg Gorilla Roll combines cucumber, pickled daikon and mayonnaise-blended crab wrapped in mamenori, a green soy paper commonly used for desserts. The giant sushi burger is designed for the most severe hunger: wrapped in nori and deep-fried rice “buns” of immodest sizes, tempura shrimp, chuka seaweed, and crab filling are packed.

“We tried and experimented with our recipes for more than six months,” says Rodionov-Zrazhevsky. – With the outward obviousness of the forms, many things turned out to be much more difficult, because our task was not just to present a lot of ingredients in one plate, but to build dishes that were really unusual and bright in taste. Non-classical sushi is an example of how a dish outside its own country is transformed and becomes much larger than the tradition that gave birth to it. And it seems that the neo-rolls have a much more exciting future than one might imagine in the heat of the debate about how Japanese in spirit they remain.”


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