Found the sushi chef we were looking for

Sushi Yaginuma


Just across the street of Hyatt Regnecy Naha opened a new Edo-style sushi bar in May 2018.

Sushi Yaginuma




The owner chef.

We were actually looking for this young sushi chef.  He used to work for another sushi restaurant we often go to, and he told us he would leave and open his own place, but he didn’t tell us where (for the consideration for his master).  We missed his sushi and we looked for him.



In this cozy sushi bar with just 8 seats on the counter and 2 tables, he the young owner chef serves his authentic, yet creative, Omakase sushi courses that he goes great lengths to.



3 grades of Omakase sushi courses only.  JPY7000, JPY10000, and JPY15000.  

But he has got a very good variety of sake and wine.

We chose JPY10000 today.



A starter.

I was enjoying catching up with him so much that I don’t remember what it was.  Sorry.



He sliced pieces of sashimi.

The white slices is Ara, Niphon spinosus, very tasty rock cod.  Sweet flavor of the aged fish.  He offered light soy sauce infused with jalapeno, just for these 2 pieces of sashimi.



He made a Nori seaweed roll with the marinated Saba mackerel with Wasabi, sesami seeds, and ginger pulps.



Crispy top-notch Nori seaweed from Nagasaki.

The ginger pulp and Wasabi was kicking up the rich flavor of vinegrated oily mackerel.



Yuyu ordered a light dry sake.



And she’s happy.



Snow Crab, just came in season.

This is a female crab, only in season for 2 months a year, November and December.  Female is smaller and holds eggs.  He scraped all meat, eggs and what we call Kani Miso which is like a liver part of crab, and made this Umami bomb.



A mind blow of the season.



Char-grilled Unagi eel.

He cleaned and prepared the eel for several days of aging.  Slowly grilled from distant charcoals until the skin is crispy.



No fishiness. A combination of clean, oily, sweet, fluffy meat, and crispy, carameralized, flavorful skin.  How can I explain it?



Yuyu is going for another sake.  Some days of a week, a sommelier works here and chose one for your liking.  He chose light-flavored, but aged and rounded one from Nagano.



What the hell is that?  Hammon Serano???



Marbled Yellowtail, aged and smoked with rice straw.  This is a crazy piece of work.



It tastes like crazy as it looks.



What now?



This is the liver of deepsea Monkfish.  Monkfish liver is a Japanese delicacy, often described as the foie gras of the sea.

But he prepared it so well, precision doneness control to keep the creamy texture and marinated to bring out the rich flavor.  You should lick on it little by little.  You may explode if you take the whole slice because it’s so rich. 



Here comes the last pieces of sushi, starting from the sweet squid.




Baby Red Snapper, traditionally marinated with salt and vinegar, with such sexy cuts.  Such a delicate flavor.


Now I realized that his sushi rice is so delicious.

He uses a special rice, made by a farmer Nagano, who dries the rice much less than usual rice.  So it’s faster to go bad and I can’t sell it in public, but this rice holds such a juicy sweet flavor.  The sushi chef took on a challenge to make the sushi rice with just salt and vinegar.

They usually mix sugar in sushi rice, a lot of sugar actually, which saturates the total flavor but overwhelms some delicate flavors.  He didn’t want to use sugar and spoil the sweetness of this rice itself.  After countless failures, he reached to this recipe.

His sushi rice is so clear, sharp, fine-balanced flavor, not much sweet or sour or salty, but blends perfectly with fish on top.  Every bite leaves the rich rice flavor and sweetness in your mouth at the end.    

I am a rice man and I love it so much.  It was sensational to me.  I’ve never had sushi rice with no sugar.



Of course it goes well with irony flavor of Tuna red meat.



And of course it goes well with fatty melting-in-your-month Large Toro.



Vinegrated Gizzard Shad.  Just awesome.



Bloody clam with beautiful scent and crunchiness.



Fresh Sea Urchin.  No preservatives.  This one is preserved in the salt water and holds the rich creamy sweet flavor of the live sea urchin.



Steamed Anago eel with sweet teri sauce.  This teri sauce is bold and sweet with sugar like the tradition.  Just like I want it.

Anago eel is saltwater fish.  Unagi eel is freshwater fish.  Unagi has bold rich flavor with twice as much fat as Anago.  Anago has more delicate flavor.


I didn’t take the picture but when you see the egg cake served, you know that’s the end of the sushi course.  And we loved his egg cake too.  It’s right between the juicy and the fluffy.  Delicately flavored of course.



But we couldn’t stop.

We ordered an extra hand roll of the marinated Saba mackerel to finish.

I think I found my most favorite sushi on this island.





sushi Yaginuma


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