After working for nearly twenty years at the great Japanese restaurant Nobu, Chef Toshio Tomita has opened his own sushi bar, where all the dishes are prepared in full view of the customers.
Leaning on the wooden counter of this small restaurant in the East Village, we have already tasted five dishes, including a sashimi daringly accompanied by a shiso chimichurri (green salad dressed with coriander sauce), when Chef Toshio Tomita presents us with a square of aotobi nori, a mixture of black and green seaweed that we have to use to make our own spring roll. Apart from this little interactive task, Tomita-San (Mr Tomita) is also very proud of having discovered some unusual varieties of fish, such as the nodogur with its thick but tender white flesh. Toshio Tomita only uses seasonal Japanese ingredients, which he chooses and imports specially for Cagen. For his sushi and sashimi, he also serves a “fish of the day” that has arrived from Japan during the night! Tomita grew up in Tokyo and began his apprenticeship at the age of fifteen in restaurants in Niigata and Tokyo. There he learned the culinary art of kaiseki, high-quality meals that use only the best parts of the freshest ingredients.
Chef Tomita arrived in the United States twenty-eight years ago, working first as sushi chef at 212 restaurant in New York, where the cuisine is a fusion of French and Japanese, then at Yamaguchi and Hiro-Chan, two Japanese restaurants in Manhattan, and finally, from 1996, at Nobu, where he became a mainstay, contributing his vast knowledge of Japanese cooking. He has also taken part in the preparation of meals for official receptions attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and the Dalai Lama, to name but a few. This extraordinary Japanese chef definitely deserves a visit.