June 21, 2007
Back to Jinpachi
I found out about a month ago that I need to get my cholesterol down. I exercise a lot, and I weigh very little, but it seems that even though I’m not visibly fat at all, my arteries are “chubby.” It’s a bummer of genetics.
I’ve changed my diet somewhat, adding more fish and reducing the amount of red meat and fried stuff that I eat. It’s been a minor challenge — but not in all areas. Fortunately, one thing I’m supposed to eat more of is fish. Unfortunately, my favorite way to eat fish is as sushi — and it’s expensive. But oh, so yummy.
This morning, I had some follow-up blood work to make sure all is improving, so last night, to “prepare,” AEJ and I went once again to our favorite sushi place, Jinpachi, over in West Hollywood. Last time, I took the beast of a camera, and spent more time trying to get into a good position for a good shot than I did enjoying the sushi. This time, I brought the old PowerShot SD800IS. (One funny thing — because we brought the Canon XTi with the huge 24-105mm F4 L on our first visit, the sushi chef and the waiter remember us. Now we feel like regulars. Granted, three visits there in a month will do that… It’ll also make you broke. Anybody wanna buy a marching license?)
Usually we start with the edamame, but this time we mixed it up with some assorted vegetable tempura.
Here is some blue fin tuna and some melt-in-your-mouth yellowtail. (I’m pretty sure “melt-in-your-mouth” is the scientific name for it.)
AEJ and I had two different takes on spicy tuna. AEJ had Spicy Tuna Tartar — hand mixed spicy tuna with radish sprouts and wasabi ponzu sauce.
I went with the traditional spicy tuna roll. We sat at the sushi bar this time, and it was fun to watch the chef hand-mix the spicy tuna. Best spicy tuna roll I’ve ever had.
I’m also a big fan of the eel and avocado roll. Again, this iteration was the best I’ve tasted. The eel was hot and lightly crispy, the avocado was cold, and the sweet sauce was tasty tasty. What’s in that eel barbecue sauce? How can it be so good? I thought I tasted a hint of meth, but maybe I imagined it.
Whereas some places have funky takes on sushi like a deep fried salmon and cream cheese roll (which, I’ll admit, I like), Jinpachi keeps it clean. Here’s one of our favorites that we order every time — Japanese red snapper with garlic chips, yuzu, Hawaiian sea salt, and chili sauce. The flavor and texture of the tiny garlic chip totally makes it.
And here’s the other special sushi dish that we get every time — yellowtail with jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, yuzu, and soy sauce. Spicy and bright. Lordy, it’s good.
Usually after we have dinner at Jinpachi, we go across the street to Pinkberry for dessert. (Our favorite: regular flavored Pinkberry with Coco Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles.) The owner/chef of Jinpachi is married to the restaurant’s dessert chef, Tomoko Obake, who used to work at Spago, and since we were sitting at the sushi bar last night, we felt a little more guilt about having our dessert elsewhere. So, we ordered a chocolate souffle with a molten center, fresh whipped cream, homemade green tea ice cream, and fresh strawberries.. It was mad delicious. The presentation was also beautiful. I’ve never had dessert like this at a Japanese restaurant. Incredible stuff.
Jinpachi is one of my favorite restaurants anywhere. Why does it have to cost $100 for dinner? (I’m not suggesting that it’s overpriced for what it is; it’s just overpriced for what I can afford to eat as often as I’d like.) I’m trying to decide if I can write a piece about sushi, and use my meals at Jinpachi as tax-deductible “research.” The IRS would totally go for that, right?