(That Thing I Do)

Season of Sashimi (Valentine’s/CNY Sets @ Nagomi, Jaya 33/Menara Hap Seng)

If there’s one thing almost every girl I have ever encountered has in common, it is their propensity to squee at and swoon over Japanese food. Though the logic behind the female fascination towards Japanese food escapes me, it does not prevent me from harnessing this truth to my advantage.

Apparently, I’m not the only one aware of this female soft-spot. The sly people at Nagomi Japanese Restaurant are also leveraging on this “secret” knowledge. Dubbed the Lover’s Bento (RM99++) , Nagomi’s Valentine’s Day set seems deviously tailored to the desires of a woman. But of course, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be able to savour it myself.

Lover’s Bento (available at Nagomi Jaya 33 and Menara Hap Seng only, Feb 11-14 2011)

While not exactly pure authentic Japanese cuisine, Nagomi’s Valentine’s set was not compromising in quality. After all, this is a set that’s meant to impress (and you’re paying a pretty penny for it!). As my 6-course bento was presented before me, I mentally scanned my tray for the appetizer. With almost childish satisfaction, I began with the seabass crackers, which I nibbled away with almost childish fervor as I simultaneously decided which course to attack after I was done with my appetizer.

Soba soft-shell crab salad

My curiosity led me to the soba salad with soft-shell crab, which turned me into that swooning, squeeing girl that I had earlier mentioned, just for the duration that it remained on my platter. It was an unusual fusion, combining the appeal of soft-shell crab, cold soba, and a bold sauce that kept me guessing. The sauce resembled sour cream and onion. I found myself cleaning the sauce cup with my fingers and licking my fingers clean without shame. Dare you to resist doing the same!

Love Sushi Roll

The Love Sushi Roll was an interesting rendition of fusion sushi, with avocado, strawberry and cheese – a combination that oddly seemed to work, with a little bit of creamy, a little bit of harshness, a little bit of sweetness, a little bit of starchiness, a little bit of juiciness, and a little bit of sourness. Pretty how much love is meant to be, I suppose. Tell that to your date for bonus romantic points.

Grilled King Prawn with White Sauce

I’ve never been a fan of prawns – the bigger, the worse. I must’ve said this a thousand times now. It’s mainly that prawny smell that just doesn’t take with me, and also the fact that I have to work my way through the shell to get to the flesh. Aces to Nagomi for making it quick work for me by splitting these giant sea critters open (thus eliminating the need to peel), and baking it with white sauce (thus balancing out the prawny smell). I may not have eaten many prawns in my day, but I can tell a fresh prawn apart, and this was definitely very fresh. I admit – I wanted more of this!

As far as appeal to female-kind is concerned, the cream of the crop in Japanese dining – as far as I have been able to observe – would be sashimi .

Sashimi! Sashimi! Sashimi!

My apologies, I was trying to see what would happen if I chanted those magical words repeatedly. Instead of having a Japanese beauty magically appear before me, it only managed to make me feel hungry. Was worth a try. The Lover’s Bento at Nagomi comes in abundance and in two varieties of fish – salmon, and tuna. Personally I prefer the tuna for its chunkier bite and its flavor. Salmon is a bit to smooth for me, but that’s a matter of personal preference. Uncompromising in freshness and in good quantity, the sashimisingle-handedly justified the price of the set.

Chinese New Year sashimi yee sang (available at Nagomi Jaya 33 and Menara Hap Seng only, Jan 18-Feb 20 2011)

While waiting for the romantic tradition of Valentine’s Day is all fine and dandy, one shouldn’t need to wait to have sashimi . I know for a fact, Chinese people in Malaysia are ever-keen to make any excuse to have yee sang sessions, one after another. Yee sanggreatly varies from restaurant to restaurant, so there’s little reason – financial concerns aside – to not indulge in a continuous string of yee sang sessions.

More fish than a Japanese fisherman’s net.

The sashimi yee sang at Nagomi delivers abundance when it comes to the proportion ofsashimi to the other ingredients. With plenty of salmon, tuna, amberjack and sea bass, it easily justifies the RM48++ price tag for a 2-pax portion. While the ingredients are a little more intense than I prefer my yee sang (I prefer it mild and balanced), I find it hard to complain with the good variety and quantity of sashimi offered.

Remember, boys and girls – use the power of sashimi responsibly.

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