There is no doubt in my mind that fugu is one of those fish experiences that almost tops truffles. Entering Ajiman you find the crowd getting drunk on hirezaki. I admit it isn’t my favorite, its like drinking alcohol with fish infused and it hits you like a bomb – kaboom /!!!/ for real.
Ajiman’s clients vary from businessmen entertaining VIP’s, or with girlfriends, to celebrities. In fact the first time I was taken there it was with a Japanese celebrity. At that time I thought it was very good but somehow took it off my list. True I know more charming restaurants over Ajiman given it is very bright inside. Then you need a wad of cash, yes a handsome sum of /pin-sat-su/ clean bills to pay as its cash only.
The fugu action at Ajiman is swift as the chef and helpers work opposite clients and it isn’t intimate unless you have a private room. But never the less, you can carve out your own private space at the counter, and sit back and enjoy fantastic quality fugu.
One thing to remember, this is old-fashioned, non pretentious styled fugu, a family run business and the fugu is cut rather thick in comparison to what I am used to. There are two schools of thought on fugu slicing, one thick and the other thin. While my preferences is more often the thin cut, I do appreciate the thicker cut flesh and believe it is just as good. The chewy quality of thicker cut flesh makes the experience very different. It is hard to imagine that the cut plays such an important role, but it does.
If you love ankimo passed through a micro screen and mixed in a suribachi: http://mesubim.com/2013/01/13/suribachi/ with the holy trinity – then you can feast on it throughout the meal.
No doubt fugu is matched with fresh chopped onion and or ponzu mixed with karai, a mild red tinge. The meal is an exploratory food journey, it takes you on a journey through the entire anatomy. You have at your disposal three essential ingredients at all times; ponzu, asatsuki chopped finely and some karai to add a zing.
The nabe served near the end assures any client that you are finished and into the last stretch of the meal. I am really very full and the hot soup is served with pieces of flesh and bone is symbolic of the meals end. I suppose the heat helps digestion but we are filled to the brim. The chef warned me about the quantity of food and he was right.
Some fugu lovers continue to get smashed enjoying the hirezake, the fugu fin is grilled over a flame until charred and then put into a cup of hot saké to steep – a fire bomb! I pass it over and finish with rice and nabe.
There is no doubt that Ajiman is excellent and worthy of a visit – enjoy fugu while in season and don’t forget to carry cash and a smile. Oh you’ll need to practice Japanese as there is no english spoken.