Mr. T is a person I refer to in my many sushi postings. In fact I’ve known Mr. T for as along as I’ve been coming to Japan and I consider him one of the finest sushi chefs. Not only his technique, as he says with a smile “no technique” but because of the rice balance and quality and size of the fish he uses.
His origins are from the school of Mizutani and Jiro but his focus has always been to serve his clients as a first priority and never compromise them in any way. He does not take street traffic and he does not often have many new clients but that’s the way he likes it. You would think he is after the new roster of the young Japanese but he’s not. Working with his wife for the past 38 years, they are winding down and enjoy the semi-retirement way of life. No apprentice and no one to take over his shop, it will pass in the memory bank as being one of those Japanese memories.
His fish are always small and that sticks out in my mind whenever I speak about it. Some thirty years ago, I was on a Greek island when I discovered the rock lobster. This is a lobster indigenous to the Mediterranean and has no claws. After a summer of diving and enjoying the pleasures of the Aegean, I discovered that the best lobsters are the females.
It’s not difficult to tell which is a female if you check the body and the swimmerets. They are often smaller than the male counter part and certainly better in taste. The lobster female and male lobsters each play a specific role in the mating ritual. Female lobsters grow more slowly, often going several years between molts, one sign of a female.
The female remains in the male’s den until her new shell hardens and then she departs. She wanders for several months before laying her eggs and fertilizing them using the sperm stored in her sperm receptacle. She secretes a sticky substance that binds the eggs to her tail, where they will remain for nine to 11 months. During this time she cares for the eggs by fanning them with fresh, oxygenated water. When they are ready to hatch, she raises her tail and releases the eggs into the current.
So the bigger the fish means more swimming. Just as veal is very special, the younger-smaller is often the better.