After church where my dad announced that he would be retiring as the pastor this coming June, we all went out for an early dinner. In true Korean fashion, we were going to be eating dinner immediately after having eaten lunch after church. We let my mom pick where we would eat dinner. And because I think she suspected that she would need to return me to my wife and in-laws after the meal, she picked a place that was as far away as she could think of. We went up to Stony Point, New York. In her defense, she took me to Hanabi Sushi in Stony Point, New York, which is always worth the trip.
The people who own Hanabi Sushi in Stony Point, NY are members of my dad’s church. So, whenever we go there, we don’t even get a menu. My dad just asks the sushi chef to bring out some food, please. And then the ride begins.
Because I had left the camera with Sarah as she took the Circle Line tour around Manhattan. So, it didn’t even occur to me to take pictures of what I had been eating. And this is truly a shame.
The first thing that came out was a kind of tuna carpaccio. I have no idea if it’s on the regular menu (again, I’ve never seen one there), but if it isn’t, it should be. The raw tuna was sliced thin and dressed with a light, terriyaki-esque sauce. On top, there were chili pepper slices (possibly fresno chilis). These flavors played well together, and the little hint of heat with each bite was an exciting way to start a meal.
Then, there was something that I have had before at Hanabi Sushi, which was some sort of tuna cocktail. In a martini glass is shredded cabbage heavily dressed in a wasabi mayonnaise. A filet of tuna is then seared on all sides, sliced paper thin, and then aligned around the walls of the martini glass. Then, it is all toppped with salmon roe and another kind of roe that I don’t know what it was but it was black and tasty. This is one of my favorite things to eat. Apparently, it is also one of my dad’s favorite things to eat, as he and I began to devour this dish, despite my mother’s reminders that my father should no longer be eating mayonnaise.
As a third course, the chef brought out a sweet fried shrimp with a citrus glaze alongside an extremely vinegar-y side of salad greens. The shrimp was wonderfully plump, and the way it was fried gave it a crispy outer coating that is so satisfyingly crunchy that I just can’t figure out how he does it. The citrus glaze was very sweet, almost too sweet. It wasn’t a standard citrus glaze either. I think it may have been a mix of lemon and possibly clementine. The oranginess was light and delicate with a gooey honey texture. On the other side of the plate were the vinegar doused greens, which stood as a welcome and stark contrast to the sweet.
For the fourth course, we got shrimp again. This time, instead of it being fried, it was steamed in dumpling form, much akin to dim sum. On the side, there was an extremely potent mustard dipping sauce. It was amazingly mustard-y. Like mustard flavored mustard sauce. When you had it by itself, it was like eating mace. But with the shrimp, it was a wonderful balance.
For the main course, we got a huge friggin plate of sushi. There was tons of stuff. And it was just me, my mom, and my dad. There were three pieces each of salmon sushi, tuna, shrimp, flounder, and what I think is yellowtail. Then, there was the sashimi. Four pieces of salmon, four pieces of tuna, four pieces of flounder. Then, there was four pieces of the even better grade tuna and then four pieces of the super grade tuna. It was amazing. I love pork because different parts of the animal give us such wonderfully different and satisfying pieces of meat. Tuna is the same way. Different parts of the animal give us so many different and tasty bits. Tuna: it’s the pork of the sea.
The best part of all, besides the super grade tuna that I don’t know the name of, was the sea urchin. I have only seen sea urchin on TV. The sea urchin at Hanabi Sushi in Stony Point, New York was a delightful surprise. It looks, smells, and feels absolutely disgusting. But when you eat it, it is delicious. I wouldn’t recommend it for people who have a hard time with the texture of raw fish, as eating sea urchin is like eating boogers. All that notwithstanding, sea urchin is delicious. And I will never forget eating it.
Also, there was grilled eel. And some snapper sashimi too. I think we got two rounds of miso soup, too. There was just so much, and it was all just so good. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, which is a shame, as everything was made with such precision and attention.
Finally, we got yet another dish. And while the sea urchin and the super grade tuna was the more delightful to eat from a culinary perspective, the last dish was the biggest spectacle. It came out wrapped in foil and reminded me of leftovers in aluminum foil shaped like a duck. But, this foil-wrapped package was then set on fire. Once the booze burned off, the foil packet was opened up and served. Inside was a spicy salmon roll topped with flame kissed roe and what I think was fennel shavings. I think it was the best roll I’ve ever eaten.