Is Monday the Worst Day of the Week
to Eat Out at a Sushi Restaurant?
Monday is the worst day is the myth
In the US, many seafood distributors are closed on Sundays. This may be the reason some of the sushi restaurants decided to close on Sundays also.
Given this, the question, “Is Monday the worst day of the week to eat out at a Sushi restaurant?” sounds like a reasonable thing to ask.
However, the question arises from the myth — many people believe the fresher the fish, the better it tastes.
What if you don’t always want to eat the freshest fish?
Ordering Older Fish was the Last Thing on my Mind Until I Became a Sushi Chef
“No, no, you never want to order fresh Sweet Shrimp.”
The Primetime for Salmon is five days after it’s caught. Same with tuna, sometimes 10 days up to 14 days of “aging” is required to achieve the maximum flavor.
The perfect amount of time for tuna to mature is five to seven days. Same with swordfish. The Norwegians and the Swedes figured out to send Salmon to the market in five days, or else, there is no flavor to the fish.
Would that change the way you think about going to a sushi bar on Monday, or do you still want to eat the freshest fish?
Science of Umami and fish aging
If you are wondering why you don’t want to eat the freshest fish, you may have heard dry-aged beef at a high-end steak house. Then, why don’t you want to eat the freshest beef instead of eating older meat?
The answer has to do with a type of amino acid, glutamic acid, aka Umami, the savory flavor.
Just like beef, fish needs time to develop Umami. The time required is different based on the type of fish. For this reason, you don’t necessarily want to eat the freshest fish available.
To determine when is the best time to serve the fish is one of the most critical skills for a sushi chef.
The one thing sushi chef has to be careful about is the texture of the fish. Since the fish’s flesh is softer than that of beet, aging softens the fish much faster than beef. When the fish’s flesh becomes too soft, humans find it unpleasant even though it has more Umami.
Does that mean any day is a good day to eat sushi?
Aging applies to some fish, not all the fish. For example, most shellfish like oysters and Uni/ Sea Urchin and Crab are best when fresh. Silver bluefish (called “shinny ones” in Japanese) like Sardine and Pacific Saury/Sanma is another one. Albacore tastes the best when it fresh — my guess is within a couple of days after it’s caught.
Another factor is wild vs. farm-raised. Because of the difference in their diet, exercise, how they are processed before the shipping, it’s hard to know how long to let the farm fish age to achieve the maximum umami level. The vacuum-packed farm-raised Hamachi is a good example.
So, what should I do? Monday is OK or still not OK?
Theoretically, as long as the sushi chef keeps an eye on the fish, you should get the best fish whenever you visit the sushi bar.
But then, if the sushi bar closes on Sunday, it creates a bit of a challenge. During the day off, the fish may pass the perfect maturity time and becomes not the best on Monday.
The best and the only way for you to find out is to ask the sushi chef. Each restaurant carries different fish, different menu, and various fish suppliers, different business hours.
If asking the sushi chef such a question sounds too intimidating or rude, I recommend getting to know your sushi chef.
Go find a sushi bar you like. Go there as frequently as possible to get to know the sushi chef. Once you become comfortable, you can ask the chef any questions you have about sushi.
Someone once said that sitting at a sushi bar is like having an invisible membership with an unwritten rule. The only way to earn membership is to sit at the sushi bar.
Want that membership? Here is an article that may help you do that.
How To be Friends with A Sushi Chef
A piece of practical advice from a professional sushi chef.
Kaz Matsune is an author of four books, investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Breakthrough Sushi, Two Places Technologies.
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