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10 Years, 50th Birthday, 100 guests



Here's the lineup for our exquisite fish order:

 

25 lbs. Yellowfin Tuna

3 lbs. Sea Bream Fillet

4 lbs. Albacore Loin

5 lbs. Steelhead

5 lbs. Kanpachi Fillet

3 lbs. Dungeness Crab Meat

7 lbs. Black Cod

4 lbs. King Ora Salmon

2 lbs. White Shrimp

3 lbs. Scallops, complemented by Salmon Roe and White Sturgeon Caviar.


In our bustling prep kitchen, I'm overseeing the cooking of three large batches of rice, adding up to 100 cups, all poised for mixing with our signature homemade sushi vinegar. It's early, 9 am, with the event slated for 6 pm in Palo Alto. There's a full day ahead: prepping the fish, chopping vegetables, loading the van, and making the drive down.

 

The Steelhead and Salmon undergo a unique shime process. They are initially soaked in sugar for enhanced sweetness, followed by a salt bath. This dual-step method, not typically combined with sugar, enriches the salmon with a delightful flavor. Post-cure, the fillets are sealed in a plastic bag with hickory smoke introduced via a portable smoke gun and refrigerated overnight. Opening the bag the next day releases an enticing hickory aroma, proving this extra step transforms the salmon into something extraordinary.

 

For the Spicy Tuna, I meticulously scrape the smaller tuna pieces left from filleting. While using a knife might seem quicker, it results in a mushy texture, detracting from the tuna's quality. This labor-intensive but crucial step ensures the spicy tuna retains a desirable chunky texture. Mixed with Sriracha, mayo, and sesame oil, the flavors meld beautifully over a few hours.

 

Our Baked Black Cod, despite my modesty, receives rave reviews for being "the best" and even surpassing renowned sushi establishments. The secret lies in its marinade - a mix of miso, orange juice, Shio Koji, agave, and mirin. Marinated overnight and baked at a gentle 275 °F, this dish exemplifies simplicity and excellence.

 

The Dungeness crab, meanwhile, requires nothing but a simple squeeze of lemon to shine - one lemon per 2 lbs. is my rule. Its rich, savory taste easily makes it a crowd favorite, showcasing the natural flavors of the sea.

 

For Sea Bream, the Konbu cure is unrivaled. Start by soaking dry Konbu to rehydrate, then wrap it around a skinned Sea Bream fillet. Leave it overnight, and you’ll find the Konbu’s umami has infused into the Sea Bream. To serve, slice it thinly, add a splash of fresh lemon juice, a sprinkle of Himalayan Salt, a pinch of pink peppercorn, and a drizzle of White Truffle oil. Delicious!

 

While not a common practice, wrapping Tuna in Konbu also imparts a rich umami flavor. In fact, I recommend trying Konbu wraps with almost any fish to discover the unique flavors it can bring out. You might be surprised by the results.

 

And then there’s the shrimp. This particular type is among the most sustainable I’ve encountered, and it’s pathogen-free, which means we can enjoy it raw, much like the sweet Spot Prawn (Amaebi). What sets this white shrimp apart is its pristine taste, thanks to being raised in controlled tanks with pure filtered water. Preparing sushi shrimp might seem straightforward—pierce its back, boil briefly, then cool in ice water before peeling and deveining—but it involves a significant amount of effort to present that perfect shrimp Nigiri.

 

Scallops from Hokkaido are renowned, and for good reason. However, the Scallops I source from Monterey Fish Market are my absolute favorite for their unparalleled sweetness and creaminess. They require minimal adornment, perhaps just a squeeze of lemon and a dash of sea or Himalayan salt. This simple preparation unveils the scallop's natural, savory essence, making soy sauce unnecessary and even overpowering.

 

This preparation is just the beginning. Next, we pack everything carefully in coolers filled with ice for the drive to Palo Alto.

 

Initially, the guest count was 25, but it has unexpectedly risen to 100.

 

"I’ve also hired a pizza guy, just in case," my client informs me via email.

 

Running a business is full of surprises. Never did I imagine this 50th birthday party turning into such a large, sushi and pizza celebration. Yet, it’s these new and exciting experiences that make every event memorable.


 


Breakthrough Sushi offers sushi classes and sushi catering in the San Francisco Bay Area using sustainable seafood.


If you like to inquire about your next corporate or private event, please send us an email to request a quote.


If you like to sign up for our scheduled public classes in San Francisco and San Jose (Santa Clara), please see the schedule here.



 

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